MANILA (UPDATE) - The Sandiganbayan on Thursday ordered the suspension of House Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay in connection with a chess event he sponsored using government funds.
Pichay is facing grafts and ethics charges over his alleged illegal approval of the release of P1.5 million Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) funds in 2010 for a chess event.
In a 5-page decision, the Sandiganbayan 4th Division ordered the House of Representatives to implement Pichay's 90-day suspension.
Sandiganbayan rejected Pichay's argument that he cannot be suspended because only Congress can order his suspension.
He also argued that he is currently an elected official but the allegation happened when he was an LWUA chairman.
In a statement, Pichay said he has instructed his lawyers to "exercise all available legal remedies to assail said order."
"I am hopeful that in the end I will be vindicated," he said.
--Report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News