MANILA—The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, Maguindanao, mayor Sajid Islam Ampatuan in connection with 145 cases over alleged anomalous infrastructure projects in 2009.
In a resolution promulgated on Oct. 1, the anti-graft court was not convinced with Ampatuan’s response to the show cause order as to why he should not be slapped with a suspension order as mandated by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The court noted that Ampatuan’s arguments were substantially the same as those in Berona vs. Sandigabayan, which was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Ampatuan said the alleged crimes, involving 4 counts of graft, 4 counts of malversation and 137 counts of falsification of public documents, were supposedly committed when he was a governor and not as a municipal mayor.
The Sandiganbayan, however, said that in the Supreme Court decision, the term “office” applies to any office and not necessarily the particular office in relation to which he is charged.
Ampatuan’s cases stemmed from the disbursement of P72.256 million provincial funds for the supposed purchase of materials for school repairs in the province, which the Office of the Ombudsman said were fictitious and non-existent.