Ombudsman urges Sandiganbayan: Junk Binay's bid to re-raffle 14 cases
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has asked the Sandiganbayan's Third Division to deny the motion of former vice president Jejomar Binay to raffle off his 14 criminal cases to other divisions of the anti-graft court, citing "utter lack of merit."
State prosecutors argued that the charges against the former vice president were interrelated and required continuous presentation of evidence in a joint trial under a single Sandiganbayan division.
They also said that raffling off the cases to different divisions would lead to a chaotic trial and unnecessary delays – contrary to Binay's wish for a speedy disposition of his cases.
The former vice president alleged that consolidating all his cases under one division of the Sandiganbayan violated the court's own rules, among other issues, but the prosecution argued that this was necessary to ensure the smooth presentation of evidence.
“Contrary to the contention of accused Binay Sr that there are not interrelated incidents and no relation between the subject cases, it must be emphasized that the construction of the Makati City Parking Building involves a continuous and grand design of defrauding the government,” the prosecution said.
Prosecutors said that while the project was conceptualized during the administration of Binay as city mayor, the project was completed when his son, Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr, was mayor.
“The acts alleged cannot be considered on a piecemeal basis as the corruption was hatched through a web of conspiracy between all the accused in these cases as a single devious plan to obtain public funds for themselves,” the prosecution said.
The cases filed on July 14 against Binay and other Makati City officials involved charges of conspiracy in irregularlities in the bidding, planning, and construciton of the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall parking building.
Binay was named in 9 counts of falsification of public documents, 4 counts of graft, and one count of malversation of public funds.
Prosecutors added that a newspaper advertisement for the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid – a requirement – appeared bogus, as Balita, the tabloid that was supposed to have published the notice in December 2007, denied posting the ad.
Allegations of rigged bidding for Phases 1 to 3 of the contract – awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation – reportedly denied the city government of getting a better offer.
Former Makati City officials named as co-accused in the case are:
- Marjorie De Veyra
- Pio Kenneth Dasal
- Lorenza Amores
- Virginia Hernandez
- Line Dela Peña
- Arnel Cadangan
- Emerito Magat
- Mario Badillo
- Leonila Querijero
- Cecilio Lim III
- Raydes Pestaño
- Nelia Barlis
- Norman Flores
- Ulysses Orienza
- Giovanni Condes
- Rodel Nayve
- Manolito Uyaco
Orlando Mateo of Mana Architecture and Interior Design Company (MANA) and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Company (Hilmarc’s), were also named co-accused.
Meanwhile, Binay Jr was also charged with two counts of graft and one count of malversation. These charges are in addition to two counts of graft and 6 counts of falsifying public documents, filed against him on February 19, 2016. – Rappler.com