Mayor Junjun Binay ordered suspended for six months
MANILA, Philippines–The Office of the Ombudsman has placed under preventive suspension Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay and other officials as they face probe for graft in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati Parking Building.
“OmbudsmanPh preventively suspends Mayor Binay Jr., et al for (six) months, pending investigation of the Makati carpark complaint,” the Ombudsman tweeted Wednesday.
This after the Ombudsman is set to start its preliminary investigation against Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son Mayor Binay and 22 others for malversation, falsification, graft and violation of the procurement law in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building.
The Ombudsman Special Panel of Investigators filed Thursday its complaint against the respondents for the alleged overpricing of the parking building which started construction in 2007 when Vice President Binay was still Makati’s mayor.
The filing of the complaint after months of case build-up and evidence gathering by Ombudsman field investigators paves the way for a preliminary investigation which precedes the finding of probable cause and subsequent indictment.
According to the Ombudsman, the preliminary investigation will look into the alleged irregularities in the procurement and award for the design and architectural services as well as the construction of the parking building built along F. Zobel street.
The complaint said the respondents awarded the P11.9-million contract for the design and architectural services to MANA Architecture and Interior Design Company without public bidding.
It also said that payment for the contract was released to MANA even without the deliverables made.
The first two phases of the construction of the building also proceeded without a detailed engineering plan, contrary to procurement rules, the complaint said.
Meanwhile, Hilmarc Construction, the contractor allegedly behind the overpriced construction, was purportedly awarded with the contract despite irregularities and use of falsified documents, the complaint said.
The complaint also said there were two losing bidders in the contract. But as it turns out, one of the bidders has denied participation while the other is non-existent.
Also included in the complaint are former City Administrator Marjorie de Veyra, City Legal Officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, City Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, former Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) Chief Virginia Hernandez, former City Engineer Mario Badillo, former City Accountant Leonila Querijero, former Acting City Accountant Raydes Pestaño, City Accountant Cecilio Lim III, Acting City Accountant Eleno Mendoza, City Treasurer Nelia Barlis, CPMO Engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO Chief Line Dela Peña, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat Heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Rodel Nayve, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, General Services Department (GSD) OIC Gerardo San Gabriel, GSD staff member Norman Flores, as well as private respondents Orlando Mateo of MANA and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (Hilmarc).
Besides the criminal charges, the respondents except for VP Binay also face administrative raps for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, with the possibility of being suspended from government pending administrative adjudication.
The Ombudsman probe stemmed from a plunder complaint filed by Renato Bondal and Nicholas Enciso VI.
According to the plunder complaint, the construction of the building worth P1.56 billion was overpriced, citing National Statistics Office construction data which estimated the average cost of the building that year at P245.6 million only.
The said overpricing allegation is the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee hearing involving Binay and his son.
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