Prosecutors nix Elenita Binay’s move for separate trials
State prosecutors opposed the move of former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, the wife of former Vice President Jejomar Binay, to have separate trials in connection with her malversation and graft cases for the anomalous purchases of hospital beds and sterilizers.
In its comment opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan Third Division, the Office of the Special Prosecutor said Binay’s motion was meant to delay her pending trial.
The prosecution questioned why Binay opposed the consolidation of her cases and raised concerns only now when the cases were raffled way back in 2011.
“It is clear that the only motive in filing this omnibus motion is to delay the proceedings in these cases,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution said Binay’s motion is a subtle attempt to force the court to inhibit from holding trial of the case.
“While the motion was anchored on the alleged re-raffling of the cases, the sought and obvious outcome is to oust the Third Division from hearing these cases,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution added that the consolidation of the cases does not intend to impinge on Binay’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.
On the contrary, it would result in a speedy disposition of the cases, the prosecution added.
The court said in holding separate trials for the graft and malversation, the evidence would have to be marked under different exhibits, and each of the witnesses would have to testify separately on a single document.
“Thus, it will undoubtedly render the presentation of witnesses unnecessarily longer and confusing,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution refuted Binay’s claim that the consolidation of her cases gives the “impression of pre-judgement” to the prejudice of the accused’s right to due process.
The prosecution said Binay’s claim “unfairly casts doubt” on the integrity and probity of the court.
In her motion, Binay asked for her cases to be reraffled so they would be tackled in separate trials.
She lamented that the consolidation of her cases under one court division unfairly creates the impression of “prejudgement” as if the charges create a “pattern.”
“Proceeding with the four unrelated cases together unlawfully shifts the burden on the accused [Binay] to disprove the preconceived ‘pattern’ and the supposed relation between and among the four cases,” the motion read.
Binay, who was mayor from 1998 to 2001, was charged with two counts each of violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to a private party and malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.
The graft and malversation cases stemmed from the alleged irregularities in the procurement of hospital beds worth P36.43 million in 2001 and P8.83 million worth of dry heat sterilizers in 2000 for the Ospital ng Makati.
Meanwhile, her husband also faces graft, malversation and falsification of public documents charges over his role in the allegedly overpriced Makati car park building when he was Makati mayor. RAM/rga
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.