Sandiganbayan junks P21.7-M graft case vs Elenita Binay

Rappler.com
The anti-graft court says the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the former Makati mayor acted in bad faith, and that she conspired with the winning supplier of the furniture deal

ONE DOWN. Former Makati mayor Elenita Binay hurdles one of several cases pending before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. File photo from OVP File ohoto by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft case against former Makati mayor Elenita Binay stemming from the alleged rigged bidding of the purchase or furniture and office partitions in 2000 when she was city chief. 

The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division voted 3-2 in favor of granting the demurrers to evidence filed by Binay and her co-accused – Bernadette Aquino, Ernesto Aspillaga, and Nicanor Santiago. 

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Roland Jurado, Sandiganbayan 5th Division chair;  and concurred by Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Jose Hernandez. Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta dissented.

 

The case involved the alleged rigged bidding for the purchase of P21.7 million worth of office furniture and partitions for the Makati city government, to favor Asia Concept International, Incorporated.

In its resolution, the court said: “The conduct of rigged bidding has not been sufficiently established; hence, the alleged rigged bidding would not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused acted with evident bad faith, manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence which is an essential element of the crime charged.”

The court also said that whether or not there was a rigged bidding “is not the core/ultimate issue but whether undue injury was caused by the government and/or unwarranted benefits given Asia Concept.”

“Being the very acts contextually punishable under Section 3(e) of RA 3019, the said acts [of causing undue injury and/or giving unwarranted benefits to private individuals] therefore need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, the same punishable acts have not been so proven. Hence, the dismissal of this case if clearly in order,” the court said.

Binay, wife of former vice president Jejomar Binay, has other pending cases before the Sandiganbayan involving the Makati government’s puchase of alleged overpriced furniture, hospital beds, and autoclaves when she was local chief executive. – Rappler.com