MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 4th Division has ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta who is facing a graft case in connection with a government project undertaken when he was still mayor of Pavia town.
The court noted that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sent a copy of its resolution for the implementation of its preventive suspension order against Gorriceta.
“This is ministerial upon the court, even absent a motion from the prosecution praying for preventive suspension,” the court said in a resolution promulgated on Jan. 23.
The resolution was signed by Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justices Bayani Jacinto and Reynaldo Cruz.
Gorriceta is a co-defendant of former Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Augusto Syjuco in a graft case involving the P5 million Education For All project, which was supposedly padded by P999,900.
The court also noted in the resolution that Gorriceta argued in his manifestation and compliance that he was no longer the mayor of Pavia and the rationale for a preventive suspension no longer obtains.
The court also rejected the argument of the accused that his medical condition (kidney cancer with spinal metastasis) means that he cannot use his influence on the case or intimidate witnesses.
“On this score, accused Gorriceta’s physical health is of no moment, considering that the only relevant consideration for the court in applying the legal mandate for preventive suspension is the fact that accused presently holds public office,” the court said.