Prosecution Seeks Suspension of Marinduque Gov Charged in Fertilizer Fund Scam

Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes (Center)

Government prosecutors have moved for the suspension of Marinduque governor Carmencita Reyes in connection with her graft and technical malversation cases pending before the Second Division of the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan.

In a motion submitted to the Second Division on June 10, the prosecution team pointed out that it has been more than a year since Reyes was arraigned for the charges, and yet the court has yet to impose against her the mandatory preventive suspension as provided under Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Considering the nature of the indictment and validity of the information against the accused Reyes and the mandatory nature of Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 being invoked, the Honorable Court, with all due respect has no other recourse but to issue the preventive suspension being prayed for,” the prosecution team said in its motion.

Section 13 of RA 3019, states that “Any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property, whether simple or as complex offense in whatever state of execution and mode of participation is pending in court, shall be suspended from office,”

The graft and technical malversation charges against Reyes stemmed from her alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, wherein funds supposedly for agricultural assistance for poor farmers were allegedly diverted as campaign kitty of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for 2004 elections.

Under the cases filed against her by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2011, Reyes approved the purchase of P5 million-worth of equipment and fertilizers under the Arroyo administration’s “Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Program” from a private supplier without holding a public bidding.

The prosecution further pointed out that in previous Supreme Court rulings the high tribunal was clear “clear and explicit” in stating that “it is a ministerial duty of the court to issue an order of suspension upon determination of the validity of the information filed before it”.

The Second Division has set the hearing of the prosecution’s motion on June 25 at 1:30 p.m.

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