Jinggoy, Bong face 90-day suspension

Posted at 06/30/14 5:47 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has filed separate motions to suspend Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada from office in connection with their plunder cases.

A separate motion was also filed against Richard Cambe, a former staff of Revilla.

The Ombudsman noted that, “The court is bound to issue an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be no ifs and buts about it.”

Jurisprudence sets the period of suspension at 90 days.

Analysts interviewed said, however, that suspension is not automatic.

San Beda College Graduate School of Law Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino said a suspension is meted out if the validity of the information or charges filed against the accused is established. Pre-suspension hearings have to be set, he said.

Another source said, “The court has to study the motion. It’s not always cut and dried.”

Aquino added the accused has the right to question the validity of the information during the hearings.

The validity of the information or charges filed has been put to question the past few days.

After drawing flak, the special panel of prosecutors withdrew their motions to amend the charges against the senators. The amended information would have put more emphasis on the alleged plunder by the senators.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales defended the prosecution panel’s earlier move to amend the charges.

“The prosecutors were just being thorough,” Ombudsman Morales explained, noting the information may be amended as a matter of right before arraignment.

She dismissed statements that the amendments only prove that the original charges are weak.

“The statements of the defense are mere speculations that are favorable to their client.

“Given the meticulous effort that entailed the preparation of the more than 100-page Resolutions, the same effort went into the drafting of the two-page Informations,” she added.

She said the public should remain focused on the government’s move to stem corruption in the country.

She said they should be vigilant of moves to thwart the quest for justice.