Binay, son face graft raps
Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, will undergo a preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman for the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
A special panel of investigators formed by the Ombudsman has filed a complaint of graft and malversation against the Vice President, the Makati mayor and 22 Makati government officials and private contractors for alleged anomalies in the public bidding and awards process in the car park project.
The special panel of investigators also recommended that the Makati mayor and the other incumbent Makati officials be placed under preventive suspension while they face administrative charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The Vice President was not included in the administrative case.
According to a statement issued by the Ombudsman on Friday, the Vice President, the mayor and the rest of those named in the complaint will be formally investigated for malversation, falsification and violations of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (causing the government or any party undue injury, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits or advantage in government concessions) and the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Joey Salgado, spokesperson for the Vice President and Makati mayor, said: “The Ombudsman PR is misleading. Either they are careless or simply want to create the impression that a case has been filed when such is not the case. What the Ombudsman special panel did was to start its preliminary investigation into allegations, which means all parties will be asked to submit their formal comments. It is no different from a preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal’s office.”
“While we have not received a copy of the recommendation of the special panel of the Ombudsman, any charge of impropriety against the Vice President regarding the Makati City Hall Building II is clearly frivolous and has no basis in fact and in law,” Rico Quicho, Binay’s lawyer and spokesperson, said in a statement.
“We are optimistic that the complaint will be ultimately dismissed by a fair and impartial tribunal. This is again a glimpse of how desperate the critics of the Vice President have become in order to fuel their own personal interests,” Quicho said.
“Politics has indeed really turned to its worst form,” he said.
The Ombudsman’s move against the Binays came following its own investigation into the alleged irregularities in the procurement and awarding of contracts in the construction of Makati City Hall Building II.
The car park construction was also investigated last year by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, which has since pursued other allegedly corrupt and questionable deals involving the older Binay, who has declared that he will run for president in 2016.
The subcommittee’s main witness is former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, an erstwhile Binay ally, who has alleged that Binay collected kickbacks from the car park construction.
The complaint did not mention overpricing and kickbacks in the car park project, as alleged by Mercado.
According to the complaint filed by the Ombudsman special panel, the Binays and other Makati officials awarded an P11.9-million contract for the design and architectural services of the car park project to the MANA Architecture & Interior Design Co. (MANA) group without public bidding.
It said periodic payments were released to MANA without the corresponding deliverables under the contract.
The complaint also alleged that the bidding and the construction for Phases I and II (out of the five phases of the project) of the car park building proceeded without a detailed engineering plan from MANA, contrary to procurement laws and regulations.
The complaint also alleged irregularities in the procurement and award of the construction contract to Hilmarc’s Construction Corp., such as the use of falsified documents to show purported publications of notices to bid and the supposed participation of two other bidders when one of these denied participating in the supposed bidding while the other supposed bidder cannot be found.
The others included in the complaint are former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra, city legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, city budget officer Lorenza Amores, former Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) chief Virginia Hernandez;
Former city engineer Mario Badillo, former city accountant Leonila Querijero, former acting city accountant Raydes Pestaño, city accountant Cecilio Lim III, acting city accountant Eleno Mendoza, city treasurer Nelia Barlis;
CPMO engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO chief Line de la Peña, bids and awards Committee (BAC) secretariat heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, technical working group (TWG) chair Rodel Nayve, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, General Services Department (GSD) OIC Gerardo San Gabriel; and GSD staff member Norman Flores.
Orlando Mateo of MANA and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. were also included in the complaint. With a report from Niña Calleja
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