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Sandiganbayan suspends Congressman for US junket
« on: February 27, 2016, 12:02:21 PM »
Sandiganbayan suspends Congressman for US junket

The Sandiganbayan has ordered the 60-day suspension pendente lite of South Cotabato 1st district representative Pedro Acharon, Jr., in connection with his ongoing trial for graft before the Court’s 2nd division.

In a Resolution approved on 28 January 2016, the Sandiganbayan granted Ombudsman prosecutors’ motion for the preventive suspension of Acharon Jr. and said that “the authority of this Court to order the preventive suspension of an incumbent public official has both legal and jurisprudential support.”

Brushing aside Acharon’s opposition, the Court ruled that “[there] is no merit [too] in the argument of the accused that as Congressman of the First District of South Cotabato, he no longer approves or implements disbursement of public funds, as he used to do as former City Mayor of General Santos City in which capacity he was charged in this case, or that his constituents would be deprived of representation if he were to be suspended.”

“For as long as the accused occupies a public office, he can be suspended pendente lite” as “suspension follows the accused in whatever other government position which he/she may be holding at the time of suspension,” stated the Resolution.

It will be recalled that Acharon and four other local officials from General Santos City were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the anomalous utilization of P2.5 million worth of funds spent during the June 2006 Tambayayong Festival in California, USA.

Acharon was arraigned in March 2014.

The Sandiganbayan directed the Speaker of the House of Representative to implement the suspension order.

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