Sandiganbayan allows Elenita Binay to contest evidence against her
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has granted former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay’s motion to file a demurrer to evidence, based on doubts that the prosecution has actually produced evidence to prove her guilt on a graft case.
Binay, wife of former Vice President Jejomar Binay and mother of Senator Nancy Binay and Makati Mayor Abby Binay, is accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when she allegedly pushed for the procurement of overpriced furniture items worth P72.06 million in 1999.
In a resolution dated March 12, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said that the court was inclined to grant the accused’s motion because the prosecution supposedly has no strong evidence except the testimony of co-accused Makati City general services department head Ernesto Aspillaga.
“After a thorough consideration of the prosecution’s evidence, both oral and documentary, […] the Court is inclined to grant the accused-movant leave to file demurrer to evidence,” the resolution penned by Fifth Division Chair Associate Justice Rafael Lagos said.
“Moreover, it should be remembered that the prosecution moved to discharge accused Ernesto Aspillaga to be a state witness, however, this was denied by the court […] the prosecution impliedly admitted that there was an absolute necessity for the testimony of Aspillaga and that there was no other direct evidence to prove the culpability of accused Binay,” they added.
In 2017, a special Fifth Division allowed Aspillaga to testify against Binay as a state witness. However, it was reversed in 2018, on grounds that it “cannot be relied upon and just accepted to be the truth.”
With the resolution, Binay is given a non-extendible period of 10 days to file her demurrer, while the prosecution will be given another 10 days to file their comment or oppose to demurrer. /jpv
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