Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Ombudsman blocks ex-VP Binay's bid to dismiss P2.2-B Makati carpark cases

Former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. is facing nine counts of falsification of public documents, four counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds in connection with the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.2 billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has urged the Sandiganbayan to uphold its earlier ruling to put former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. on trial for multiple criminal cases in connection with the alleged anomalous construction of the P2.2-billion Makati parking building.

In its 15-page opposition paper filed before the anti-graft court's Third Division, the ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor said Binay Sr. and the other respondent “failed to present any compelling reason” in their respective motions for reconsideration to warrant the reversal of the court's Aug. 31, 2017 ruling finding probable cause to proceed with a full-blown trial of the cases.

Binay is facing nine counts of falsification of public documents, four counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds in connection with the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.2 billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building.

Named as his co-accused in the cases were several former Makati City officials, including his son, former mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.

The cases were for the alleged anomalous award of architectural design and construction contracts to Mana Architecture and Interior Design Co. and Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation, respectively, for phases I, II and III of the Makati parking building project, during the older Binay's term as mayor.

The ombudsman, which filed the cases in July 2016, said the contracts were awarded through “simulated” bidding”and despite the absence of approved budget appropriation, project plan and specifications.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The younger Binay is also separately facing two counts of graft and six counts of falsification for phases IV and V of the project. The Third Division had earlier found probable cause to proceed with Binay Jr.'s cases.

In its opposition paper, the prosecution team said the court must not give any consideration on Binay Sr.'s argument that he cannot be faulted for any mistake committed by the city government's Bids and Awards Committee, which, he said, have its own separate procurement powers.

The prosecution argued that the decisions of BAC “are merely recommendatory and almost always subject to the approval” of Binay as the head of the procuring entity.

“Accused Binay Sr. cannot simply escape accountability by just passing the blame to his subordinates. It is Incumbent upon him as mayor to take utmost caution in handling the transactions of the City Government of Makati,” the prosecution said.

The prosecution also maintained that it was able to “sufficiently establish” the conspiracy among the accused, contrary to the respondents' claim that their acts were separate from each other.

“In so acting, despite the flagrant irregularities attending the procurement... the accused-movants acted with a common design or intent among themselves, and with their co-accused to ensure that MANA and Hilmarc's would be awarded the corresponding contracts,” the prosecution said.

Lastly, the prosecution refuted Binay Sr.'s argument that the cases has no basis as all the questioned transactions have passed an audit review by the Commission on Audit.

The prosecution argued that “the findings in a COA report is irrelevant to the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman” as the two investigating bodies have separate functions and authority.

“It should be borne in mind that the interest of the COA is solely administrative and that its investigation does not foreclose the Ombudsman's authority to investigate and determine whether there is a crime to be prosecuted for which a public official is answerable,” the prosecution said quoting a previous Supreme Court ruling.

The arraignment of the Binay father and son, as well as the other respondents in the cases, is set on November 10.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1