The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which has been directed by the Sandiganbayan to implement the 90-day preventive suspension of Governor Arthur Yap has yet to relay the order to its office in Bohol.
According to DILG Bohol director Jhonjoan Mende, their central office has not issued any update on the governor’s impending suspension.
“Nag-inquire ko last week, wa pa koy nadawat na information pabalik,” said Mende on Monday.
Suspensions of local officials are usually implemented by the Bohol DILG particularly by Mende after the order is relayed down from the central office to the regional and provincial levels.
However, Mende said that it is possible that the DILG regional director will be the one to serve the suspension order considering that Yap is a governor.
“Kay usually kung governor, mura’g regional level man siguro pero di pa ko sure,” said Mende.
Yap’s 90-day preventive suspension was ordered by the Sandiganbayan in connection with charges filed against him over the pork barrel scam.
Yap, a former Agriculture secretary, was one of the accused in charges of graft, malversation through falsification, and malversation filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan in 2017 against former Misamis Occidental 1st District Representative Marina P. Clarete and other individuals over the alleged misappropriation of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation totaling P62.63 million between 2007 and 2009.
The suspension order was based on a Sandiganbayan resolution dated September 18, 2019, but released to the public over the weekend.
The governor had earlier anticipated the suspension order saying that he will immediately comply once the DILG will implement it so he can serve the suspension and get back to work.
“I have already asked my lawyers that if mo gawas na ang 90-day suspension, dawaton nato. Way problema na. When the DILG receives the order from the Sandiganbayan we are going to act for compliance so that in 90 days I can go back to my duties as governor,” he said.
A preventive suspension is not a penalty but a mandatory exercise to keep accused public officials from having influence over the investigation of their pending cases.
Section 13 of Republic Act 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, mandates the suspension of a public official from office pending criminal prosecution for any offense involving public funds or property or fraud on the government.
“I would rather prefer that the suspension order be implemented earlier so as not to jeopardize the recent launching of my administration’s major program after my first 100 days in office,” Yap said.