Rep. Treñas accepts preventive suspension

THE Sandiganbayan ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry P. Treñas relative to a graft case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in November 2017.

In an interview with The Daily Guardian, Treñas said his lawyer received the suspension order late afternoon of Jan 5, 2018.

He said he is currently coordinating with the office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on the implementation of the order.

“Gina-coordinate pa naton sa Office ni Speaker para matan-aw ta kun when ma-implement,” he said.

In a complaint filed on Nov 7, 2017, Ombudsman Assistant Special Prosecutor III Jorge B. Espinal accused Treñas of violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) by giving “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference” for releasing P500,000 for the construction of the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) building in Molo, Iloilo City almost 15 years ago.

The Ombudsman accused Treñas before the Sandiganbayan of giving “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference” for the release of the P500,000 priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of Senator Loren Legarda to IPC “which was not an accredited non-government organization (NGO) of the city.”

The money was used for the construction of the IPC building at Brgy. San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City.

The Ombudsman also accused the congressman of violating Commission on Audit’s Circular No. 96-003 for failure to monitor the implementation of the project and failure to require fund liquidation.

Treñas denied any irregularity in the transaction and said all the legal processes were followed.

“I’m sure ma-clear ako na ya sa ini nga charges kay ti ginhatag man to tanan sa press club. Basta nasunod tanan nga processes,” he said.

The congressman refrained from discussing the details of the case to avoid sub judice contempt.

The sub judice rule “restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings.” The restriction applies not only to participants in the pending case, i.e., to members of the bar and bench, and to litigants and witnesses but also to the public in general, including the media.

Treñas said he will no longer contest the order as the preventive suspension is automatic to every case filed before the Sandiganbayan.

Section 13 of RA 3019 makes mandatory suspension of any incumbent public official pending criminal prosecution under valid information for any offense involving fraud.

The suspension is meant to prevent an accused from using his/her office to influence potential witnesses or tamper with records which may be vital in the prosecution of the case against him.

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