Sandiganbayan affirms Roderick Paulate’s 90-day suspension
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the 90-day preventive suspension of Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate in connection with the graft and falsification cases that stemmed from his alleged hiring of ghost employees in 2010.

In a minute resolution promulgated on March 29 and released yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Seventh Division denied Paulate’s motion for reconsideration for “lack of merit.”

The court found no weight in Paulate’s argument that he had been suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman when the agency was still investigating the case and another suspension would be punitive, not preventive.

The preventive suspension imposed by the ombudsman is based on the office’s “disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the government,” the Seventh Division said.

The Sandiganbayan said the preventive suspension it issued is based on Section 13 of Republic Act 3019, the anti-graft law, which states that an accused public official “shall be suspended from office” if he charge with a crime under RA 3019, the Revised Penal Code or any offense involving public funds or property or fraud against the government.

Paulate is facing one count of violation of RA 3019 and nine counts of falsification of public documents under the Revised Penal Code.

The Seventh Division also dismissed Paulate’s claim that he was not given due process before the court ordered his suspension. The division noted that aside from resolving his previous motion to quash the cases, a hearing was also conducted to give Paulate a chance to challenge his impending suspension. 

Lastly, the Seventh Division described as “malicious and unsubstantiated” Paulate’s claim that the suspension order was tainted by partisan politics. Paulate is running for vice mayor of Quezon City.

Filed by the ombudsman in April 2018, the cases stemmed from Paulate’s alleged hiring in his office 30 “ghost” or fictitious job contractors from July to November 2010.

The ombudsman said Paulate and liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde falsified job orders, personal data sheets, payrolls that allowed them to collect P1.1 million from the city treasurer’s office.

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