MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has suspended a former Cebu lawmaker and now Mandaue City councilor for 90 days in connection with her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam cases.
In a resolution dated December 4, 2019 and released just recently, the court's 5th Division ordered Mandaue City Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz's suspended as she faced proceedings for 17 counts of graft, 7 counts malversation of public funds and 10 counts of malversation of public funds through falsification.
She was charged for the supposed misuse of her PDAF from 2007 to 2009, when she was still a lawmaker.
The anti-graft court sent a copy of the suspension order to the Department of the Interior and Local Government for implementation.
"Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then it becomes the court’s ministerial duty to issue the order of suspension. There are no ifs and buts about it,” the court said in the resolution penned by Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
In its ruling, the court stressed the mandatory nature of the suspension under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act despite the argument of Soon-Ruiz that as a city councilor, she could no longer intimidate witnesses, among others.
The court also noted that upon expiration of the 90-day suspension, the order is deemed automatically lifted.