Sandiganbayan suspends Cagayan mayor for misuse of P18M

Raymon Dullana

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Sandiganbayan suspends Cagayan mayor for misuse of P18M
Amulong town Mayor Nicanor de Leon is suspended for 90 days for supposedly authorizing millions worth of 'unlawful' disbursements

CAGAYAN, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division suspended a Cagayan town mayor for his alleged malversation of over P18 million in public funds. 

A suspension order obtained by Rappler on Saturday, December 4, said the anti-graft court suspended Amulong town Mayor Nicanor de Leon for 90 days.

The suspension order was promulgated on August 14, but was only served by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on November 27.

The suspension was reaffirmed on October 28, when the court denied De Leon’s appeal.

Vice Mayor Alexander Pascual has since been sworn into office as acting mayor, while Councilor Elpidio Rendon, who received the most number of votes among the city council candidates in the 2013 polls, became acting vice mayor.

The Sandiganbayan ordered De Leon to cease and desist from performing his duties as mayor. He has also been barred from receiving salaries and benefits as the town chief executive.

The Office of the Ombudsman in April filed the malversation charges against De Leon and his wife Pacita, who was a former mayor and is currently the town’s accountant and treasurer.

The charges stemmed from the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) that the spouses, during their respective terms as mayor, authorized “unlawful” disbursements of funds amounting to P18,718,161.65 from years 2000 to 2009. 

In 2010, the special fraud audit of COA revealed that the De Leons signed a total of 38 checks without the necessary supporting documents and vouchers. 

The reelectionist De Leon is yet to respond to Rappler’s request for comment. –

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