Mayor Sajid Ampatuan suspended for 90 days

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan suspended for 90 days Shariff Saydona Mustapha Mayor Sajid Ampatuan over a hundred counts of corruption charges for questionable infrastructure projects in 2009.

The Sandiganbayan 6th Division ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to enforce the 90-day suspension against Ampatuan.

Ampatuan is charged of 137 counts of falsification of public documents,  4 counts of graft, and 4 counts of malversation of public funds for projects such as road and school buildings, which, according to Ombudsman investigators, turned out to be fake.

These were projects from 2009 which were implemented while he was Maguindanao governor.

The 6th Division suspended him to prevent the mayor “from committing further acts of malfeasance while in office.”

Ampatuan has shelled out millions of pesos to post bail over these charges.

Ampatuan argued that suspending him would be illogical since he was no longer Maguindanao governor.

“He was given a fair and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the proceedings, yet he agreed to be arraigned and chose to proceed to trial. Thus, he is deemed to have waived his objections to the validity of the [case] informations and the proceedings,” the Sixth Division said in a resolution signed by Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez, Karl B. Miranda, and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.

Ampatuan was detained for 5 years for being one of the principal suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre which killed 58 people, including 32 journalists.

It is the worst case of election-related violence in recent history.

In March 2015, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 granted Ampatuan's motion for bail and allowed him temporary freedom after paying P11.6 million. (READ: Grand welcome for Ampatuan son out on bail)  Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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