FORMER vice president Jejomar Binay Sr. will seek a reinvestigation after the Office of the Ombudsman indicted him, his son former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and 19 others for graft and falsification over the alleged rigging of the contracts to build the P1.3-billion Makati Science High School Building.
In a statement on Friday, the former vice president’s camp said the Ombudsman violated Binay’s constitutional rights and due process, as he was not given the chance to refute the charges.
“In her haste to indict (the former vice president), the Ombudsman committed the unforgivable act of denying him his right to answer the allegations against him,” Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said.
Salgado noted that the Ombudsman conducted a preliminary investigation against Binay during his term as vice president despite a constitutional prohibition, and that even after his term ended in 2016, the agency “did not bother to get his official reply.”
Binay “will definitely ask for a reinvestigation,” Salgado said.
“This is a clear denial of due process and a violation of constitutional rights. The Ombudsman cannot claim to speak for rights and due process when she herself observes them selectively,” he added.
Salgado said the denial of due process proved the Binay camp’s contention that “even after the Liberal Party has ended its reign, the Ombudsman continues to pursue the game plan against [the former vice president]contained in the yellow playbook.”
Salgado was referring to the color of the erstwhile ruling party led by ex-president Benigno Aquino 3rd, who handpicked former Supreme Court justice Conchita Carpio-Morales to become the Ombudsman in 2011.
“We would also like to stress that the resolutions issued by the Ombudsman Thursday did not find any evidence of alleged overpricing in the construction of Makati Science High School,” Salgado said.
“The indictments merely found alleged violations in the bidding process. These allegations, however, have been answered extensively by former mayor Junjun Binay but the Ombudsman chose to disregard them,” he said.
Also indicted are Makati City Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairmen Marjorie de Veyra and Eleno Mendoza Jr.; BAC members Pio Kenneth Dasal, Lorenza Amores, Ulysess Orienza, Gerardo San Gabriel and Mario Badillo; BAC Secretariat members Giovanni Condes, Manolito Uyaco, Norman Flores and Ralph Liberato; Rodel Nayve who was then of the BAC Technical Working Group; city accountants Leonila Querijero, Cecilio Lim 3rd and Raydes Pestaño; and city cashier Nelia Barlis.
Virginia Garcia of Infiniti Architectural Works, as well as Efren Canlas and Julius Ramos of Hilmarc’s Construction Corp., were likewise indicted.
According to city officials, seven companies were invited to submit proposals for architectural and engineering consultancy services during a negotiation conference on Sept. 18, 2007.
But witnesses from two architectural firms that supposedly participated in the negotiation conference denied that they joined the bid negotiations and submitted proposals, the Ombudsman said.
The chief operating officer of JBros Construction submitted an affidavit “disowning the signatures appearing above the name on the bid documents” he purportedly submitted for the first construction phase.
Investigators also found that the publications of the invitations to bid in phases 1, 2, 4, and 5 were fake.
According to the Ombudsman’s statement, certified true copies of Balita newspaper obtained from the National Library “confirmed” that no such invitations were published.
“Hilmarc’s was placed on higher footing than any potential bidders who, by lack of publication of the [invitation]in newspapers of general circulation and by the limited time of posting in the PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System), City’s website or conspicuous places, were deprived of sufficient chance to participate in the biddings. In fact, no other bidder participated in the public biddings for phases 2, 4, 5 and 6,” the Ombudsman alleged.