LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- “This preventive suspension was bound to happen as a matter of legal procedure, even as the trial proper has not even started.”
This was the statement made by fifth district Rep. Amado Espino Jr. in relation to the 90-day suspension slapped on him by the Sixth Division of the Sandiganbayan.
Apparently, the antigraft court resolution came out last Thursday.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed before the Ombudsman several years ago by Rolando Rea when Espino was still governor of the province. This is on the alleged blacksand mining conducted inside the Eco-Tourism Zone at Bgy. Sabangane.
“Even as we insist on our innocence, the charges being pure fabrications and politically motivated, we have no choice bu to go through this long and tedious judicial process to clear our names,” he said in a press statement issued yesterday.
In December 2014, then provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and Provincial Housing and Urban Development Officer Alvin Bigay were dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman relative to the same issue.
Espino attributes the issue against them to politics.
“Unfortunately for us, we continue to suffer the adverse consequences of this dirty game called politics. The administrative case against Raffy Baraan and Alvin Bigay is now with the Court of Appeals, while the criminal cases against the three of us, which led to the mandatory suspension, are with the Sandigan,” Espino said.
“Notheless, we are confident that eventually truth and justice will prevail. It’s just a matter of time,” he added.
As explained by the Sandigan in its discussion, Espino stated, “it is ministerial duty of the court to issue a preventive suspension order. But this suspension is... not penal in character but merely a preventive measure before final judgment ...; and a person under preventive suspension remains entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence since culpability must still be established.”