SRI filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court for prohibition with a plea

Sri filed a petition with the regional trial court

This preview shows page 102 - 103 out of 149 pages.

occupied portions of the reclaimed area; and that more squatters were due to arrive. SRI filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court for prohibition with a plea for injunctive relief against the Mayor, the Municipal Building Official and Municipal Engineer Enrico Alvarez to enjoin them from reclaiming and leveling the property. In their Answer to the petition, Torres and Alvarez alleged inter alia that they were not aware that the subject property was titled in the name of SRI and that the records of the Asse ssor’s Office failed to show that the property had been declared for taxation purposes under the name of SRI. The Mayor insisted that SRI abandoned the property and justified his acts on the ground that the reclamation of the property was for the socialized housing program of his constituents. Issue: Whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering their suspension from office pendente lite without the conduct of a full-blown hearing. Ruling: No. As to the submission of the accused that a full-blown pre-suspension hearing be first conducted before the resolution of the motion to suspend accused, suffice it to state that the requisite pre-suspension hearing is precisely intended solely to determine the applicability of Section 13, of R.A. 3019, and this we now do. What is required only is that the accused be given a fair and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the criminal proceedings against him and this requirement has been complied with when the accused was heard on the matter through various pleadings as heretofore stated. Besides, a requirement that the guilt of the accused must first be established in the pre-suspension proceeding before trial proper can proceed would negate the ruling of the court that the ‘xxx m andatory suspension .... requires at the same time that the hearing be expeditious, and not unduly protracted such as to thwart the prompt suspension envisioned by the Act’ and make the trial proper a surplusage.’ We are in full accord with the disquisitions and ratiocinations of the Sandiganbayan. The suspension pendente lite by the Sandiganbayan of petitioners who were accorded full opportunity to ventilate the issue of the insufficiency of the information for said court, through the filing of pleadings, is inevitable and unassailable, considering our affirmation of the validity of the information filed against them. 126. Rios vs. Sandiganbayan, 279 SCRA 581 (period of preventive suspension under LGU) Facts: An information was filed against petitioner who is the incumbent Mayor of the Municipality of San Fernando, Romblon for alleged unauthorized disposition of confiscated lumber, in violation of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Before his arraignment, petitioner filed a “Motion to Quash Information and Recall Warrant of Arrest on the ground that the information was invalid as there was no probable cause to hold him liable for violation of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019.
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