TRO vs Binay suspension 'moot and academic' – Ombudsman
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday, March 17, said the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the suspension of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr is now moot and academic since "there is no more act to be restrained."
The statement echoes the position of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which maintained Monday that Binay remains suspended as mayor since the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals came hours after the suspension order had already been served.
The CA resolution was also issued after Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña had already been sworn in as acting mayor.
Besides, the dispositive portion of the CA resolution was "silent" on what the temporary restrainting order seeks to restrain, Morales said.
"In a Manifestation filed today with the CA, Ombudsman Morales informs the CA that the preventive suspension order on Binay, Jr., et al., had been served and implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) even before the promulgation of the CA Resolution," the Ombudsman said in a statement.
"In the DILG’s Compliance Report submitted by DILG NCR Director Renato Brion to the Ombudsman, the DILG reported that on 16 March 2015 at around 8:30 in the morning, the preventive suspension order was served, and at 9:47 in the morning, Makati Vice-Mayor Romulo V. Peña, Jr. was sworn into office and assumed the position as Acting Makati City Mayor," Morales added.
The Binay camp, meanwhile, maintains that the suspension order is not legal and the TRO is valid.
Strong evidence of guilt
The Ombudsman ordered the preventive suspension of Binay over the case involving the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, which was built in 5 phases.
Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan earlier said there was no undue haste in Binay's suspension.
He also said that a public official being investigated by the Ombudsman may be suspended at any time during the preliminary investigation and upon proper showing of strong evidence of guilt.
The mayor of Makati is being investigated for criminal complaints related to malversation, graft, and violation of the procurement law, as well as administrative charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The complaints stem from a P11.97-million Makati contract covering the design and architectural services for the carpark building. These were allegedly not publicly bid out as required by law.
They also alleged that procurement laws were violated in the first two of 5 phases of the building's construction, as there was no detailed engineering plan.
Binay's legal counsel argues that the mayor may not be suspended since the project started when he was not yet mayor of Makati. Only the last 3 phases were built during his term.
Morales also "denounced" the "alarming practice of suspended public officials encouraging the massing of people who obstruct or hinder the proper exercise of the functions of the Office."
Binay has slammed the suspension order. He said it was politically motivated and was meant to derail the 2016 presidential plans of his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay. – Rappler.com