Ombudsman suspends Makati Mayor Junjun Binay

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday, March 11, suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr and other city officials in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City building.

Binay, along with other city officials, has been preventively suspended for 6 months without pay while preliminary investigation into one of the contracts is being conducted. The other officials will reportedly include the city treasurer and Bids and Awards Committee members.

@OmbudsmanPh preventively suspends Mayor Binay, Jr., et.al. for 6 months, pending investigation of the Makati carpark complaint. — OmbudsmanPH (@OmbudsmanPh) March 11, 2015

Binay spokesman Joey Salgado said that they have been informed about the suspension. Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco said they were expecting the suspension order today.

The complaint alleges that Makati failed to conduct a public bidding when it awarded the P11.97-million contract for the design and architectural services to MANA. It also alleges that procurement laws were violated when the bidding and construction for Phase I and II of the 5-phase building were bidded out without a detailed engineering plan from MANA.

The special team of investigators that worked on the case for months also allege that some documents used in the procurement and award of the construction contract to Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (Hilmarc's) were falsified.

A check by Rappler showed that Hilmarc's was awarded at least P2 billion ($44.67 million) in government contracts for infrastructure projects in Makati City from 1999 to 2004. The period covered the mayoral terms of Vice President Binay and wife Elenita, who was Makati mayor from 2001 to 2004. (READ: Red flags in 'overpriced' Makati infra projects

The Ombudsman said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will implement the suspension order.

DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II, perceived to be rival of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential election, said he had not seen a copy of the suspension order. 

"Ganunpaman, sa lahat ng bagay gagawin namin ang aming trabaho tulad ng pagpapatupad ng orders mula sa legal authorities tulad ng RTC, Sandigan, CA, Ombudsman, Comelec at iba pa," he said.

(Nevertheless, we will be doing our job, which includes implementing orders from legal authorities, like regional trial courts, Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals, Ombudsman, Comelec, etc.)

"Kailangan natin lahat respetuhin ang batas at mga ka-utusang legal. Walang sinuman, kahit ako, ang mataas sa batas," Roxas said. (We have to respect the law and other lawful orders. Nobody, not even me, is above the law.)

Rappler.com