Sandiganbayan affirms 90-day suspension of Mayor Sajid Ampatuan over graft case
MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan affirmed the 90-day preventive suspension of Shariff Saydona Mustapha Mayor Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan over a graft case when he was governor of Maguindanao.
The Sandiganbayan 6th Division junked Ampatuan's motion for reconsideration, saying there is no reason to recall the October 1 suspension order.
Ampatuan and 6 provincial officials were charged with 4 counts of graft, 4 counts of malversation of public funds, and 137 counts of falsification of public documents. (READ: Sandiganbayan: Sajid Ampatuan guilty of corruption)
Prosecutors argued that in 2009, the province entered into fraudulent procurement of construction materials worth P72.256 million to build and repair public school buildings. A probe by investigators found that the 4 suppliers tapped for the project were non-existent.
Ampatuan said in his appeal to dismiss the suspension order that the graft cases were "inherently and substantially defective" since he was not able to join the Office of the Ombudsman's preliminary investigation into the case.
But the Sandiganbayan ruled that his defense was "nothing but an afterthought" because it was raised late into the proceedings.
Records showed that the Ombudsman "afforded the respondents the opportunity to file their counter-affidavits" and Ampatuan was one of those who did, said the court.
The Sandiganbayan added that Ampatuan also signed the consolidated joint counter-affidavit of the respondents. – Rappler.com