Poe weighs in on Binay graft case, says evidence is strong
Sen. Grace Poe took a shot at her closest rival in the presidential race, saying the Commission on Audit (COA) report finding Vice President Jejomar Binay liable for irregularities in the construction of a Makati building was strong evidence against him.
Binay’s camp has denied the allegations, and also hit the COA for concluding that the approval of a supplemental city budget was unlawful.
Asked about the COA report on the alleged irregularity in the approval of a supplemental budget to cover the controversial building and other projects, Poe said: “If this will be the basis of filing a case in court, I think this will be strong evidence.”
“I believe that, as a candidate for president, the allegations must be answered,” she added during a press conference in Malabon City on Thursday night.
In political surveys, Poe and Binay are neck and neck for the lead.
Poe was one of the senators who had signed a Blue Ribbon subcommittee report recommending graft and plunder charges against Binay for the alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall Building 2.
Binay had never appeared before the subcommittee hearing despite numerous invitations.
His camp had criticized the inquiry, saying it was politically motivated and only intended to derail Binay’s candidacy for President.
On the release of the COA report, Poe said it was just right that the results of the Senate probe have equivalent proof from the audit agency.
Binay’s camp criticized the release of the report, saying it was incomplete and was released during the election campaign period which was against regulations.
A special COA audit said the elder Binay father and his son had illegally approved a total of P14 billion as supplemental budgets from 2007 to 2011 for infrastructure projects, including funds to build the controversial P2.8-billion Makati City Hall Building 2.
In a statement yesterday, Binay’s camp maintained that the allocation of Makati City Hall’s supplemental budgets were above board, saying “other local governments do the same without issue.”
“We are puzzled that the COA Special Audit Team is unaware that the Local Government Code allows local governments to enact supplemental budgets,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) communications director Joey Salgado said.
“This is not the first time that Makati has enacted supplemental budgets. And Makati is not the only local government that enacts supplemental budgets. Please explain this, COA,” he said.
He also denied that the Makati 2007 and 2008 statements of receipts and expenditures were bloated by P1.24 billion and P2.3 bullion, respectively, at the time the controversial City Hall Building 2 was finished.
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