Sandiganbayan suspends Eastern Samar mayor over firetruck purchase

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2019 03:26 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Guiuan, Eastern Samar Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan in connection with her graft case involving the purchase of a firetruck in 2007.

In a resolution promulgated Nov. 25, the anti-graft court's 6th Division based the suspension on the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Once the Information is found to be sufficient in form and substance or its validity is determined, it becomes the ministerial duty of this Court to issue an order of suspension pendente lite against the accused and 'there are no ifs and buts about it,'” the court said.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Karl Miranda, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, and Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero.

Kwan was charged by the Ombudsman in 2017 for the purchase of P1.9 million firetruck without public bidding.

The court issued the suspension in spite of the argument raised by Kwan that she was a private citizen when the information against her was filed and that she did not commit and has no intention of committing any malfeasance in office.

The court noted that the suspension, to be implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, is automatically lifted after the 90-day period.