Tuguegarao City councilor suspended for 90 days over cash advance

MANILA -- The Sandiganbayan has ordered the 90-day suspension of Tuguegarao City Councilor Danilo Baccay while on trial.

Baccay has been charged for violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), for failure to render account after he failed to liquidate the cash advance of PHP400,000 granted to him on April 16, 2009, when he was still the city vice mayor.

In a three-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan ordered the suspension of Baccay as a city councilor and from any public office which he may be holding, citing the mandatory character of the suspension.

Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then the Court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs and buts, the anti-graft court said.

It stressed that his change of office will not bar his preventive suspension, underscoring jurisprudence that the word office applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and not only the particular office under which he stands accused.

Under Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, "any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II of the RPC or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property, whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.

Source: Philippine News Agency