Elenita Binay asks court to defer graft, malversation hearings
Former Makati mayor Dr. Elenita Binay has asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to defer all previously scheduled graft and malversation hearings before the court.
Dr. Binay asked the court to defer the proceedings until the Supreme Court resolves her petition for certiorari questioning the Sandiganbayan’s resolutions denying her motion to re-raffle her cases for separate trials and denying her bid to have Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang inhibit from the case.
The wife of former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. filed a motion to defer the proceedings of her malversation and graft cases over the anomalous purchases of hospital beds and sterilizers, as the court scheduled the prosecution’s presentation of evidence on April 19, 20 and May 16, 17.
Dr. Binay however said that she is asking the court to defer the proceedings “in the interest of justice” and “to protect her constitutional rights,” and not “in any way intended to merely delay the proceedings.”
Dr. Binay said that “it will be more prudent to defer the proceedings pending the resolution of the petition for certiorari for orderly proceedings.”
She elevated her appeal to the Supreme Court after the Sandiganbayan Third Division denied her motion to re-raffle the cases for separate trials and her motion to have Presiding Justice Tang inhibit from her case.
In her motion for inhibition, Binay asked Tang to inhibit herself from the case due to questions about her impartiality.
Binay through her lawyers cited an Oct. 13, 2016 hearing when Tang was personally offended when Binay filed an omnibus motion for a re-raffle of the case to hold separate trials.
Binay said she was “astounded” by Tang’s “adverse reaction” that gave the impression she was “personally offended” by the motion for a re-raffle of the consolidated case.
In its resolution, the antigraft court Special Third Division said Binay’s motion for the presiding justice, who chairs the Third Division hearing her case, to inhibit herself was “bereft of merit.”
The court said there was no reason for Tang to inhibit herself from hearing Binay’s four cases of malversation and graft.
Binay, who was mayor from 1998 to 2001, was charged with two counts 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 two counts of malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.
The graft and malversation cases stemmed from 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.
Binay sought Tang’s inhibition from the case following her victory in two other Sandiganbayan divisions.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted her demurrer to evidence in her P21.7-million graft case over the alleged overpricing of furniture for the city hall in 2000.
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division acquitted her of graft in the alleged overprice of P13.25-million purchase of furniture for the city hall in 1999.
Her husband former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. and her son former Makati mayor Jejomar “Jun-Jun” Binay Jr. also face graft, malversation and falsification of public documents charges for their role in the allegedly overpriced Makati car park building when they were Makati mayor.
The court earlier dismissed Binay Sr.’s similar motion for a re-raffle of the case. JE/rga
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