The Sandiganbayan Third Division has ordered the 90-day suspension pendente lite of Davao del Sur Vice Gov. Marc Douglas Chan Cagas IV in light of his graft and malversation cases involving the misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he was a congressman.
The anti-graft court gave Cagas the chance to explain why he should not be preventively suspended from office pursuant to Section 13 of Republic Act (RA) 3019 and Section 4, Rule 8 of the 2018 Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan.
Cagas contended that being placed under preventive suspension will no longer serve its purpose since the opportunity to tamper the documents or influence possible witnesses in the cases would not do him any benefit.
He said the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), Letter of Indorsement, and other documents pertaining to the subject transactions of his case were not signed by him but by other concerned officers or personnel of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Technology Resource Center (TRC), and National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR).
However, the anti-graft court said in its motion that it is its ministerial duty to place an accused under preventive suspension and cited Section 13 of RA 3019, which applies to “any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information… is pending in court.”
The 10-page resolution signed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.
Cagas is facing two sets of cases before the Third Division. The first set of charges involved two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and two counts of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, otherwise known as Malversation of Public Funds.
This was for the endorsement of his P7.55 million PDAF to fake non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
The second set of charges involving the endorsement of his P5.5-million PDAF to Napoles’ fake NGOs, included two violations of graft, a single violation of malversation, and a violation of malversation through falsification.