CA nixes Junjun Binay’s bid to reverse verdict on P1.3-B school building project
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals has affirmed its earlier decision dismissing former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and perpetually barring him from holding public office over the controversial P1.3-billion construction of the Makati Science High School Building.
Binay, in 2017, has been found guilty by the Office of the Ombudsman of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. He was also perpetually disqualified for holding public office.
Last year, the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The former mayor then filed a motion to reconsider a reversal of its ruling.
The younger Binay argued that he did not rig the bidding process for the Phase 6 of the construction of the MSHS building in favor of Hilmarc Construction, saying he acted in good faith and that there was nothing in the bid process that would have made him withhold his signature on the resolution awarding the P166. 85-million contract for the said phase to the company as well as on the notice to commence work, certificate of completion and acceptance and the disbursement vouchers.
Binay further claimed that said good faith negated the element of deceit in dishonesty and the willful violation of the law and of corruption in grave misconduct as he asserted that being the head of Makati City, he had every right to rely on the good faith of his subordinates in the regular performance of their duties.
Citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arias v. Sandiganbayan, he said heads of offices may, in good faith, rely to a certain extent on the acts of their subordinates “who prepare bids, purchase supplies, or enter into negotiations. Said reliance is based upon the recognition that heads of offices cannot be expected to examine every single document relative to government transactions.”
But in dismissing his motion for reconsideration, the appeals court’s Former Eight Division rejected Binay’s arguments, saying his reliance on the Arias doctrine is misplaced.
“The application of the doctrine is subject to the qualification that the public official has no foreknowledge of any facts or circumstances that would prompt him or her to investigate or exercise a greater degree of care. In a number of cases, the Supreme Court refused to apply the Arias doctrine considering that there were circumstances that should have prompted the government official to inquire further,” the appeals court said.
“Indubitably, the case of Arias is not on all fours with Binay, Jr.’s case,’ the appeals court pointed out that Arias is a criminal case for violation of the Anti-Graft Law while Binay’s case is administrative in nature.”
“As conviction in criminal cases could involve deprivation of life or liberty of the accused, proof beyond reasonable doubt must be established by the prosecution, unlike in administrative cases which only require substantial evidence or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion,” the appeals court said.
Further, it said that the acquittal of the accused in Arias was principally based on lack of evidence to link him to his co-accused in the planning, preparation and/or perpetuation of the acts alleged in the information for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The appeals court ruling was penned by Associate Justice Ronaldo Roberto Martin and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Bato, Jr. and Ramon Cruz.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.