CA ruling voids Binay’s political ban
The Court of Appeals may have just cleared the way for former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay’s return to politics after it voided the Ombudsman’s order which permanently banned him from government service over alleged irregularities in the construction of the P2.3-billion Makati City Hall Building II.
In its May 3 ruling, the appellate court’s 10th Division said the so-called “Aguinaldo doctrine,” which absolves elected officials of administrative liabilities after their reelection, was still “applicable” to Binay’s case even after the Supreme Court abandoned it in 2015.
Landmark SC decision
In that landmark decision which stemmed from the Ombudsman’s earlier order suspending Binay from office for six months, the high tribunal ruled that the condonation doctrine had no legal basis under the 1987 Constitution.
However, the Supreme Court said the cancellation of the principle should be applied prospectively, which means that all elected officials charged for administrative offenses prior to the promulgation of its decision on Nov. 10, 2015, may still invoke the condonation doctrine.
“Indubitably, this court cannot sustain the (Ombudsman) with respect to Binay without utterly disregarding the foregoing pronouncements of the Supreme Court,” read a portion of the appellate court’s resolution which was released on Monday.
“Considering that the present case was instituted prior to the ruling of the Supreme Court… the condonation doctrine may still be applied,” it said.
In addition, the appellate court said Binay was correct when he argued that while he signed the two disbursement vouchers for the construction project after his reelection, the project had been approved during his first term.
“Given the factual circumstances herein and the prevailing jurisprudence, this court holds that the undisputed and subsequent reelection of Binay in the year 2013 is a condonation of his administrative liabilities,” the court stressed.
The decision was penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon and was concurred in by Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Maria Filomena Singh.
Besides absolving Binay, the appellate court also ordered the reinstatement of Makati city hall employees Emerito Magat, Nelia Barlis, Leonila Querijero, Raydes Pestano, Eleno Mendoza and Virginia Hernandez.