Sandiganbayan orders hearing on suspension of village chief

MANILA The Sandiganbayan has ordered a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to hear the suspension of an incumbent barangay (village) chairman, pending the trial of his falsification of public document case.

In a decision dated Sept. 7, the Sandiganbayan 4th Division ordered Manila RTC Branch 1 Presiding Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag to conduct the necessary proceeding to determine the propriety of placing Ernesto Evasco Jr., chief of Barangay 500, Zone 49 in Sampaloc, Manila, under suspension pendente lite (during litigation).

The order dated March 16, 2010 and the order dated July 19, 2010, both issued by Hon. Tita Bughao Alisuag in Criminal Case No. 09-270-244 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Manila, are hereby nullified and set aside, the anti-graft court said.

Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a petition for certiorari, questioning the orders of the Manila RTC Branch 1 dated March 16, 2010 and July 19, 2010, which denied the prosecution's motion to suspend Evasco pendente lite and motion for reconsideration, respectively.

Evasco was arraigned and entered a not guilty plea on the case of falsification of public document on Oct. 21, 2009.

In their motion, the state prosecutors claimed that Alisuag acted with abuse of discretion in denying their motion.

Alisuag said she has no power to suspend Evasco in view of Section 63 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, arguing that Evasco's suspension is an executive act.

The Sandiganbayan, however, ruled that there are three provisions concerning the preventive suspension of a public officer Section 24 of RA 6770, or the Ombudsman Act; Section 63 of RA 7160; and Section 13 of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Wherefore, premises considered, herein petition for certiorari filed by petitioner People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, is hereby granted, the Sandiganbayan said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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