Binay camp denies threatening Morales with impeachment
THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday denied threatening Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales with impeachment for allegedly pressuring the release of the audit report which found anomalies in the construction of the Makati car park building.
“We categorically deny the claim of Ombudsman Morales that the Vice President has threatened to have her removed from office when he becomes President,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) President Toby Tiangco said in a statement.
“[If elected], President Binay will be too busy helping the poor to even think of this (impeachment of Morales),” Tiangco added.
Morales’ office found probable cause to file graft, malversation and falsification of public document charges against Binay and his son Junjun in connection with the alleged anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
The Ombudsman is an impeachable officer under the Constitution. Congress has the constitutional mandate to remove impeachable officers due to offenses such as culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
Tiangco issued the statement after Morales, in an interview with reporters at Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, accused the Binay camp of threatening her for her alleged role in leaking the Commission on Audit (COA) report.
“I received threats. The threat was passed through a high official from a close and valued ally-politician of the Vice President. So, what did I say? I expect that,” Morales said.
“They said they are going to run after me if the vice president wins as President. Go ahead, I welcome that,” she added.
Morales said the Binay camp should answer the charges instead of resorting to tactics to diminish her credibility.
In reaction, Tiangco made this dare to Morales:
“The Ombudsman said the supposed threat was made by an ally of the VP and not the VP himself. We ask her to name the person who threatened her so that we can legally deal with this person.”
The Binay camp alleged that the Ombudsman is part of the administration’s “demolition by perception” against the vice president.
Look who’s talking
Morales said she is ready to face another suit from the Binay camp, which earlier filed a P200-million damage suit against her, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and several of Binay’s staunchest critics and former allies over the allegations of massive corruption in Makati when Binay was mayor.
“Sinasabi na sa dyaryo e, I’m part of the conspiracy daw, part of the demolition team. Ako ang dine-demolish nila. Questioning, doubting my credibility. Excuse me, credibility ang pinag uusapan, look who’s talking. Again, I keep saying. I will not jeopardize my reputation. Para lang sisirain ang tao? Para masira rin ako. Excuse me, no,” the feisty former Supreme Court justice said.
The Inquirer reported that the COA finished its final special audit report on the P2.8-billion Makati car park building, which started construction when Vice President Binay was Makati mayor and continued to the term of his son Junjun.
The report said the procurement was rigged to award the contract to favored contractors despite deficiencies in documents, and that the contract price was “bloated” to the disadvantage of government.
State auditors said the Vice President is administratively liable for grave misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, as well as for graft and corrupt practices.
The report said Binay should be penalized with removal from office, fines and imprisonment.
It will be recalled that after the Binay camp accused Morales of pressuring auditors to release the report, the Ombudsman retaliated by revealing that the vice president has pleaded to a high-ranking COA official to delay the release of the audit report until after the May 9 elections.
The vice president’s son, who was perpetually barred from office, has been charged with graft and falsification of public documents for the car park building anomaly, and Binay, a leading presidential candidate, would be charged when his immunity expires at the end of his term at noon of June 30 this year. AC
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