CA affirms 2018 decision clearing ex-mayor Binay Jr. of administrative liability

Published March 21, 2019, 4:41 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Rey Panaligan

The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed its 2018 decision that cleared former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” S. Binay Jr. of administrative liability in the construction of the city’s P2.28 billion parking building.

Former Makati Mayor Jun Jun Binay (FILE PHOTO / Bob Dungo Jr. / MANILA BULLETIN)
Former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. (FILE PHOTO / Bob Dungo Jr. / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Edwin D. Sorongon, the CA stood pat on its finding that Binay Jr. was still covered by the 2010 Supreme Court (SC) decision that reiterated its 1959 condonation doctrine which extinguished the administrative liability of an elective public official once re-elected to the same post.

The resolution denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).

In its 2018 decision, also written by Justice Sorongon, the CA ruled that while the SC abandoned the condonation doctrine in its Nov. 10, 2015 decision, the High Court held that “the abandonment of the doctrine should be prospective in application.”

It cited the SC’s decision which stated that “this Court’s (SC) abandonment of the condonation doctrine should be prospective in application for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.”

“When a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof,” the CA’s ruling stated as it quoted the SC’s decision.

Binay Jr. had invoked the condonation doctrine when he challenged before the CA the ruling of the OMB.

Agreeing with Binay Jr., the CA said the administrative complaint against Binay “pertained to acts which transpired before he was subsequently elected and continued in public office on May 14, 2013.”

“It is uncontroverted that Binay Jr. served as the city mayor of Makati from June 28, 2010, and was re-elected into the same office on May 14, 2013,” it said.

“Verily, based on the foregoing factual circumstances and in line with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court… the abandonment of the condonation doctrine should not be given any retroactive effect as to prejudice Binay Jr. for the acts he allegedly committed when said doctrine was still in effect and duly recognized,” it stressed.

“Considering that the present case was instituted prior to the ruling of the Supreme Court (on Nov. 10, 2015), the condonation doctrine may still be applied,” it added.

The OMB had earlier found Binay Jr. and several city hall officials guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Phases I to V of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II (MCHPB).

It noted that the acts were done by Binay Jr. after his re-election in May 2013 and during his second term, thus, the condonation doctrine has no basis.

On the basis of the CA decision, the OMB filed a motion for reconsideration.

In resolving the OMB’s motion, the CA said:

“While it is true that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carpio-Morales was indeed relative to this Court’s issuance of injunctive reliefs and was not about the OMB’s main findings of administrative guilt against Binay, Jr., it cannot be negated that the abandonment of the condonation doctrine – declared prospective in application by no less than the Supreme Court – should not be given any retroactive effect as to prejudice Binay, Jr. for the acts he allegedly committed when said doctrine was still in effect and duly recognized.

“It also bears stressing that the Supreme Court maintained such prospective application of the abandonment of the condonation doctrine and consistently reiterated such ruling in its subsequent decisions…

“Furthermore, suffice it to state that, as subsequently summarized by the Supreme Court in Carpio-Morales, the ruling in Mayor Garcia v. Mojica, essentially provides that: ‘the determinative time element in applying the condonation doctrine should be the time when the contract was perfected; this meant that as long as the contract was entered into during a prior term, acts which were done to implement the same, even if done during a succeeding term, do not negate the application of the condonation doctrine in favor of the elective official.’”

 
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