Tuguegarao mayor suspended over graft charge

Posted at 03/01/14 1:43 PM

MANILA -- The Sandiganbayan Third Division issued a 90-day preventive suspension order against Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano due to a graft case he is facing in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of rubber boats worth P131.5 million in 2009.

The preventive suspension order was issued pursuant to Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Associate Justice Alex Quiroz penned the order, with Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Samuel Martires concurring with it.

The graft court directed Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio to implement the suspension and submit a written report on actions taken.

Soriano, a former deputy director of the Philippine National Police (PNP), is one of the respondents in the graft case concerning the alleged anomalies in the P131.5 million rubber boats supply deal approved by the PNP in 2009.

His co-accused are erstwhile PNP officials: former Director General Jesus Verzosa; Dep. Dir. Gen. Benjamin Belarmino, Jr.; Directors Ronald Roderos, Luizo Ticman and Romeo Hilomen; and Chief Supts. Herold Ubalde and Villamor Bumanglag.

They are all out after posting P30,000 bail bond each.

Soriano is the only respondent currently holding a government position.

Prosecutors said the purchased 75 rubber boats and 18 spare engines or outboard motors were unusable and unsafe because they did not comply with specifications and were incompatible to each other.