Quezon City

Sandiganbayan suspends ex-Quezon City administrator over graft case


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Sandiganbayan suspends ex-Quezon City administrator over graft case

ANTI-GRAFT. File photo of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City taken on June 30, 2018.


The anti-graft court says the preventive suspension of former Quezon City administrator Aldrin Cuña, executive vice president of the National Defense College, is not a penalty and that he is entitled to reinstatement and payment of salaries and benefits withheld during suspension if he is acquitted

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has ordered the 90-day suspension of National Defense College Executive Vice President Aldrin Cuña over a graft case involving an alleged anomalous Quezon City project when he was the city’s administrator.

The Sandiganbayan Third Division’s order, promulgated on April 3, takes effect immediately upon service of the directive.

The court furnished Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. a copy of the six-page resolution for implementation. It directed the defense chief to inform it about actions taken in relation to the order within five days.

The resolution was penned by Presiding Justice and Third Division chairperson Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang with concurrences from Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez and Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno.

Cuña’s suspension stemmed from a 2023 graft case filed against him as co-accused of former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista. They are accused of causing undue injury to the city government by allegedly favoring contractors Cygnet Energy and Power Asia, Incorporated despite noncompliance with documentary requirements and procedures, in violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In December 2023, the Sandiganbayan gave Cuña a non-extendible 10-day period to explain why he should not be placed under preventive suspension. Cuña, however, did not file any pleading so the court declared that he had waived his right to contest the his preventive suspension

“Verily, once the Information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs or buts about it,” the court said.

It stressed that the preventive suspension is not a penalty and that the defendant is entitled to reinstatement and payment of salaries and benefits withheld during suspension if he is eventually acquitted.

“In this case, there is absolutely no question to the validity of the subject Information. Accused Cuña is now serving as the Executive Vice President of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP). Thus, his preventive suspension should now follow as a matter of course,” the court said.

In the graft case, Ombudsman investigators alleged that Bautista and Cuña approved the contract worth P25.34-million in favor of Cygnet, meant for installing solar power and waterproofing systems of Civic Center Building F.

Cygnet received the payment for the project despite not being entitled to it, the Ombudsman said, because it “failed to apply for and secure a Net Metering System from Meralco,” which was a mandatory requirement under the terms of reference and the supply and delivery agreement. – Rappler.com

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