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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 9, 2018
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Sipalay mayor gets
90-day suspension

Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Montilla yesterday said he is serving out the Sandiganbayan 90-day suspension order issued against him.

His sister, Vice Mayor Maria Gina MontillaLizares, will serve as acting mayor in his absence. Councilor Ralph Alvarez will be acting vice mayor.

The Office of the Ombudsman posted on its website yesterday a three-page Sandiganbayan resolution directing Montilla “to cease and desist from performing and/or exercising the functions and duties as well as receiving and/or enjoying the salaries, benefits, and privileges of his present public position or any other present public position he may now or hereafter be holding effective upon notice and continuing for 90 days.”

The court granted the prosecution's motion to suspend the accused citing the mandatory character of Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), which provides that any incumbent officer facing criminal prosecution in court will be suspended from office.

The Ombudsman indicted Montilla in January 2017 for violation of Section 3(e) R.A. No. 3019 for repeatedly delaying the implementation of the Ombudsman's suspension order against city employees Evangeline Seneres, Eva Sabusap, Fernando Balhin, Noel Villanueva and Renato Manilla.

The charge sheet stated that Montilla “gave unwarranted benefit and advantage to Seneres, et al. by delaying for years, without legal basis, the implementation of the said suspension despite repeated directives from the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, to the detriment of public service.”

The Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government was directed to enforce and implement the suspension pendente lite order.

Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 prohibits any official or employee from causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, the Office of the Ombudsman said in its post.

Montilla saidhe delayed the suspension of the five Sipalay City employees on the advice of his lawyer as they had pending motions for reconsideration filed at the Office of the Ombudsman.

However, when the Office of the Ombudsman took a long time in coming out with resolutions on the employees' MRs, he enforced the suspension, Montilla added.

He is opting to serve out the 90-day suspension meted on him as it will not be that long, anyway, he said.*CPG




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