By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has ordered the 90-day suspension pendente lite of Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) Professor I Susana Salvacion.
Salvacion was earlier charged for violation of Section 3(e) and (h) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for selecting her own company to provide a review for the university.
She gave unwarranted benefits to Nurmed Hyperlearn Review and Tutorial Services (Nurmed), which she owns, by introducing Nurmed as an alternative review facility to SLSU students and using the facilities of the SLSU College of Allied Medicine as the venue for review classes without any permit or contract.
The prosecution filed a motion to suspend Salvacion pedente lite in light of her charges, and the court granted this in a minute resolution.
The Sandiganbayan upheld Section 13 of R.A. 3019, which provides that any incumbent officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this law is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.
She was directed to cease and desist from further performing or exercising the functions, duties and privilege of her present public position or any other government position she may now or thereafter be holding, effective upon notice and continuing for 90 days.
“The preventive suspension prayed for by the prosecution in the instant cases is not a penalty, since accused, whose culpability remains to be proven, is still entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence,” the court explained in the resolution.
“It is merely a measure of precaution so that the employee who is charged may be separated, for obvious reasons, from office,” it added. “The possibility that accused would intimidate witnesses or hamper their prosecution is just one of the grounds for preventive suspension. Another is to prevent accused from committing further acts of malfeasance while in office.”