Sandiganbayan suspends Tuguegarao City councilor 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines —The Sandiganbayan ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Tuguegarao City Councilor Danilo Baccay who is standing trial for of the anti-graft law after he failed to liquidate  the cash advance of P400,000.00 granted to him on 16 April 2009 when he was still the city vice-mayor.

In a three-page Resolution, the anti-graft court ordered the suspension of Baccay as City Councilor and from any public office which he may be holding, citing the mandatory character of the suspension. “Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then the Court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs and buts,” the Court stated.

The Sandiganbayan emphasized that “his change of office will not bar his preventive suspension,” underscoring jurisprudence that the word “office” applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and not only the particular office under which he stands accused.

Under Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.-Harold V. Pontongan/