MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the Office of the Ombudsman's indictment of former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay for graft and malversation over the alleged anomalous purchase of hospital beds for the Ospital ng Makati when she was mayor in 2001.
The affirmation of indictment means her criminal trial before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan can continue.
The SC 3rd Division denied Binay's petition that sought to nullify the indictment made by then-ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in 2013.
Binay was earlier cleared by the Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, but when the resolution reached Morales, the then-ombudsman indicted the ex-mayor.
The SC 3rd Division said there was no grave abuse of discretion in what Morales did, saying that the overall deputy ombudsman's initial resolution was not final. All resolutions by the Office of the Ombudsman are approved by the Ombudsman.
"This Court will not interfere with the Office of the Ombudsman's determination of probable cause except when it acted with grave abuse of discretion," the SC 3rd Division said, in a 16-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
Binay was included by Morales in the charges after the former mayor's co-accused filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that Binay was the final approving authority for the disbursement. Binay complained to the SC that she was denied due process at that level.
"Petitioner does not deny that she moved for reconsideration of the assailed August 29, 2013 consolidated resolution. She was given the opportunity to question the decision against her. She was not denied due process," the SC said.
Binay's lawyer Sandra Coronel said they will appeal.
"It is our intention to file a motion for reconsideration and our basis is finality of judgment," Coronel said in a text message to reporters. – Rappler.com