MANILA - Pili, Camarines Sur Mayor Tomas Bongalonta, Jr. has been meted a 90-day preventive suspension by the Sandiganbayan 7th Division.
In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman said Bongalonta was ordered suspended by the anti-graft court to prevent him from committing “malfeasance” or any act which may “frustrate the prosecution of the case.”
“Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then the Court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs and buts about it,” the court said in its resolution.
Bongalonta is facing trial for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) after dismissing municipal employee Eileen Ceron, who should have only been suspended from office.
According to the charge sheet of the Ombudsman, the accused Bongalonta knew that the penalty of dismissal from the service had no legal basis, thereby depriving Ceron not only her office but also the salaries and monetary benefits amounting to P955,285.06.
The Ombudsman said Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019, which provides that any incumbent public officer against whom any valid information under the Act or the Revised Penal Code, or for any offense involving fraud upon the government, or public funds or property, whether as simple or complex offense, and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.