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Negros Oriental mayor Tuanda suspended for corruption

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Another local chief executive in Negros Oriental was suspended for corruption.

The Sandiganbayan has preventively suspended for 90 days without pay Jimalalud Mayor Reynaldo Vidal Tuanda.

The suspension order was penned by Sandiganbayan 5th Division Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega and concurred in by Associate Justices Reynaldo C. Cruz and Lorifel L. Pahimna.

The mayor claimed the case against him was fatally defective as the prosecution claimed he was a cockpit operator when he was just a cockpit promoter.

The 5th division said, considering that the accused was charged and arraigned under a valid information, his suspension must proceed accordingly pursuant to the mandatory provision of Section 13 of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The resolution was promulgated on Oct. 3, 2017 yet, ordering Tuanda to cease and desist from performing all his functions as mayor of the municipality of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental and to vacate his post immediately.

However, the order was not served last year because of the impending preventive suspension of Governor Roel Degamo, which arrived Oct. 16, 2017.

Normally, according to assistant provincial administrator lawyer Froilan Pinili on Thursday, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is tasked to serve the suspension and dismissal orders.

But in this case, it was the Office of the Provincial Governor which was directed to implement the order of suspension, prompting the official to personally go to the Sandiganbayan to ask for a copy of the order.

A staff of Tuanda received the suspension order early this week without resistance and after which Vice Mayor-elect Hazel Tuanda immediately took over the vacated post.

The first councilor, Delia Estrellanes, also took her oath as vice mayor before Degamo at the provincial Capitol in compliance with Section 46 of the Local Government code in case of temporary vacancies.

(PNA)