MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 7th Division has ordered the 90-day suspension of Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon over graft, malversation, and direct bribery charges filed against him in connection with an alleged pork barrel scam.
Biazon faces trial for allegedly pocketing P1.9 million in public funds after diverting P3-million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to an allegedly fake organization, the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc., when he was district representative in 2007.
The lawmaker has previously denied the allegations. "I have faith in the judicial system. I have faith in my defense and I am faithful as well that we will be able to clear our name," he said.
Also ordered suspended are budget officials Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, and Marilou Bare.
Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act requires the preventive suspension of an incumbent public officer, including lawmakers, with pending criminal cases involving fraud upon public funds or property, according to the Sandiganbayan.
"Suspension is necessary to prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance while in office, or tampering with documentary evidence or intimidating or influencing witnesses in the case," it said in a resolution.
The Sandiganbayan also ordered House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the suspension order on Biazon and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to do the same with Relampagos, Nunez, Paule and Bare. They are required to inform the court on the actual date of the implementation of suspension.
Biazon and accused budget officials have 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration against the suspension order.