MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday, February 19, filed 8 criminal charges against dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr, son of the Vice President, and other city government officials in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building II contract.
Filed before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan were two counts of graft and 6 counts of falsification of documents, stemming from 3 complaints heard by the Ombudsman. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the information on Thursday.
Charged with Binay in all 8 counts are:
Charged with 5 counts of falsification and one count of graft is Manolito Uyaco, BAC secretariat head and Internal Management Control Officer.
Co-accused in both graft charges are:
Rico Quicho, campaign spokesperson of the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay, said the cases filed with the Sandiganbayan showed that the "bias and partiality of the Ombudsman is beyond dispute." He pointed out how the charges against Junjun Binay and the Vice President were timed with significant developments during the election season.
In October 2015, Morales ordered Mayor Binay's dismissal over the alleged overpriced project, perpetually disqualifying him from public office.
Morales said at the time that the "strong evidence" presented during administrative adjudication "remained unrebutted." She cited irregularities in the design and architecture in several phases of the P2.28-billion project, undertaken from 2007 to 2013.
Binay called the Ombudsman's dismissal order “an evil design” of the Aquino administration. (READ: Binay family on Junjun's dismissal: Why is LP so afraid of us?)
The Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of 19 other Makati officials.
On Friday, the Sandiganbayan said it would raffle off the cases next week.
Graft investigation and prosecution officer Anna Isabel Aurellano set the total bail for Binay at P204,000, broken down as follows: P24,000 for each of the 6 counts of falsification, and P30,000 each for the two counts of graft.
"The filing of the case against Mayor Junjun Binay before the Sandiganbayan is simply a procedural consequence of the erroneous and biased resolutions of the Ombudsman," Quicho said.
He said Ombudsman Morales "has played loose with the law and the Constitution in persecuting the Vice President and his family and those in the opposition," while overlooking the accountability of key administration allies in other graft complaints pending with her office.
"It is obvious by now that the release of the Ombudsman orders follows a pattern – from the time the Vice President filed his Certificate of Candicacy up until the release of the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey where the Vice President retained the top slot in presidential preference. These are politically calculated moves which are part of the demolition by perception efforts being waged by the Liberal Party against the Vice President," Quicho said. – Rappler.com