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Court slaps congressman three-month suspension

By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent

BUTUAN City — The anti-graft court has slapped Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Prospero Pichay with a 90-day suspension order for graft and bank violation charges.

The five-page resolution, dated March 1, was penned by Sandiganbayan Fourth Division Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz with the concurrence of Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Edgardo Caldona.

The suspension order, according to the anti-graft court, is to prevent Pichay from interfering with his graft case in connection with the purchase of Express Savings Bank Inc. on March 24, 2009.

Cruz pointed out that records show that Pichay has been charged under three separate valid information of violating the graft law. Pichay has been accused of entering into anomalous deals in 2009 when he was the chairperson of the Local Water Utilities Administration (Lwua).

Pichay was accused of allowing Lwua, through a questioned resolution, to acquire a local bank in Laguna without requirements from top agencies, including the Department of Finance and the Office of the President.

Pichay said the suspension order would not affect his reelection bid as Surigao del Sur’s lone representative, explaining that the legal battle is not yet over.

“This suspension will definitely not affect my candidacy. (This case may) take around five to six years,” said Pichay.    

He said he would be filing a motion for reconsideration.

“My counsel advised me to file a motion for reconsideration considering the fact that I can no longer influence the gathering of facts and evidence,” said Pichay.

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