Sandiganbayan dismisses graft case vs ex-Makati Mayor Elenita Binay
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft case filed against former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay in connection with the procurement of overpriced furniture in 1999.
In a resolution last June 10, the Fifth Division said it granted Binay’s demurrer to evidence because the prosecution failed to prove that she violated Section 3(e) of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices by authorizing the purchase of furniture worth P72.06 million.
“In the present case, the Prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused Binay was motivated by malice, gross inexcusable negligence, or evident bad faith in approving the transaction,” the anti-graft court said in the resolution penned by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos.
Binay was allowed to file a demurrer after Sandiganbayan last March 21, based on claims that the prosecution has no strong evidence to convict her.
“After a careful examination and evaluation of the Prosecution’s evidence, and taking into account the Prosecution’s own admission that it had no direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the charge against accused Binay, the Court finds the evidence against accused Binay insufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the Fifth Division said.
“In particular, the Prosecution was not able to present the necessary evidence to prove that accused Binay acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence in awarding the subject contract under PO 9989, through a simulated/rigged public bidding,” they added.
The court also refuted the prosecution’s claims that there was no public bidding for the purchase of the furniture after the defense presented minutes of the bidding as evidence. It was signed by Binay and other local government officials.
“While it is asserted by the Prosecution that no bidding actually took place, the Minutes of the Bidding dated September 17, 1999 (Annex 4 to 4-f of Exhibit B-2) shows otherwise. The Minutes shows that the bidding took place on September 17, 1999,” Sandiganbayan said.
With the decision, bail bonds that Binay posted have been ordered released and returned, while the hold departure order issued for this case was lifted. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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