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South Cotabato Rep. Acharon welcomes suspension order

 • 16:21 PM Thu Feb 25, 2016
Edwin O. Fernandez
South Cotabato 1st district Rep. Pedro B. Acharon Jr files his candidacy for reelection last year. (Screengrab from Rep. Achraon's FB page)

KORONADAL CITY – A public official can be suspended
even if the offense he committed, like graft, while he was holding previous appointive
or elective position.

With this, the Sandigabayan has suspended South Cotabato
Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr who was facing graft charges for his failure to
lilquidate some P2.5 million government funds used for a dinner festival in

In a news release, the Office of the Ombudsman said the country’s anti-graft court has granted its motion to impose a 60-day preventive suspension on Acharon.

The court directed House Speaker Jose Belmonte to
impose the suspension on Acharon based on the Sandigabayan resolution
promulgated on January 28.

Acharon, while mayor of Gen. Santos City, allegedly failed to
liquidate some P2.5 million spent for the Tambayoyong Festival in Los Angeles,
California in 2006.

The court did not give weight on Acharon’s claim
that he no longer approves or implements disbursement of public funds, as he
used to do as former City Mayor of General Santos City in which capacity he was
charged in this case.”

For as long as the accused occupies a public
office, he can be suspended 'pendente lite'” as suspension follows the accused
in whatever other government position which he/she may be holding at the time
of suspension,” the court said.

The Sandiganbayan also found no merit in the
lawmaker’s defense that his constituents would be deprived of representation if
he were to be suspended.”

Acharon is seeking reelection and challenging his
post are Dominador Lagare III and Ryan Rivera.

In his FB account, Pedro B. Acharon Jr (pubic
official), he posted a statement in reaction to the anti-graft court’s order.

We welcome the decision of the Sandiganbayan
specially in the implementation of RA 3019 (Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices
Act),” he said.

sand// Preventive Suspension based on the above mentioned
law is (a matter of procedure and is not a judgement) to allow the
investigating body to conduct an inquiry. Being so, the Ombudsman can freely
perform their function free from intervention,” he added. A clear and
innocent conscience fears nothing.”

Acharon said he trusts that the court as the final
arbiter shall be guided with impartiality and fairness. No one should be above
the law,” he said.Acharon was reelected lawmaker for his second term in 2013under theLiberal Party-Nationalist People’s Coalition-Achiever’s with Integrity Movement (LP-NPC-AIM) ticket.

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