The anti-graft court issued on August 13, 2019 the resolution for the criminal case number SB-15-CRM-0284 to 0285 related to fertilizer fund scam and a separate resolution dated August 16, 2019 for criminal case number SB-16-CRM-0413 on the reportedly irregular disbursement of P20 million to the Bogo Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMEMPC).
Tining gets 2 suspension orders from Sandigan P
Le Phyllis F. Antojado, Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has issued two 90-day suspension orders against former Bogo City mayor Celestino “Tining” Martinez III in his capacity as member of the Provincial Board pending criminal prosecution of the graft charges in court.

The anti-graft court issued on August 13, 2019 the resolution for the criminal case number SB-15-CRM-0284 to 0285 related to fertilizer fund scam and a separate resolution dated August 16, 2019 for criminal case number SB-16-CRM-0413 on the reportedly irregular disbursement of P20 million to the Bogo Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMEMPC).

Both resolutions were signed by Sandiganbayan Sixth Division Chairman, Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez, and Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.

Sought for comment, Martinez said he has not received the orders. But he also said he will heed them once served.

He said the orders are mere preventive suspensions, which are mandatory while investigations are underway.

In the first resolution, the court was not convinced by the contention of Martinez that the validity of the information of the case has not been finally settled in view of the pendency of his petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court, questioning the resolution denying his motion to dismiss on the ground of a violation of his constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases.

In the second resolution, the court also was not convinced of Martinez’s contention that the validity of the information of the case has not been finally settled because the resolution denying his motion to quash information and or motion to dismiss is still pending review with the Supreme Court.

The court said that upon determination of the validity of the information, it become a ministerial duty on its part to issue a suspension order against the accused public officer charged with cases enumerated in Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Since the requisites imposed by Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 are present in this case, the Court is duty-bound to order the suspension of accused Martinez,” read the two resolutions.

The court furnished copy of the resolutions to the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation of the order of suspension and to take action within 15 days from receipt hereof.

Martinez was earlier dismissed from government service and perpetually disqualified from holding public office by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the 2004 Fertilizer Fund Scam when he was still mayor of Bogo City.

Bogo, which was still a municipality at that time, received six checks amounting to P6 million from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit VII in May 2004 for the procurement of fertilizers for rice and corn.

The Ombudsman said that Bogo and a Quezon City-based non-government organization, Sikap Yaman, entered into an undated Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with no project cost and time schedule.

Also, Martinez and other town officials reportedly conspired with one another and awarded BMEMPC, a private corporation, P20 million worth of public funds back in 2007.

The P20 million came from the DA as part of the Ginintuang Agrikulturang Makamasa (GAM) Program. Instead of supporting the GAM, the money became available instead to BMEMPC members through salary loans, which the accused allegedly took advantage of. (FREEMAN)

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