MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Sandiganbayan has ordered South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. suspended for 60 days in connection with the lawmaker’s graft trial.
The Office of the Ombudsman said the Sandiganbayan granted its motion to suspend Acharon, who is facing graft charges over the allegedly anomalous P2.5 million US junket in 2006.
The Ombudsman asked the anti-graft court in October last year to suspend Acharon pending his trial.
The Ombudsman said that in dismissing Acharon’s opposition to its petition, the Sandiganbayan said, “[there] is no merit [too] in the argument of the accused that as Congressman of the First District of South Cotabato, he no longer approves or implements disbursement of public funds, as he used to do as former City Mayor of General Santos City in which capacity he was charged in this case, or that his constituents would be deprived of representation if he were to be suspended.”
“For as long as the accused occupies a public office, he can be suspended pendente lite” as “suspension follows the accused in whatever other government position which he/she may be holding at the time of suspension,” the resolution added.
Acharon and four other officials from General Santos City were charged with graft for spending P2.5 million public funds to attend the Tambayoyong Festival in California in June 2006.
The Ombudsman said that the anti-graft court has ordered House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to implement the suspension order.
Acharon is on his second term as South Cotabato representative. He is seeking a reelection in the coming May elections. (MNS)