Morales to SC: Don’t stop case vs Binay
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—A defiant Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales defended her decision to suspend Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., warning the Supreme Court that stopping her investigation into alleged corruption in Makati City would create a dangerous precedent that might defeat the campaign for public accountability.
Morales expressed hopes that the court would uphold her suspension order, “otherwise, it’s going to create a floodgate for some respondents to be always assailing the rules of the Ombudsman.”
“The Ombudsman is an independent official. It has filed cases not on account of politics but on account of what we believe are findings of fact that call for the filing of cases in court or for administrative adjudication,” Morales told reporters before the hearing.
Taking questions from magistrates, the retired associate justice of the Supreme Court reiterated that evidence was strong enough to warrant Binay’s suspension over allegations that he had conspired to pad the construction price of the P2.3-billion Makati City Hall Building II.
“There was misconduct, dishonesty, neglect of performance of duty,” Morales told Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr.
The Ombudsman appeared during the high court’s oral arguments on her petition to stop the Court of Appeals from granting Binay’s plea to lift his suspension for 60 days pending his investigation.
Speaking in a sharp tone, Morales reiterated to Velasco that there was enough basis to preventively suspend Binay, citing as an example information her office had gathered on the building’s bidding.
“The document said there were three bidders. But one of them said he never ever participated. The other, we cannot find him in his address. Therefore, the document reflecting three bidders was falsified. That’s strong evidence,” said Morales, taking the podium for about 30 minutes in place of her counsel, acting Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
She asserted how Binay was likely part of a conspiracy to disburse public funds for the project more than a justifiable project price.
“He (Binay) signed contracts. He signed vouchers. You have to collate evidence and you can see that conspiracy was apparent… There appears to be conspiracy,”
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.