‘Nabubuwisit na ako!’ — Ombudsman Morales to critics
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Wednesday dared her critics to have her impeached if they believe cases lodged against members of the opposition are politically motivated.
In a press conference, Morales also blasted claims that she ordered the preventive suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay because his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, resigned from the Cabinet.
BACKSTORY: Binay quits Aquino Cabinet
“Wala nang ginagawang tama ang Ombudsman! Palagi niyo nang kinukwestiyon. If you feel that I am impeachable if I have done wrong, I welcome it. I will give my position on a silver platter,” a feisty Ombudsman said.
Morales said she was enraged by Binay’s allegations that the investigation on alleged overpriced infrastructure in Makati City when the Vice President was still mayor was driven by politics.
“Nabubuwisit na ako ha, everytime I file cases sasabihin politically motivated. I am apolitical. Wala akong pinapanigan,” (I’m getting fed up. … I don’t favor anyone) she added.
The Ombudsman maintained that the investigation against the Binays were driven by evidence and not by politics.
“Tell me if I have abused my authority. Tell me if I have appeared vindictive. I’ve always decided cases in accordance with the law and evidence,” Morales said.
The Ombudsman has suspended Mayor Binay for six months without pay pending the preliminary investigation over the allegedly overpriced Makati Science Highschool Building.
Mayor Binay, who refused to receive a copy of the suspension order, vacated his post Wednesday pending the appellate court’s decision on his plea for a temporary restraining order and injunction.
Morales welcomed Binay’s decision to leave his post, but lamented that the move was “after the alleged violence, uprising, intimidation and coercion took place.”
The defiance of the younger Binay escalated on Tuesday when some of his supporters attacked policemen escorting department of the interior officials serving the mayor’s suspension order. Binay’s supporters threw monoblock chairs at the lawmen who hid behind metal shields but did not retaliate.
Even Vice President Jejomar Binay got involved when he allegedly confronted Senior Superintendent Elmer Jamias, the ground commander of police units tasked to stop their supporters from entering the city hall on Monday night.
Jamias said Binay said the vice president belittled him and even collared Chief Inspector Gideon Ines for purportedly pushing away Aida Dizon, the sister of his wife Elenita Binay, when she tried to enter City Hall. Ines denied Binay’s claim.
Jamias said he would file charges of physical injury, direct assault on a person of authority, oral defamation and grave threat against the vice president.
According to a special panel of Ombudsman investigators, Mayor Binay and 14 others “mutually aided one another” in the rigging of the procurement and award of the P17.3 million contract for the architectural design and engineering services to favored pre-selected bidder Infiniti Architectural Works from 2007 to 2008.
The respondents were also accused of rigging the contract of another favored bidder Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. for six phases of construction from 2007 to 2014 involving the amounts of P99.631 million, P174.508 million, P149.504 million, P394.140 million, P349.559 million, and P165.264 million, respectively.
Republic Act 6770, or the Ombudsman Act, gives the Ombudsman the power to suspend public officials over administrative charges if the evidence of guilt is strong and involve dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in performance of duty
The Ombudsman can also suspend an official for six months to prevent him from using his or her position to thwart the probe.
The Ombudsman already suspended Mayor Binay on separate charges of overprice in the Makati City Hall Building II on March 11 but it was stalled by the Court of Appeals.
The issue on whether the Ombudsman can suspend a reelected official is pending before the Supreme Court. In that case, Mayor Binay’s lawyers cite the Aguinaldo doctrine, which states that an official may be condoned from charges involving his or her past term following his or her reelection.
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