Binay urges court to block ‘guilty’ Aspillaga testimony in graft trial
Former Makati mayor Elenita Binay has asked the Sandiganbayan to prevent the testimony of her former ally, former Makati City general services department head Ernesto Aspillaga, whom she tagged as the “most guilty” in the alleged sham bidding for the procurement of city hall furniture in 1999.
Binay filed a motion for reconsideration before the anti-graft court Fifth Division seeking to reverse the court’s Aug. 3 decision denying her motion to expunge.
Binay lamented the flipflopping resolutions of the court, whose latest resolution reversed a Dec. 2016 resolution which favored the accused.
Binay said the court should resolve first her motion to expunge, which the court mistakenly lumped with her opposition ad cautelam that was later denied.
She said her motion to expunge should take precedence over the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration (MR), which should not have been granted for being “patently defective.”
Binay maintained that the prosecution’s MR is a “mere scrap of paper” and should be expunged from the records for being “fatally defective” having been heard beyond the 10-day period under the Rules of Court.
She said Aspillaga’s testimony of a “sham bidding” in the Makati city hall under her helm is “immaterial” and “irrelevant” to the allegations, and that it advances the prosecution’s “new theory” this late in the trial proper.
The introduction of Aspillaga’s testimony only validated her position that the prosecution is “uncertain about the theory of their case” in the first place, Binay said.
The case involved the alleged irregular purchase and rigged bidding of P72.06-million worth of furniture for the city hall in 1999.
Binay added that Aspillaga’s allegations — which she said cannot be corroborated by material evidence — that his office has a collection of bidding forms which they fill up to make it appear companies participated in a “sham bidding,” only shows that Aspillaga is the “most guilty among all the accused.”
Binay maintained she had no participation as Makati mayor in the preparation of bidding documents.
“Indeed, accused Aspillaga detailed his participation as head of the General Services Department (GSD) of the city of Makati during the period when the offenses complained of occured… More importantly, the GSD which he heads is in charge of preparing all the bidding documents… He admits that his office has a collection of bidding forms which are filled out to make it appear that supplies competed with a pre-selected supplier in a regular bidding,” Binay said.
“Accused Binay submits that if the allegations in the affidavit of accused Aspillaga are to be believed by the Honorable Court, then his discharge becomes all the more unwarranted under Section 17 of Rule 119, he being the most guilty among all of the accused,” the document read.
The court earlier allowed another former ally now foe Ernesto Mercado to testify in the graft trial of Binay.
Mercado and Aspillaga are former allies of the family of Binay and her husband former vice president Jejomar Binay, who also faces graft and malversation charges over the alleged rigged bidding of the Makati car park building.
The former vice president had also been earlier indicted by the Ombudsman to face fresh charges this time involving alleged rigged bidding in the Makati Science High School. JE
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