Negros Oriental governor under preventive suspension

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias. (FILE PHOTO)

Dumaguete City (CNN Philippines, October 19) — The governor of Negros Oriental was suspended after he was charged by an anti-graft court of misusing calamity funds, said the province's vice-governor.

Roel Ragay Degamo was suspended for 90 days since Wednesday, said Vice Governor Edward Macias on Wednesday.

The regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government served the Sandiganbayan's 90-day suspension order dated Oct. 2.

Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias assumed Degamo's post.

"My assumption is only 90 days and I will continue to give the same kind of service what have been given to the people of the province," he said.

Degamo's legal counsel, Richard Enojo, said they petitioned the Supreme Court for the reversal of the Sandiganbayan order.

Degamo and two other provincial officials were charged in January with violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.

Degamo denied the charges.

The case involved the awarding of a ₱961.5 million calamity fund to the Negros Oriental provincial government for Typhoon Sendong in 2011 and a 6.9-magnitude earthquake in 2012. Of this amount, ₱480.7 million was immediately released to the provincial government.

But the Budget Department later found the provincial government failed to comply with existing infrastructure guidelines. Because of this, the department withdrew allocation for the provincial government's projects for the typhooon and earthquake.

Degamo, however, awarded 11 infrastructure contracts using the first tranche of calamity funds claimed by the provincial government, worth ₱143.2 million.

Typhoon Sendong is considered to be the deadliest storm in December 2011, leaving 1,268 dead, 181 missing, and more than ₱2.068 billion in damage, said disaster management officials. The Western Visayas earthquake in February 2012 left 51 dead, and incurred around P383 million in damages.