The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division on Tuesday issued hold departure orders (HDO) against former Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and 19 others in connection with graft charges over the allegedly anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building 2.
The former Vice President, who lost his immunity from suit after stepping down from office on June 30, and former city officials were barred from leaving the country after the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft, malversation and falsification cases against them last week.
Aside from the Binays, covered by HDOs were former Makati officials Marjorie de Veyra, Pio Kenneth Dasal, Lorenza Amores, Giovanni Condes, Rodel Nayve, Line de la Peña, Arnel Cadangan, Leonila Querijero, Nelia Barlis, Norman Flores, Mario Badillo, Ulysses Orienza, Manolito Uyaco, Emerito Magat, Cecilio Lim 3rd, Virginia Hernandez and Raydes Pestaño.
Private respondents Efren Canlas, identified in the charge sheets as a representative of building contractor Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. and Orlando Mateo, representative of Mana Architectural and Interior Design, Co., were also included.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who heads the court’s Third Division, and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Sarah Jane Fernandez signed the directive.
An HDO bars respondents to a court case from leaving the country without the court’s prior permission.
The Ombudsman alleges that the P2.2-billion parking building did not undergo public bidding, and that four tranches of payments amounting to P11.97 million for Mana were processed and approved despite incomplete submission of deliverables including design plans, working drawings and technical specifications.
Moreover, Makati City officials allegedly colluded with Hilmarc’s to manipulate the outcome of the five public biddings for the purpose of ensuring that Hilmarc’s will be awarded the contracts.
Construction of the allegedly overpriced building began in 2007 when the older Binay was mayor of Makati. The younger Binay replaced him in 2010 but was suspended by the Ombudsman in 2015 over graft charges.
Last week, the older Binay posted bail of P376,000 for 14 criminal charges while the younger Binay posted bail of P100,000 for malversation and two counts of graft.
In a statement, former Binay’s lawyer, Daniel Subido, said the issuance of the HDO was ministerial and that he was confident the charges will be tossed out.
“A Hold-Departure Order is a necessary consequence of the mere filing of an Information in the Sandiganbayan. It is applicable to all,” he said.
“However, it has no bearing at all on the merits of the case. We are confident that these frivolous cases will be dismissed,” Subido said.