Bohol governor suspended over PDAF graft case

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2019 03:18 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has ordered the preventive suspension of Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. 

In a resolution dated September 18, the anti-graft court ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the suspension pendente lite of Yap for a period of 90 days.

Yap, as a former agriculture secretary, is one of the co-accused of former Misamis Occidental 1st District representative Marina Clarete in the alleged funneling of P62 million in PDAF to dubious non-government organizations.

The Sandiganbayan noted the mandatory nature of the preventive suspension based on the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“To repeat, the court has neither discretion nor duty to determine whether or not a preventive suspension is required to prevent the accused from using his office to intimidate witnesses or frustrate his prosecution or continue committing malfeasance in office,” the court said in the resolution signed by Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.

Yap had argued that he could no longer manipulate evidence or unduly influence witnesses against him as he left the Department of Agriculture in 2010.

From then until taking office as Bohol governor, he served as the province's 3rd district representative. 

He also emphasized that there is still a question on the validity of the charges against him as a petition for certiorari is still pending before the Supreme Court.

The prosecution, however, countered that Yap already admitted the validity of the information filed against him when he pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.

The court noted that the suspension is automatically lifted upon the expiration of the 90-day period.