The CA said the ombudsman erred in ordering Binay’s dismissal since the condonation doctrine should have been applicable in his case.
Michael Varcas
Court of Appeals clears Junjun Binay in P2.2-billion case
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld its earlier decision clearing former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. of administrative liabilities in the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Parking Building II.

In a 39-page resolution, dated March 18 and released yesterday, the CA’s 10th Division dismissed the motion for partial reconsideration filed by the Office of the Ombudsman because it failed to present new arguments that would convince the justices to reverse their May 3, 2018 decision.

The CA’s 10th Division is chaired by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon with Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Maria Filomena Singh as members.

The CA said the ombudsman erred in ordering Binay’s dismissal since the condonation doctrine should have been applicable in his case. The doctrine states that an erring official is considered forgiven for his acts during his past term once he is re-elected.

 The ombudsman, in its Sept. 7, 2015 resolution, found Binay and 19 other city officials guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for the alleged overpricing in the procurement of the architectural design and engineering services and construction of Phase 1 to 5 of the parking building.

The ombudsman then ordered the dismissal of Binay and his co-accused from government service.

The CA noted that the alleged irregularities in Phases 3 to 5, used as the basis for the charges of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct filed before the ombudsman against Binay, happened before he was re-elected in 2013.

Elenita Binay’s trial to be cut short

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has allowed Binay’s mother, Elenita, to seek the early dismissal of the graft case against her over an alleged anomalous procurement made in 1999 during her term as Makati mayor.

In a March 12 resolution obtained by reporters yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division allowed Elenita to file a demurrer, saying “there are doubts as to the sufficiency of evidence” presented by the ombudsman’s prosecution team against the former mayor.

A demurrer will allow Binay to dispense with the presentation of her defense and instead seek the dismissal of the case halfway through the trial based solely on the evidence presented by the prosecution.

In granting Binay’s motion for leave, the Fifth Division cited its earlier ruling denying with finality the prosecution’s bid to present Binay’s co-accused, former Makati councilor Ernesto Aspillaga, as state witness.

The Fifth Division noted that the prosecution admitted that there was no other direct evidence available, except Aspillaga’s testimony, to prove Elenita’s culpability.

Aspillaga, former head of the Makati government’s general services department and former member of the city government’s bids and awards committee, previously testified in a Senate inquiry that almost all the public biddings in Makati City during the reign of the Binays since 1986 were “moro-moro” or for show.

Filed by the ombudsman in 2006, the case stemmed from the alleged anomalous purchase of office partitions and furniture worth P72.06 million in 1999 during Elenita’s term as Makati mayor.

The Fifth Division gave Elenita 10 days from the receipt of the resolution to file her demurrer and the prosecution 10 days to reply, after which the demurrer is deemed submitted for resolution.  – With Elizabeth Marcelo

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