Ombudsman probers want Binay charged over Boy Scouts building sale

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Ombudsman probers want Binay charged over Boy Scouts building sale
The case stemmed from the sale of the BSP National Executive Board of a building in Malugay Street, Makati City worth P600 million to Alphaland.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman’s investigators have recommended the filing of graft complaints against former Vice President Jejomar Binay and other executives of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines over an allegedly anomalous deal between property developer Alphaland and the BSP.

In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman said that its Field Investigation Office (FIO) has completed its fact-finding investigation and has recommended the filing of criminal complaints for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Binay and 32 other executives of the Boy Scouts.

Binay is the former president of the BSP.

The FIO also recommended graft charges against Alphaland Makati Place Inc President Mario Oreta and three officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Section 3(e) of the law penalizes “causing undue party to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits.” The law’s provision under Section 3(g) also penalizes “entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”

The FIO also recommended the filing of an administrative complaint for Gross Neglect of Duty against Binay, who is no longer a government official.

Following the recommendation, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to determine if there is probable cause to charge Binay for violations of the anti-graft law.

The case stemmed from the sale by the BSP National Executive Board of a building in Malugay Street, Makati City worth P600 million to Alphaland.

The FIO said that the sale was “grossly undervalued,” as the Malugay property was mortgaged at P1.7 billion, while improvements are pegged at P8.43 billion.

In a Senate inquiry held in 2015, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado claimed that Binay received P200 million from the deal and the money was used to fund his campaign for the 2010 elections.

READ: ‘Binay got up to P651M from Boy Scouts, Alphaland deal’

'Probe results lack basis'

The Binay camp slammed the Office of the Ombudsman for its findings that it said "lack basis" and show a vendetta against the former vice president.

In a statement sent to media, Joey Salgado, Binay's spokesperson, accused Ombudsman Conchita Caprio-Morales of practicing selective justice.

"Clearly, the Ombudsman intends to spend her last days in office pursuing her personal and political agenda against former VP Binay while being a true-blue Yellow protector to the end," he said.

Salgado stressed that Morales has recently said that her office will "no longer be pursuing the case against high-profile allies and personalities of the previous administration who benefited from the PDAF scam" due to lack of evidence and time.

"But the Ombudsman can and will always find time against the former vice president, even if the complaint lacks basis in fact," Salgado added.

Morales, in an interview with CNN on Monday, admitted that, due to the volume of cases, she cannot finish all the cases involving the pork barrel scam before her term expires on July 28. In the same interview, the ombudsman—an appointee of President Benigno Aquino III—denied exercising selective justice as she stressed that her office "goes by evidence."

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