Ombudsman upholds graft raps vs Binays
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The filing of criminal charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay for his alleged role in the questionable Makati City Hall Building II project will have to wait until he steps down from office and loses his immunity from suit, the Office of the Ombudsman said yesterday.

But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said they would push through with indicting Binay’s son Jejomar Erwin Jr. for graft and other offenses before the Sandiganbayan.

The elder Binay is running for president in the May 9 elections under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

“The information against Binay Sr. will be filed after the expiration of his term as Vice President consistent with the principle that an impeachable officer, while in office, cannot be the subject of a criminal indictment in court, for an offense which carries the penalty of removal from office,” the ombudsman said.

Morales made it clear, however, that the ombudsman’s authority to investigate the elder Binay “is in accordance with the Constitution, law and jurisprudence.” 

Vice President Binay was included in the investigation into the P2.2-billion City Hall parking building project since construction began when he was still mayor of Makati from 2007 to 2010.

In an earlier interview, Morales said Binay would remain immune from suit if he gets elected president in the coming elections.

“As president, he has immunity for as long as he is president but when he finishes his term then we can file a case against him, if we find probable cause,” she explained.

“Because he is an impeachable officer and because of jurisprudence, even if he is alleged to have committed the offense or offenses when he was not yet impeachable, we have to defer the filing of the case because we find probable cause until after he becomes a non-impeachable official,” Morales said. 

Meanwhile, the pro-administration Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid said the Binays should just face the charges against them instead of looking for scapegoats.

Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II also denied that he was behind the ads attacking Binay.

“They should not look for people to blame. They should just face the cases and bring out the truth,” coalition spokesman and Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez said.

“All opportunities have been given them to defend themselves. This is the result and they have to face their cases,” he said in a statement.

All those who stole public funds should be brought to justice, he said.

Roxas, for his part, said it was hard to imagine his team or himself spending precious campaign funds for an anti-Binay ad.

“Why would I spend money on that when I already have difficulties raising funds for my own ads?” Roxas said.

“Why would I care about their issue? They should just answer (the allegations),” he added.

The attack ads shared in social networking sites dealt with the corruption allegations against the Vice President.  – Alexis Romero

ACIRC AKBAYAN REP ALEXIS ROMERO BINAY BINAY SR. BUT OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES CITY HALL DAANG MATUWID IBARRA GUTIERREZ PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT
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