THE Sandiganbayan yesterday ordered the suspension of Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr. in connection with the graft charges filed against him.
In a two-page resolution issued by the Sixth Division, Espino was slapped with a 90-day suspension as member of the House of Representatives.
Espino, who was recently identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as involved in illegal drug activities, is facing graft charges for allegedly engaging in illegal black sand mining in Lingayen Gulf.
“Wherefore, the prosecution’s Motion to suspend the accused Pendente Lite is hereby granted and accused Amado Espino Jr. is hereby directed to Cease and Desist from further performing and/or exercising the functions,duties and privileges of his position as Congressman of the Fifth District of Pangasinan or any other position he may now or hereafter be holding effective immediately upon receipt hereof and continuing for a period of 90 days,” the resolution read.
The anti-graft court sent Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez a copy of the resolution.
Last March, Espino, then a governor of Pangasinan, and 13 other individuals were charged with graft for their alleged involvement in illegal black sand mining.
Based on the information of the cases, Espino in conspiracy with provincial administrator Rafael Baraan, his co-accused, gave unwarranted benefits, privilege and advantage” to Alexandra Mining by granting it a Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) on June 29, 2011 despite lack of the necessary clearance certificates and accreditation.
The prosecutors said the issuance of SSMP had allowed Alexandra to illegally conduct “soil, magnetite and mineral extraction activities” in Barangay Sabangan in Lingayen Gulf, Pangasinan despite the fact that it was supposedly not duly accredited or registered with the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board or PCAB.