A Negros Occidental city mayor has been ordered suspended for 90 days while the graft charges filed against him is being tried at the Sandiganbayan.
In an information provided by the Office of the Ombudsman, the 90-day suspension pendente lite (during litigation) was imposed against Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Montilla Jr.
The Sandiganbayan issued the order after granting the motion of the Ombudsman’s prosecutors who sought for the suspension of the accused pending the charges of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 filed against him.
The prosecution cited in its motion the mandatory character of Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) which provides that any incumbent officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this law is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.
In a three-page resolution, the anti-graft court directed 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 Ombudsman indicted Montilla in January 2017 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 the suspension pendente lite order.