Bolastig vs.

Sandiganbayan 235 SCRA 103 August 4, 1994 Justice Mendoza

Facts: Antonio M. Bolastig is the governor of the province of Samar. Information was filed against him and two others –Pedro Ason the provincial treasurer and Prudencio Macabenta the property officer of the province- for alleged overpricing of 100 reams of onion skin paper in violation of Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The Sandiganbayan acting upon the motion of the Special Prosecutor suspended the Petitioner for 90 days with the strength of the provision of sec. 13 of the Anti graft and corrupt practices act which provides for the preventive suspension of public officers if they are under criminal prosecution under valid information under the same act or under title 7, Book II of the RPC, or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property as basis. However, herein petitioner contends that his suspension was a mindless and meaningless exercise and it was imposed without regard to the spirit and intent of the law in which it is based. He further contends that his suspension may deprive his constituents of the services of an elected official elected by them. Sandiganbayan rejected the motion of the accused hence this petition.

Issue: Whether the Sandiganbayan is correct in suspending herein petitioner as Governor with the strength of Sec. 13 of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Held: Yes, it is now settled that sec 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 makes it mandatory for the Sandiganbayan to suspend any public officer against whom a valid information charging violation of the law, Book II, Title 7 of the RPC, or any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property is filed. The fact that an elected official’s preventive suspension may deprive his constituents of the official elected by them is not a sufficient basis for reducing what is otherwise a mandatory suspension provided by law.

J. C. E. P.

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