Jimalalud Mayor Reynaldo Vidal Tuanda began his 90-day preventive suspension without pay on Monday for alleged violation of the anti-graft law meted by Sandiganbayan 5th Division Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega,and concurred in by Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz and LorifelPahimna.
The resolution ordering Tuanda to cease and desist from performing all his functions as mayor of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental, and to vacate his post immediately,was promulgated on Oct. 3, 2017 yet.
However, it was not served then because ofthe impending preventive suspension order for Gov. RoelDegamothat arrived Oct. 16, 2017.
Assistant provincial administrator FroilanPinili,said it is normally the Department of the Interior and Local Government that is tasked to serve suspension or dismissal orders.
In this case, it was the Office of the Governor that was directed to implement the order of suspension, prompting him to personally go to the Sandiganbayan to ask for a copy of the order.
The suspension order was received by the staff of Tuanda Monday without resistance, after which,Vice Mayor Hazel Tuanda immediately took over. The first councilor, Delia Estrellanes, took her oath as acting vice mayor before Degamo at the Capitol, in compliance with Section 46 of the Local Government Code,on cases of temporary vacancies.
When asked for the reason for the preventive suspension, Pinili said he is not competent enough to divulge it.
However, part of the resolution showed that the accused had asserted in one of their pleadings that the information in this case is fatally defective as the prosecution utilized the word “operate”, that gives an impression that Tuanda is a cockpit promoter involved in the operation of a cockpit, when that is not the fact.
It was further maintained that the permit issued to the accused merely signifies that he is a recognized cockpit promoter but not necessarily a cockpit operator.
The Sandigan5th Division said, considering that the accused was charged and arraigned under a valid information, his suspensionmust proceed pursuant to Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.*JG
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