Binay camp: Ombudsman’s order vs Junjun Binay a ‘calculated attack’

Mara Cepeda
Binay camp: Ombudsman’s order vs Junjun Binay a ‘calculated attack’
The Binay camp alleges that the Ombudsman's dismissal order was meant to preempt the Court of Appeals

MANILA, Philippines – “A calculated attack.”

This was how the camp of dismissed Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr described the dismissal order of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against him, following his loss at the Court of Appeals.

Joey Salgado, media affairs head of Mayor Binay’s father and Vice President Jejomar Binay, made the statement on Saturday, October 31, a day after the appellate court junked Mayor Binay’s petition questioning his second 6-month preventive suspension order over his alleged involvement in the overpricing of the Makati Science High School building.

Salgado said that the Ombudsman’s dismissal order was a “calculated attack meant to undermine the petition filed by the mayor before the Court of Appeals.”

The CA rendered Mayor Binay’s petition as moot because the Ombudsman had ordered his dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office over the alleged overpricing of another city infrastructure project, the Makati City Hall Parking Building II.

“The Office of the Ombudsman ignored the mayor’s constitutional right to due process. He was not informed of the nature of the allegations, and he is even being held liable for acts committed before he was elected mayor. The agency also did not act on earlier motions filed as early as May and instead issued its decision,” said Salgado.

According to him, there is “no factual basis or evidence of conspiracy” in the alleged rigging of the bidding process for the architectural and engineering design of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II.

Salgado previously told Rappler that Mayor Binay’s lawyers expected the CA  decision. He said Mayor Binay had already filed a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman asking for the reversal of its decision.

Ombudsman erred?

The Binay camp believed that the Ombudsman “also erred in applying rulings of the Supreme Court.” (WATCH: Red flags in ‘overpriced’ Makati infra projects)

Salgado cited Mayor Binay’s 26-page motion for reconsideration filed on October 19, wherein he that the Ombudsman’s Special Panel of Investigators charged him even if he did not directly participate in the bidding process for the Makati City Hall Parking Building II.

“No stretch of imagination could yield a conclusion that I conspired in the commission of offenses that happened during the bidding when I am not a member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and I could not have been the author of the falsifications allegedly committed,” Mayor Binay said in his motion.

He said that when he approved the resolution of the Makati BAC naming Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation as the winning bidder for the parking building, he was only exercising his function as city mayor and head of the procuring entity.

“They do not in themselves constitute any deviation from established rules of procedure nor do they constitute any distortion of the truth. Signing an approval, by itself, does constitute a conscious agreement to irregularities allegedly committed, absent independent evidence of bad faith,” he said.

Mayor Binay also said in his motion that the investigators held him accountable for acts committed in 2007, when he was not yet elected as mayor. 

The construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II was initiated by Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2007, when he was city mayor. The infrastructure project was completed in 2013, when his son was already seated as Makati mayor.

The Ombudsman said on October 12 that it will file criminal charges against the Vice President for his alleged involvement in phases 1 and 2 of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II. (READ: Ombudsman sets charges vs VP Binay, 23 others)

The Ombudsman also found probable cause to indict his son Mayor Binay as well because of his alleged involvement in the remaining phases of the infrastructure project. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.