Puentevella ‘ready to post bail’

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

BACOLOD City Administrator Rolando Villamor said Monday that Mayor Monico Puentevella is ready to post a bail of P30,000 in case the Sandiganbayan orders his arrest.

However, Villamor, also the spokesperson of the mayor, said they remain optimistic that the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan will favorably rule on their motion, which sought the "judicial declaration of probable cause."

Puentevella is facing a criminal case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in the commission of an alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the supposed overpriced purchase of computer packages in the amount of P400,000 per package when he was still congressman.


Villamor said he attended the supposed hearing on their petition at the Sandiganbayan last Friday, but instead of proceeding with the oral arguments, the Fourth Division clerk of court made an announcement for both the prosecution and the defense camps.

He said the clerk of court announced that the justices of the Sandiganbayan normally do not preside on motions and that they will resolve the issue at hand through a resolution expected to be issued anytime this week.

He added that they are confident the Sandiganbayan will act on their favor as they had submitted a "beautiful presentation" of their motion.

If the Sandiganbayan declares there is no probable cause, then there is no reason for the justices to proceed further, he said.

"But if the Sandiganbayan finds probable cause there is a possibility that a warrant of arrest will be issued," Villamor said.

If there is a warrant of arrest, the mayor is very much ready to face it, he added.

"That is why I asked for his clearance to tell the people of Bacolod because they are entitled to know the procedures that are undertaken by the Sandiganbayan," Villamor said.

He added that assuming the Sandiganbayan makes a decision on their motion, and a warrant of arrest will be issued, Puentevella is very much ready to post bail.

Villamor assured the people of Bacolod there will be no disruption of the delivery of basic services despite the charges filed against the mayor.

Moreover, he said that if the mayor needs to post bail, all he has to do is go to a local court as any branch of the Regional Trial Court or Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities will accommodate him.

"There is a legal practice that you don't have to go to the Sandiganbayan and post bail," Villamor explained.

The suspension of the mayor will not happen if the special prosecutor of the Ombudsman will not file a motion, which is a requirement, as this is not automatic or "motu proprio," he added.

Villamor said that granted a suspension will be ordered, the mayor's legal team is ready to file the necessary comment against the motion for suspension.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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