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In the Know: ‘Save Makati’ is ‘city’s chief conscience’

/ 01:40 AM July 23, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–Save Makati Movement was launched in November 2006 to “help stop graft and corruption” and push Makati City to “even greater economic progress.”

A coalition of nongovernment organizations, Save Makati Movement was spearheaded by former Makati City Councilor Oscar Ibay, who said the group had an initial membership of 70,000.

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A check with the Securities and Exchange Commission yielded no results for Save Makati Movement.

Ibay said the group, which he said would be “the city’s chief conscience,” would “keep an eye on the local bureaucracy to prevent graft and corruption” as well as help prosecute erring public officials.

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One of the group’s first acts was the filing of graft charges against then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and other city officials for allegedly hiring ghost employees.

At the time, the group said it was also looking at pursuing a P431-million plunder case against Binay for the alleged anomalous purchase of equipment for Ospital ng Makati, and a P231-million case against Binay and his wife, Elenita, for reportedly overpriced furniture for the new City Hall.

A preventive suspension order was later issued by the Ombudsman against Binay days before the May 2007 elections stemming from Ibay’s complaint that Binay had allegedly hired ghost employees. However, his suspension order was later ordered deferred, and Binay went on to win reelection as Makati mayor.

The Sandiganbayan had earlier cleared Mrs. Binay and other city officials of allegations that they purchased overpriced office furniture and fittings for the new City Hall from 1999 to 2001.

But this January, the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor recommended to the Sandiganbayan that former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay be charged anew following a reinvestigation of the cases filed against her.

The cases, which were dropped for lack of evidence in 2011, involve the purchase of overpriced beds for Ospital ng Makati and the alleged overpriced purchase of more than P100 million worth of office partitions and furniture during her term in 1998-2001.

Without public bidding

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The Ombudsman said Elenita Binay and then Makati City Hall general services head Ernesto Aspillaga conspired to favor Office Gallery International Inc. (OGII) in the procurement of panel partitions, accessories and furniture without a public bidding.

OGII was paid P13,253,587.61 for the procurement that was allegedly overpriced by P3,604,377.10.

Elenita Binay has asked the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division to dismiss the cases, saying the prosecution had failed to establish that she violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives, Securities and Exchange Commission website

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TAGS: Elenita Binay, Graft and Corruption, Jejomar Binay, Makati, Oscar Ibay, Save Makati Movement
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