Trial of Elenita Binay cases can proceed – Sandiganbayan
MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has ruled that the trial of criminal cases against former Makati mayor Elenita Binay, also the wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay, can proceed.
The graft and malversation cases filed against her stemmed from charges of allegedly anomalous purchases of medical supplies and equipment for the Ospital ng Makati worth P45.2 million in 2001 – when Mrs Binay was mayor. Makati entered into a negotiated contract with Apollo Medical Equipment, a special audit conducted by a team from the Commission on Audit found.
The Inquirer reported that in a 23-page resolution promulgated on Friday, November 14, the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division ruled that after the Ombudsman denied on September 8 Binay’s motion for reconsideration, there no longer was a legal obstacle to the trial of the cases against her.
In a July 28 motion, Binay questioned the amended information filed by the Ombudsman. The anti-graft court said her arguments lacked merit.
Quoting from the resolution penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz, the Inquirer reported, “After personally reading and evaluating the above-enumerated documents… the court finds the existence of probable cause that the crime of … (graft) and malversation under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code on two counts each, have been committed and that the accused are probably guilty thereof.”
The former Makati mayor is set to be arraigned on Thursday, November 20, at 1:30 pm. She posted bail ahead of the court resolution.
The court said Binay’s plan to file a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court was not a valid reason to suspend the trial. Such a petition is filed when a lower court is being accused of grave abuse of discretion.
The Inquirer reported that the court resolution said, “If the mere filing of petition for certiorari before a higher court would not automatically interrupt the course of the principal case, it is with more reason that accused Binay’s intended filing of such petition…cannot serve as an impediment to the continuation of the proceeding in these cases.” – Rappler.com