Sandigan affirms ex-PNP general’s suspension over rubber boat scam
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its earlier decision suspending for 90 days former police general and now Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano for his involvement in the allegedly anomalous procurement of rubber boats by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2008.

In a ruling issued last week and obtained yesterday by The STAR, the Sandiganbayan denied Soriano’s appeals seeking that he be spared from suspension.

Soriano said he had been suspended before and was even dismissed from his post by the Office of the Ombudsman for seven months last year.

The anti-graft court said Soriano could not link his previous suspension or dismissal, which stemmed from an administrative case, to the criminal charge he is currently facing.

The Sandiganbayan said the present charges warrant mandatory suspension pending litigation as provided under Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Soriano asked the magistrates, led by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, to consider the ombudsman’s earlier order dismissing him from government service.

The ombudsman found Soriano guilty of of grave misconduct, an administrative offense.

The former police general questioned the order before the Court of Appeals (CA), which ruled that he only committed simple misconduct.

The CA ordered that Soriano be suspended only for three months and reinstated him.

Noting the start of his dismissal from the government service up to the time the CA issued the ruling, Soriano said his actual suspension went up by more than 130 days.

Soriano, who was chairman of the PNP bids and awards committee during the procurement of the rubber boats, claimed another suspension would be an injustice and a violation of his constitutional rights.

The ombudsman rejected Soriano’s arguments, noting the administrative case filed against him was due to an alleged offense he committed when he was mayor of Tuguegarao City.

State prosecutors said the charges were different from the rubber boat case.

The Sandiganbayan found Soriano’s motion baseless.

ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT COURT OF APPEALS OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PRESIDING JUSTICE AMPARO CABOTAJE-TANG REPUBLIC ACT SANDIGANBAYAN SORIANO SUSPENSION TUGUEGARAO CITY TUGUEGARAO CITY MAYOR JEFFERSON SORIANO
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