Elenita Binay fails in bid to postpone graft trial

MANILA, Philippines – Former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay failed in her bid to postpone her graft and malversation trial before the Sandiganbayan.

In a resolution issued on Tuesday, April 18, the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division chaired by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang denied Binay's motion to defer the proceedings while she runs to the Supreme Court (SC) to get relief.

Binay wants to take up with the SC her argument that her two cases should not be handled by the 3rd Division alone and that Cabotaje-Tang should inhibit from her cases.

The anti-graft court already denied Binay's requests to re-raffle her cases and her motion to inhibit against Cabotaje-Tang. Her last resort was to file a petition for certiorari before the SC.

Binay asked the anti-graft court to defer the proceedings while they wait for the SC to issue a judgment.

No merit

The Sandiganbayan, however, ruled that Binay's urgent motion lacked merit.

Citing the rules of court, the 3rd Division said that unless the SC issues a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction, there's no stopping them from proceeding with hearing her cases.

"Otherwise stated, a petition for certiorari does not divest the lower courts of jurisdiction validly acquired over the case pending before them," the court stated.

Binay is facing two counts of graft and two counts of malversation before the 3rd Division – one set each for the anomalous purchases of hospital beds and sterilizers for the Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) during her term as mayor.

She filed a motion to re-raffle following back-to-back victories from the anti-graft court's 4th and 5th divisions.

The court said the scheduled hearings on May 16 and 17 will proceed as planned, where the prosecution will present their evidence. (READ: No easy ride for Elenita Binay– Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.