Dumanjug mayor to ask Sandigan to reconsider 90-day suspension order

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo April 07,2019 - 05:15 PM

Dumanjug Mayor Efren Gica  |CDN FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines —The camp of Dumanjug town Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica will ask the anti-graft court to reconsider its earlier resolution placing the chief executive under a 90-day suspension over the graft, falsification, and malversation charges against him.

Lawyer Edgar Gica, the father and legal counsel of Mayor Gica, said the imposition of the suspension order is “premature” considering that there has yet to be a pre-suspension hearing.

The older Gica said that they filed a motion for pre-suspension hearing last Friday, April 5, to “determine the validity of the information” filed against his son.

Gica said that they had yet to receive a copy of the suspension order issued by the Fourth Division of Sandiganbayan on April 3.

“Since it is now known to us [that the court issued a suspension order], we will file tomorrow, Monday, an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and to recall such premature preventive suspension,” Lawyer Gica said in a message reply to CDN Digital.

The four-page resolution of the Sandiganbayan also said that they had given Mayor Gica 10 days to contest why he should not be suspended, but the latter has not submitted his reply.

“On 23 January 2019, accused […] was arraigned and pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges against him […] The Court then issued an Order directing him to show cause within ten days therefrom why he should not be suspended pendente lite under R.A. 3019,” the resolution penned by Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz reads as quoted by an Inquire.net report.

Read more: Sandiganbayan places Cebu town mayor on 90-day suspension

But lawyer Gica said the failure to submit a show cause manifestation by their camp should not be taken as if they waived the pre-suspension hearing.

“A show cause [memorandum] means a pre-suspension hearing must be set by the court for the accused to challenge the validity of the information, instead for the court to declare such issue as waived by the failure to submit a show cause manifestation or what not,” Gica said.

He added that Sandiganbayan, by “hastily” issuing a resolution for the mayor’s preventive suspension, has denied the latter “equal parts of justice and fairness.”

Gica also said they continue to question the Sandiganbayan’s exercise of jurisdiction over the local chief executive.

“On the dates material to the information, Mayor Gica was holding the position of vice mayor who was at salary grade 25 and was only designated to perform the duties and function of an acting mayor. The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is on public officers with salary grade 27 and up. Under the circumstance, the Sandiganbayan is not the court of proper venue,” said Gica.

Mayor Gica is facing serious dishonesty and grave misconduct plaints before the Sandiganbayan allegedly bloating a restaurant receipt during a seminar attended by barangay officials in 2014 when he was then the town’s vice mayor. The discrepancy amounted toP10,000.

Read more: DILG to Mayor Gica: Uphold dismissal order

He was found guilty by the Ombudsman in February 2017 and was ordered dismissed and perpetually disqualified from holding public office. But the decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals in July 2018.

Gica returned as town mayor on August 1, 2018 armed with the reversal order from the CA despite not having a reinstatement order from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In December 2018, the DILG Central Office issued a resolution telling Gica to uphold his dismissal until the court orders otherwise.

Mayor Gica is seeking reelection in the May 2019 midterm elections under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)./db


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TAGS: Dumanjug, edgar, Efren, Gica, mayor, Sandiganbayan, suspension

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