Sandiganbayan junks Binay’s bid to drop charges in Makati parking bldg mess

Published February 8, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Czarina Nicole O. Ong

The Sandiganbayan Third Division has junked the motion for reconsideration ex abundanti ad cautelam filed by former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay to the court’s August 31 resolution seeking to proceed to trial with his criminal charges in relation to the overpriced P2.2- billion Makati City Hall Parking Building contracts.

Ex abundanti ad cautelam, which is Latin for “out of an abundance of caution,” is usually taken by the court to forestall some perceived risk.

Binay, who is facing nine counts of falsification of public documents, one count of malversation, and four counts of graft, said in his motion that as Head of the Procuring Entity (HOPE), he should not be faulted for any mistakes of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

Back in August, the court ordered that trial be held for the criminal charges of Binay and his son – former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., together with several other Makati City Hall officials. Binay’s son is facing two counts of graft and six counts of falsification of public documents.

The Binays, together with 19 other Makati City officials, reportedly manipulated the bidding in favor of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation and MANA Architecture and Interior Design Co.

Binay said that he merely relied on the acts of his subordinates’ certification, and he was merely performing ministerial duties. He argued that “the facts charged [therein] do not constitute the offenses allegedly committed by [him],” so his charges should be dropped.

But the court was not of the same mind, since it strongly believed that the information filed against Binay Sr. sufficiently allege the “ultimate facts” of falsification of public documents, malversation of public funds, and graft.

“The other issues raised by accused Binay Sr., i.e., his signing of the subject documents are part of his official duties, that the affidavits of publication are public documents which deserve respect, that he did not act with a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong, are clearly not proper subjects of a motion to quash,” the court stated in its 53-page resolution.

“Evidently, these are matters of defenses which are better ventilated and threshed out during the trial,” it added.

Aside from these motions before the anti-graft court, Binay Sr. also has a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court. In light of this, Binay said that his proceedings should be suspended.

However, the court argued otherwise. Since the SC has not issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) regarding the case, there is no reason for them to suspend proceedings.