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Binay hits Ombudsman on ‘conspiracy of mudslinging,’ says COA report ‘not yet final’

/ 02:55 PM March 11, 2016
Binay

UNA Presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay during a campaign sortie motorcade from San Miguel, through San Ildefonso and San Rafael in Bulacan.
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday slammed the Office of the Ombudsman anew for supposedly being part of a “conspiracy of mudslinging,” following the Commission on Audit (COA)’s report that recommended sanctions against him in connection with the allegedly anomalous construction of the P2.8-billion Makati City Hall Building II.

Binay said the COA report was not yet a “finished product” as it was still subject to a motion for reconsideration.

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READ: COA bares raps vs Binay

“Matingkad pa ‘yong demolition by perception. Unang-una na, hinintay nila, iniintay nila ‘yong COA report, kasi ‘yan ang basehan ng kanilang findings. Ngayon, hindi pa naman kumpleto. Hindi pa tapos ang proseso sa COA kasi sabi ng rules sa COA, ‘yong sinasabing report sa COA, report pa lang ‘yon ng panel. Meron pang procedure doon na naghihintay, a motion for reconsideration to the Commission,” Binay told reporters in Rosario, La Union.

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(The demolition by perception is glaring. First of all, they waited for the COA’s report as such is the basis of their findings. But it is not yet complete. The process is not yet finished because according to the COA’s rules, the said report was only produced by the panel. There is another procedure, a motion for reconsideration to the Commission.)

“It’s not the finished product. Pero, as usual, talagang ang Ombudsman ay kasama sa conspiracy ng paninira (But as usual, Ombudsman is really involved in conspiracy of mudslinging). They jumped the gun again. Bale ba naman, the usual thing. Palibhasa, malapit na ang debate. Ito ay siraan na naman (Perhaps it is because the debate is coming soon. I can see mudslinging happening again.),” he said.

The 148-page special audit report against Binay said he was administratively liable for gross misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices in connection with crimes that he allegedly committed while he was still Makati mayor. The report said Binay should be meted out administrative disciplinary action for violation of COA circulars and memoranda as head of procuring entity from 2007 to 2010.

The charges range from removal from office, fines and imprisonment, however, Binay as sitting vice president is immune from suits until he steps aside.

READ: Ombudsman denies leaking COA report against Binay

Binay’s camp earlier accused the Ombudsman of leaking the COA report to the media to supposedly sabotage the opposition leader’s presidential bid amid the official 90-day campaign period.

The Vice President said his camp will respond to COA’s “wrong findings” by filing a motion for reconsideration.

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“Ang kinukwestiyo namin ay unang-una ‘yong Ombudsman. Bakit nagpaparatang na agad sila at nagsasabi sila na may findings na ang COA? Hindi pa naman ‘di ba? Sana naman ‘yong COA [ay] magsalita na, ‘saglit lang. Hindi pa tapos ang proseso kasi ang report namin ay subject to response ng mga nabanggit na pangalan.’ [That’s] number one. Number two, kung ‘yong findings na ‘yon ay hindi maganda, hindi tama, mayroon pang isang proseso. Magpa-file pa kami ng motion for reconsideration. It’s not really a finished product,” he said.

(We are questioning the Ombudsman first and foremost. Why are they suddenly accusing and saying that the COA already has the findings? It’s not yet complete, right? I hope that the COA will speak up on the matter, that their process is not yet complete because the said report is subject to response of the mentioned names. That’s number one. Number two, if the findings are not accurate and correct, there is another process and they will have to file a motion for reconsideration. It’s not really a finished product.)

Binay also slammed COA for its supposed inconsistencies, saying that it should not conduct special audits during the election period.

“Bukod pa riyan, ‘yong COA na ‘yon, napakaraming beses na sinabing walang irregularity. Suddenly, meron nang allegation na hindi naman namin alam kasi hindi pa kami nakakatanggap ng report na ‘yon kasi sasagot pa kami sa report na ‘yon… Number three, kahanga-hanga, we have to congratulate the COA, meron silang nilabas na circular na tigil muna lahat ng imbestigasyon. Wala na munang magsasalita kung ano ang findings and whatever kasi ayaw nilang ma-charge sila ng partisanship. Meron silang circular na ganoon,” he said.

(Aside from that, the COA has repeatedly said that there are no irregularities. Suddenly, there is an allegation which we were not informed as we have yet to receive a copy and answer to the said report. Number three, it is amazing, we have to congratulate the COA, as they have released a circular stopping all the investigations. No one is allowed to speak up on the findings because they don’t want to be charged with partisanship.)

READ: Binay camp hits ‘biased’ COA’ for Makati carpark building report

Meanwhile, United Nationalist Alliance president Toby Tiangco said 11 audits by COA from 2008 to February 2014 “concluded there was no overpricing” in the construction of the controversial parking building.

Tiangco specifically cited the February 2014 technical audit report where resident auditor Ceicila Caga-anan said the construction was “reasonably priced.”

READ: What Went Before: ‘Overpriced’ Makati Science High School

“These COA reports, including one conducted by the agency’s own technical experts, are now being ignored in favor of a fast-tracked supposed special audit report that is tainted by political motives,” Tiangco said.

“Basta Binay paspas ang COA pero hanggang ngayon, wala pa rin ang pinangako nilang COA report sa paggamit ng PDAF ng administrasyong Aquino simula 2010. Halos anim na taon na yan pero ni anino ng report wala tayong nakikita sa COA,” he added.

(The COA is acting swiftly if a matter involves a Binay but until now, there is no COA report on PDAF use of the Aquino administration since 2010. That has been pending for almost six years now and yet they are not showing any report.) RAM

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TAGS: COA, Commission On Audit, Elections 2016, Makati City Hall Building II, Ombudsman, report, Vice President Jejomar Binay
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