MANILA, Philippines – The “evidence of guilt is strong” versus Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr in connection with the alleged overpriced P2.8 billion Makati City Hall Parking Building, the Ombudsman said.
In issuing the 6-month preventive suspension without pay against the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the Ombudsman observed that based on the evidence submitted, the twin requisites for the issuance of the preventive order have been sufficiently met in the complaint.
“Under this (preventive suspension) provision, two requisites must concur: first, that in the judgment of the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman, the evidence of guilt is strong; and second, which may be met in either of different ways – (a) the offense charged involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charge would warrant removal from office; or (c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him,” the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman also said the first requisite of strong guilt is present “as shown by the supporting evidence” that included “sworn statements of alleged losing bidders and of some members of the Makati City BAC (bids and awards committee) attesting to the irregularities in the subject procurement..”
Documents also disprove that there was publication of the supposed bid to other interested bidders, the Ombudsman said.
The circumstances constituting the second requisite were also fulfilled, since the complaint charges the respondents with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
“If proven true they constitute grounds for removal from public service under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Moreover, since the respondents’ respective positions give them access to public records and influence on possible witnesses, respondents continued stay in office may prejudice the cases filed against them,” the Ombudsman said.
“Thus, their preventive suspension without pay for a period of six months is in order.”
DILG to implement
Apart from Binay, also charged and ordered suspended are 22 former and current city hall officials led by former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra, city legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, city budget officer Lorenza Amores, and others.
The March 10, 2015 order of the Ombudsman also directed Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to implement the suspension of Binay and other Makati local officials “immediately upon receipt” and to inform the Ombudsman “within 5 days of the status of the implementation.”
Binay was charged in connection with the allegedly non-existent bidding and award of the design, architectural and engineering services of the Makati City Hall Parking Building to MANA Architecture and Design Co. for construction phases 3, 4 and 5 of the controversial structure.
Phases 1 and 2 of the Makati Parking Building were implemented when the senior Binay was mayor.
Hilmarc’s Construction, which also had cornered several big-time projects in the Makati City government, bagged all the 5 phases of the project.
The Vice President, in defending the alleged world-class building, said the city government was able to save P200 million in the estimated project cost due to competitive bidding.
But a careful analysis of the expenses showed that the project actually overshot its approved budget for the contract for the entire 5 phases.
The construction of the parking building has been the subject of a Senate inquiry.
The Ombudsman suspension order stressed that its effect is “immediately executory” and “shall not be interrupted within the period prescribed” by any motion, appeal or petition that may be filed by the respondents.
In a press conference on Wednesday, March 11, the Makati mayor said, “I will exhaust all available remedies. I will continue discharging my duties as mayor until all legal remedies have been respected. While I may belong to the opposition, I am still entitled to my rights like any Filipino citizen.”
He also decried what he called “special treatment” against the Binays.
Senator Nancy Binay branded the suspension of her brother as part of the administration party’s alleged demolition job against her father intended to derail his presidential bid in 2016.
The senator tagged the plan “Oplan Nognog,” the alleged plot her father first linked to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, presumed presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party. In 2014, the Vice President said Roxas was behind “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016,” a dirty tricks campaign that sought to shoot down his presidential bid. – Rappler.com