Ombudsman dismisses case vs Binay
The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. of allegations that he had amassed unexplained wealth and said that the additional assets had come from campaign contributions and wedding gifts.
In a joint resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman also absolved Binay, the Vice President’s son, of allegations that he had failed to declare some of his wealth in his statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN).
The complaint against Binay alleged that there had been a sharp rise in his SALN from 1998 to 2006, or from P1.124 million to P7.777 million. This was found unusual because his gross compensation from 1998 to 2006 only added up to P4.349 million.
Binay also had no other sources of income and was the only one in his family who was working, it further stated. He also allegedly failed to include in his SALN two motorbikes worth P117,000 and P620,000.
But according to the Office of the Ombudsman, there was no reason to file criminal charges against Binay or initiate forfeiture proceedings against him because the rise in his income was not unusual except in 2004 and 2006.
In those two years, there was an increase in the amount of the cash he held. The agency, however, found his explanation for the increases plausible.
“The increase in income appears steady and unremarkable except in 2004 and 2006 which … is largely attributable to respondent’s cash items. This lends to the plausibility in respondent’s reasoning as said rise in cash items coincided with events that brought about the increase in assets,” it said.
Binay had said that in 2004, he received campaign contributions when he ran for city councilor and there were surplus contributions. He added that he had also sold one of his motorbikes.
In 2006, he got married and received gifts worth P2.77 million as he and his wife pooled their assets together.
Binay had also pointed out that gift-giving is a tradition in the Philippines which is acceptable under the law.
He also contended that he had been receiving salaries and allowances since he was 15 years old as president of the Sangguniang Kabataan in Makati. He added that aside from the income that his parents had set aside for him, he was able to accumulate savings because for a time, his parents had paid for his needs even when he was already an adult.
As for his undeclared motorbikes, Binay said that he did not include these in his SALN because shortly after he bought them, he returned them for resale.
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