The same set of justices that was supposed to hear a complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council against the Binays will handle a petition for certiorari filed by embattled Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
The 6th Division where Binay’s plea was raffled off is headed by Associate Justice Jose Reyes with Associate Justices Eduardo Peralta and Francisco Acosta as members.
The 37-year-old mayor is asking the CA to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of an order by the Office of the Ombudsman to preventively suspend him together with several city officials for six-months in connection with the allegedly overpriced construction of Makati City Hall Building 2.
The construction of the building started during the term of the 37-year-old mayor’s father, now Vice President Jejomar Binay, whom he succeeded in 2010.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier ordered Mayor Binay’s suspension, along with several others, in connection with its preliminary investigation of charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for the allegedly anomalous awarding of the contract to build the P2.- billion Building 2.
In his petition with the appellate court, Binay accused the Ombudsman of grave abuse of discretion and “whimsically and capriciously” disregarding and violating laws and jurisprudence.
The younger Binay has been holed up in his City Hall office since Wednesday after the Office of the Ombudsman announced his suspension which was “immediately executory.”
The mayor’s lawyers tried to file a petition to overturn the Ombudsman’s order but they failed to beat the cut-off time for the regular raffle on Thursday. Binay’s petition was raffled off on Friday, with the 7th Division overseeing the proceedings.
A radio report said security was tight at the Makati City Hall with guards posted all over as supporters of the Binay family continue to throng the facility along J.P. Rizal Street.
Joey Salgado, the mayor’s spokesman, said except for the courts whose operations were suspended, it’s business as usual in all offices.
Vice Mayor Romulo Peña late in the afternoon read a message on radio, saying he is just awaiting orders for him to take over the reins at City Hall.
Before that, Binay held a news conference where he claimed that his suspension was part of a plot allegedly hatched by the administration-backed Liberal Party (LP) to replace him with a party member. Peña is a member of the LP.
“They want to suspend me so I won’t be able to complete my term until 2016,” he said.
Binay added that he also learned about an alleged plan to implement a second wave of suspensions, this time targeting members of the City Council who are mostly his allies.
“This is tantamount to discrediting the mandate to serve that was given to us by the people,” he said.
“It is a disservice to the people because you will remove all the city officials elected by the people and replace them with an OIC who is your ally,” Binay added.
He noted that this scheme is a remnant of the Marcos regime.
“It seems that we are returning back to the Marcos dictatorship because during that time, all his political opponents were persecuted,” Binay said.
Binay’s statements were a reiteration of his August 2014 claim that the LP and the Nacionalista Party (NP) are allegedly conniving to suspend him and the entire city council
At the House of Representatives, Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Rep. Edgar Erice accused the Binay family of deliberately breaking the law by snubbing congressional inquiries and defying the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman.
“They said the Senate is not the proper forum, and that the proper forum is the [Office of the] Ombudsman. Now that that Ombudsman has made her move, they say it is still wrong.
What do they really want?,” Erice, chairman of the LP political affairs committee, said.
He was referring to the Binays’ earlier refusal to face an investigation conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
“The City Hall is not their condominium. The City Hall is not for them to use as sleeping quarters,” Erice pointed out.
With Report From Llanesca T. Panti