The Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division has imposed a 90-day suspension against Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.
In a seven-page decision, the anti-graft court said “Section 13 [of the anti-graft law] is so clear that there is hardly room for any extended court rationalization of the law.”
“The law unequivocally mandates the suspension of a public official from office pending a criminal prosecution….. Such preventive suspension is mandatory, and there are no ifs and buts about it,” the Sandigan decision added.
The court also ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government to enforce the suspension order.
Catamco and her former husband, Pompey Perez, were accused of “conspiracy to defraud the municipal government of Poro with the anomalous purchase of P5 million worth of Vitacrop liquid organic fertilizer” in 2004.
At the time, Catamco was not yet a public official and was going by the name Nancy Perez.
Ombudsman prosecutors alleged that the transaction was irregular due to lack of public bidding and the supplier, Perzebros Co. represented by the Perezes, was ineligible, being barely two months old at the time of the transaction.
Investigators also hinted at overpricing in the transaction, noting that Poro town was made to pay P1,500 per bottle of fertilizer when the actual price was supposedly only P408 per bottle, or an overprice of P1,092 per bottle.