Bogo City vice mayor suspended over pork barrel case

By: February 02,2017 - 11:25 PM

THE Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Bogo City Vice Mayor Maria Cielo Martinez pending trial for the alleged misuse of her ex-lawmaker mother’s pork barrel funds.

In a six-page resolution, the court directed Martinez to cease and desist from performing her government functions “effective immediately” upon her receipt of the order.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno was ordered to inform the court within five days of the action taken.

Preventive suspension is mandatory for public officials facing a valid graft charge, according to the court.

Since the court ruled the charge valid when it denied their motion to quash the case in February 2014, the resolution stated that “it is the ministerial duty of the Court to issue a preventive suspension order and ‘there are no ifs and buts about it.’”

The court disregarded Martinez’s argument that she was not yet a public officer at the time she was accused of taking part in a conspiracy to misuse the P11.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations of her mother, former Cebu 4th District Rep. Clavel Martinez in 2003.

Martinez’s argument was “misplaced,” the court said, because the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act itself speaks of preventive suspension for “incumbent” public officers.

Martinez was accused of withdrawing the pork barrel funds earmarked as assistance for the local Girl Scouts of the Philippines chapter’s anti-drug campaign.

After withdrawing the proceeds, she allegedly deposited P10 million into a bank account in her mother’s name.

The elder Martinez was the president of GSP Cebu City from 1995 to 2003, while her daughter was treasurer.

CDN tried to contact Vice Mayor Martinez at her office but was told she was at a meeting and was not expected to come back.

Calls to her cellular phone remained unanswered./

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TAGS: Bogo, pork barrel case, suspended, vice mayor

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