MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has found sufficient grounds to proceed with the trial of graft and falsification cases against former Makati mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and several former city officials in connection with the allegedly anomalous construction of a P2.2-billion parking building.
In a 65-page resolution promulgated on April 18, released to the media yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Third Division denied Binay and the other respondents’ respective motions praying for the dismissal of their cases.
“There is probable cause to believe that the crimes of falsification and violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 were committed and that the herein accused are probably guilty thereof; hence, they ought to be arrested and brought to trial,” the ruling, penned by Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and Third Division chairman Amparo Cabotaje-Tang read.
The court, however, clarified that since Binay and the other respondents posted bail, there is no longer a need to order their arrest. The court, instead, set their arraignment on May 18.
The charges against Binay involve two counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and six counts of falsification of public documents as defined under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.
Named as Binay’s co-accused in the charges were 12 former Makati City officials: city administrator Marjorie de Veyra, Bids and Awards Committee vice chairperson and General Services Department officer-in-charge Gerardo San Gabriel, city
legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, Makati Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, BAC secretariat head Manolito Uyaco, BAC Technical Working Group chairman Rodel Nayve, Central Planning Management Office chief Line dela Peña, CPMO civil engineer Connie Consulta, city treasurer Nelia Barlis, city accountant Cecilio Lim III, city engineer Mario Badillo and acting city administrator Eleno Mendoza Jr.
Also named as a respondent in the cases was Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Co.
The cases stemmed from the alleged rigged bidding and overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building.
“The issues raised by the accused-movants in their respective motions are matters of defense which are best ventilated and passed upon during the trial of the case,” the ruling read.
Associate Justices Sarah Jane Fernandez and Bernelito Fernandez concurred with the ruling.
Binay is also named as co-accused in two counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds filed by the ombudsman against his father, former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr., in July 2016.
The Third Division, however, has yet to rule on whether there is probable cause to proceed with the trial of the cases against Binay Sr. and his co-accused.