Ombudsman to file raps vs Binay once term ends
Marichu A. Villanueva1 ( - May 19, 2016 - 4:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Thursday said her office is prepared to file criminal charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay upon the expiration of his term in June.

Morales said Binay, whose failed presidential bid forces him to return to the private sector, will be stripped of his immunity after June 30, the last day of the current government.

She said Binay can be held liable for malversation, falsification and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over alleged anomalies in a construction project in Makati City.

Asked if there is a possibility that Binay can be detained, Morales said it would depend on the strength of the cases.

"If the charges are bailable, and he posts bail, he will not be incarcerated, but if the charges are non-bailable and the evidence is strong, whether or not he will go to jail would depend on how the Sandiganbayan or any court for that matter determine it," Morales said at a televised press conference in Quezon City.

The Constitution grants the seating president, vice president and ombudsman immunity from criminal charges. The officials can be removed from office through impeachment.

Lawyer Rico Quicho, spokesperson of Binay, said the ombudsman has always been partial against Binay despite evidence saying otherwise.

"Binalewala nito ang mga ebidensya, due process at ang batas upang gipitin si VP Binay habang nagbulag-bulagan ito sa mga reklamo laban sa mga kaalyado at kapartido ng kasalukuyang administrasyon," Quicho said in a statement issued following the Office of the Ombudsman's press conference.

"In a fair and impartial venue, we are confident that the so-called cases against the VP will be dismissed for being frivolous and baseless. We shall exert all legal remedies to prove the Ombudsman wrong," he added.

In February, the Office of the Ombudsman affirmed its order to file criminal charges against Binay and his son, dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. over the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall parking building project. The construction spanned through the terms of Binay Sr. and Binay Jr. as mayors.

Ombudsman investigators said there was no public bidding conducted prior to the Binays engaging the services of Mana Architecture and Interior Design. Investiators' report showed that the procurement process was manipulated to ensure that the contract would be awarded to the firm. — Camille Diola

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