Sandigan denies ex-VP Binay’s bid to reraffle Makati carpark case
The Sandiganbayan has denied the bid of former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. to reraffle his graft and malversation cases over the allegedly overpriced Makati car park building.
In a resolution promulgated Jan. 31, the court found no merit in Binay Sr.’s motion seeking to prevent the court from consolidating the latest batch of the “Binay cases” with the previously filed ones.
The court found no merit in the motion to raffle off the latest batch to another division citing the revised rules of the Sandiganbayan requiring the raffle of all cases.
“Accused Binay Sr.’s claim that the consolidation of the instant cases will result in confusion in the presentation and evaluation of evidence and issues is bereft of merit,” the court said.
Binay claimed that his cases could not be consolidated with those of his son dismissed Makati mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. who is also an accused in the Makati car park case, because the charges are separate and distinct.
The court said that while its revised internal rules do not expressly provide for consolidation of unraffled cases with the cases already pending, “there is, similarly, no prohibition.”
The court said it has the discretion to conduct a joint trial, and Binay’s cases have similarities to constitute a joint trial.
“The consolidation of the present cases falls under the definition of a consolidation for trial, where the instant cases would be jointly heard by the Court. Evaluation and examination of evidence and resolution of issues, would however, remain separate and independent,” the court said.
“In fine, accused Binay Sr. failed to present any justifiable reason for this Court to rule that the consolidation (of cases) was invalid and erroneous,” he added.
Binay Sr. was formally charged after he stepped down from his post, and after his defeat in the 2016 presidential elections.
The former vice president Binay Sr. and his son are co-accused in the graft, malversation and falsification of public documents charges in connection with the anomalous construction of the P2.2 billion Makati car park building.
While Binay Sr. was charged for rigging the first three phases of the building when he was Makati mayor, Binay Jr. was charged for phases IV and V of the building when he succeeded his father in the city hall.
According to the prosecution’s charge sheet, Binay Jr. and Sr. face a malversation charge for misappropriating P11.011 million as payment to Mana Architectural and Interior Design (MANA) for the architectural design of the building and dispensing with public bidding to enter into a negotiated contract with MANA.
Binay Sr. also faces four counts of graft for causing injury to government and giving undue advantage to MANA, the winning firm for the architectural design, and Hilmarc’s Construction the firm for the construction of the building which started in 2007.
Binay Sr. and Binay Jr. were charged with one count of graft each for acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence when he awarded the design contract to MANA despite violations of procurement laws and failure to deliver the approved plans and specifications.
Binay Sr. was charged with three more counts of graft for giving undue advantage to Hilmarc’s for the first three phases of construction. Binay Jr. was charged for awarding the contract to Hilmarc’s in connection with the third phase.
The Binays were also charged with falsification of public documents for allegedly falsifying newspaper issues and affidavits of publications to make it appear that invitations to apply for eligibility and to bid (IAETB) were published “when in truth and in fact… said publisher did not do so, and no such IAETB was published.”
Meanwhile, Binay Sr.’s wife former Makati mayor Elenita Binay was acquitted in two of her graft cases before the Sandiganbayan. JE
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