Sandiganbayan belies ‘external forces’ in ex-VP Binay’s case
The Sandiganbayan has categorically belied being “swayed by external forces” in handling the Makati City Hall car park building cases against former Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr.
The Third Division made this clear after Binay appealed to the court to “not allow itself to be used in the sinister agenda of his political enemies.”
In response to Binay’s remark, the court said: “This court has never been swayed by external forces nor will it ever allow itself to be so swayed or to be used by anyone, much more by the supposed perceived ‘political enemies’ of accused Binay Sr., whom he has not identified and the court is not wont to know.”
It stressed its resolutions finding sufficient basis to put him on trial were “purely based on the court’s objective assessment of the applicable law, provisions of the rules of court and pertinent jurisprudence on the matter vis-a-vis the facts of the case. No more, no less.”
In an 11-page resolution dated April 19, the court sustained its Feb. 5 resolution which denied Binay’s motion to quash the graft, malversation and falsification charges against him.
Binay “failed to raise matters substantially plausible or compelling persuasive” to disprove the court’s finding that the Ombudsman prosecutors were able to sufficiently present the allegations that would merit a full-blown trial, it said.
Binay had also argued that the Sandiganbayan should give way to his pending Supreme Court petition questioning the validity of the Ombudsman’s investigation that took place when he was still an impeachable official.
But the Sandiganbayan said that without a temporary restraining order from the high tribunal, it was “duty-bound to proceed with the trial” of his P1.486 billion bid-rigging cases.
The resolution was penned by presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and concurred in by Associate Justices Bernelito R. Fernandez and Sarah Jane T. Fernandez.
As a longtime mayor of Makati City, Binay was accused of approving the first three phases of the city hall car park’s construction despite alleged irregularities and fraud to make it appear that a public bidding process had taken place.
His son and successor, former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., is facing similar charges for continuing the project’s first few phases and approving the last two.
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