Sandiganbayan grants Junjun Binay motion to travel abroad
The Sandiganbayan Third Division has allowed dismissed Makati mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. to travel on a family trip to the United States even as he faces graft, malversation and falsification charges over the alleged overpricing of the Makati car park building.
In its resolution, the anti-graft court Third Division granted Binay Jr.’s travel motion to go to California, New York, and Washington with his children from June 8 to 30.
The court gave the usual conditions, such as the deposit of a travel bond amounting to P608,000.
Since Binay Jr. has not yet withdrawn the P608,000 he earlier deposited for a previous travel, Binay Jr. no longer needs to deposit anew, the court said.
The court said Binay Jr. should only travel within his itinerary and schedule and should present himself before the clerk of court with his passport and documents of his stamps of departure within five days after his return.
If he fails to return to the Philippines, the court said it would deem his absence a waiver of his right to be present in the hearings or trial, which would continue despite his absence.
Earlier, the court in a resolution said there is probable cause to try Binay Jr. for falsification and graft charges over the anomalous construction of the P2.2 billion Makati parking building.
The court said there is basis to proceed with the trial of Binay Jr on six counts of falsification of public documents, noting that the invitation to apply for eligibility and to bid (IAETB) allegedly falsified in the “Balita” newspaper seem to be superimposed on a Sudoku game printed in the same issue of the said newspaper.
As to the probable cause to try him on two counts of graft, the court observed that Binay Jr. approved the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) resolution on the same day it was issued by the BAC on Aug. 2011, and that the contract was awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction even though it failed to post a performance security.
These circumstances, the court said, “only serve to buttress a finding of probable cause.”
Binay Jr.’s first graft case involved the contract for Phase IV of the construction with Hilmarc’s despite the absence of the project’s accepted and approved plans and specifications, as well as the failure of Hilmarc’s to post its performance security.
The former mayor also approved the release of the P649.2 million for the contract to Hilmarc’s even though the accomplishment report was baseless and the supporting documents had deficiencies.
His second graft charge involved the contract for Phase V of the project.
Binay released a P141.6 million payment for the contract to Hilmarc’s even though the accomplishment report was baseless and the supporting documents had deficiencies.
His charges for falsification of public documents stemmed from his alleged role in falsifying a July 7, 2011, issue of “Balita” newspaper as well as an affidavit of publication to make it appear that an invitation to apply for eligibility and to bid was published.
Binay was also accused of falsifying the BAC resolution which said there was an invitation to bid published in a newspaper, there was public bidding, and there was only one bidder (Hilmarc’s), when in fact none took place.
He was also charged with falsifying a publisher’s affidavit pertaining to the publication of an invitation to bid for the construction of the building when in fact the publisher had denied executing such affidavit.
Binay has been ordered dismissed and perpetually barred from public office by the Ombudsman for the administrative offenses of misconduct and dishonesty in connection with the anomalies surrounding the Makati car park building.
On top of the charges, Binay Jr. was a co-accused in the malversation and graft charges of his father former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr.
While Binay Sr. was charged with 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.
Binay Sr. served as Makati mayor from 1988 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010. He was elected vice president in 2010. Binay Jr. was Makati mayor in 2010 until he was dismissed from service in 2015 due to the charges filed against him. JPV/rga
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