Negros Oriental governor placed under preventive suspension

Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2017 09:09 PM

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been placed under a 90-day preventive suspension over charges of malversation of public funds through falsification filed against him for the questionable disbursement of calamity funds in 2011. 

The charges were filed in 2012 after the Department of Budget and Management found anomalies in the procurement of materials and payments for the rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed by Typhoon Sendong, a deadly storm that struck in 2011, and a powerful earthquake.

In January, Degamo surrendered to the Sandiganbayan sheriff and later posted a P1.115-million bail for criminal cases he is facing, including graft and malversation. 

Degamo's camp has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan and asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order. 

In a press conference Tuesday, the governor said the suspension is politically motivated. He added that he is willing to follow the law.

Degamo said he is hopeful that the court would favor his pleadings.

Negros Oriental Vice Governor Mark Macias has been designated as acting Governor, while Negros Oriental 2nd District board member Mariant Esacano-Villegas will serve as vice-governor.

Macias said he will not replace any of Degamo's appointees while he is acting Governor.

Charges against Degamo stemmed from a P480.7-million Special Allotment and Release Order (SARO) that he requested in 2012 for the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure in Negros Oriental. 

At the time, the province had yet to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Sendong and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake.

Degamo allegedly continued to disburse funds to contractors despite the Department of Budget and Management's withdrawal of the SARO for non-compliance with guidelines for infrastructure projects.

He has denied the charges.