The Sandiganbayan on Friday ordered a 90-day preventive suspension on North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, who is facing graft and malversation charges for allegedly supplying overpriced fertilizers to Poro town in Cebu in 2004.
In a resolution dated July 4, the anti-graft court emphasized the preventive suspension of a public official is mandatory under the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" in order to prevent the individual from using his government position to his advantage.
The court also noted it was not convinced that Catamco’s petition for review before the Supreme Court should get in the way of the preventive suspension.
“Such preventive suspension is mandatory, and there are no 'ifs' and 'buts' about it,” the court said in the resolution penned by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, with Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.
The court also stressed the law refers to the suspension of “any incumbent public officer” who is facing charges, which includes Catamco.
“When the law used the words ‘any incumbent public officer,’ the law pertains to the incumbent or current position of the accused public officer and not the position or capacity to which he was charged in the information,” the court said.
A copy of the preventive suspension order was ordered sent to the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation.