Motion vs. mayor’s suspension junked

THE Sandiganbayan Fourth Division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella in relation to its September 28, 2015 resolution ordering his preventive suspension for 90 days.

The denial was contained in the November 4, 2015 promulgation signed by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Jose R. Hernandez and concurred by Associate Justices Alex L. Quiroz and Oscar Hererra Jr.

Hernandez ordered that the resolution promulgated on September 28, 2015 stays.

Preventive suspension is mandatory under Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, it added.

Puentevella is facing a graft case for the alleged overpriced purchase of P26 million worth of computer packages using his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was still congressman.

According to the Fourth Division, Puentevella’s “argument that the order of suspension is premature since he has a pending petition for certiorari filed on January 27, 2014 before the Supreme Court has no leg to stand on.”

It is worthy to note that the High Court has already dismissed said petition in a resolution dated July 1, 2015, it said.

The Fourth Division stated that “the motion contains merely a rehash of his arguments already found to be devoid of merit,” adding that “Puentevella failed to raise new and substantial arguments. No cogent reason exists to warrant a reconsideration of the court's resolution dated September 28, 2015.”

It added: “The court agrees with the plaintiff that the act of deliberately availing of several remedies all at the same time is without any reasonable and justifiable objective but to trifle with the court and the legal processes. This practice is frowned upon by this court.”

For his part, Puentevella said Friday that if he is left with no other recourse, he will accept the preventive suspension even if it unjust and arbitrary.

“But I will try every way legally to fight this harassment and mudslinging and I want to tell my supporters one of the best ways to vindicate me as (their) mayor. I am asking you to support me in the forthcoming election,” he said.

The mayor added that if everything is final and executory, “I will just accept the decision even if it is unjust, unfair and arbitrary. I will abide because I am a servant leader and the people expect me to do it because I am a servant leader.”

“I will make sure that I will come out innocent in the future and I will fight back in the election. This is a very flimsy charge against me,” he sald.

Moreover, Puentevella said that his legal team filed a motion to let Hernandez inhibit from the case.

He pointed out that when the September 28 suspension order came, on the same day, Bacolod Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez and the Department of Interior and Local Government in Manila were able to obtain copies.

Lopez even showed it on a national television, he said, but they did not receive a copy until after two weeks.

“Our motion to inhibit was not heard but they already denied our motion for reconsideration. This is very strange and I am putting my case before the public," the mayor said.

“The case started in 2007 and we are now in 2015. It is very strange that this case is still alive,” he noted.

Puentevella also said that his lawyers received a copy of the opposition to their motion for reconsideration on November 4, and on the same day, the denial of was also ordered by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division.

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