Aurora governor suspended over irregular construction contract

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2019 01:35 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has suspended Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras for 90 days over a graft case stemming from an irregular construction contract in 2014.

In a resolution promulgated on Nov. 28, the anti-graft court's 6th Division said Noveras and his provincial legal officer Paz Torregosa shall immediately cease and desist from performing their functions upon the implementation of their preventive suspension.

“The suspension shall automatically be lifted upon the expiration of the 90-day period from the implementation of this resolution,” the court said in the resolution penned by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Karl Miranda.

Noveras, Torregosa, and other provincial officials are facing graft for the supposed undue advantage through a rigged bidding that was given to RMCR Construction for the repair of the Dimalang Bridge Approach of Casiguran-Dilasag Road.

In his response to the court why he should not be suspended, Noveras said the information against him is not valid as it did not specify the supposed unwarranted benefit and undue injury.

He also stated he can no longer tamper any evidence nor influence any witness as the documentary evidence and affidavits of witnesses have already been made part of public records after they were submitted to the Court of Appeals.

Noveras also reiterated that the parallel administrative complaint against him was already dismissed by the CA.

The court however insisted in its resolution that the 90-day preventive suspension is mandatory under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“The presumption is that unless the accused is suspended, he may frustrate his prosecution or commit further acts of malfeasance or do both,” the court said.