Suspension against Oriental Mindoro governor sought

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 31 2010 06:01 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2010 02:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Government prosecutors want a 5-year old suspension order finally enforced against Oriental Mindoro provincial governor Alfonso V. Umali, Jr.

In an 8-page motion filed before the Sandiganbayan, the prosecutors led by acting deputy special prosecutor Cornelio L. Somido said the 90-day suspension order issued way back January 17, 2005 was never implemented because of the defiance of the House of Representatives.

“Despite the finality of the resolutions of the Honorable Court on the motions filed by the accused, the House of Representatives unjustifiably refused to implement the order of suspension,” they said.

One of the co-defendants in the case, Oriental Mindoro (1st District) Rep. Rodolfo G. Valencia even voluntarily served the suspension, they added.

The suspensions are anchored on the graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman concerning a P2.5 million loan issued to private defendant Alfredo Atienza for the “repair, operations, and maintenance” of his passenger vessel MV Ace in 1994.

At the time of the loan, Valencia was provincial governor and Umali was provincial administrator.

The accused, including provincial board members Jose Leynes and Jose Enriquez and former vice governor Pedrito Reyes, were convicted for graft on September 9, 2008 after their demurrers to evidence were denied. This is a “motion to dismiss” filed by the defendant after the plaintiff had already rested the case.

The defendants asked for a re-opening of the trial on the ground that they were not aware of the consequences when they agreed to their former lawyers’ actions.
 
Under the rules, such filing without permission from the court is an implied waiver of the defendants’ right to present their own evidence in trial.
 
In a resolution dated December 15, 2009, the graft court ordered a reopening of the case, saying “they may not have indeed understood the meaning and consequence of the waiver of their right to present evidence”.
 
“In view of the reopening of this case, undersigned prosecutors would like to move for the implementation of the Order of this Honorable Court dated January 17, 2005 and suspend accused Umali from performing his duties and responsibilities as incumbent Governor of Oriental Mindoro and from any other government position he may now hold,” the prosecution said.