A Makati City court has upheld a P200-million damage suit filed by Vice President Jejomar Binay against several lawmakers and political opponents, saying he has a valid cause of action against his political persecutors for conspiring to destroy his reputation and derail his presidential bid.
In a 40-page Omnibus Order, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 133 Judge Elpidio Calis junked the defendants’ petition to dismiss the case, saying Binay’s complaint states a cause of action against them.
The court ruled that the grounds relied upon by the defendants to dismiss the case are improper.
Named respondents were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th, members of the blue ribbon sub-committee who investigated him for alleged anomalies; Ernesto Mercado and Mario Hechanova, former officials of Makati City; Rep. Edgar Erice, Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso, political opponents of the Binays; Amando Tetangco Jr., Emmanuel Dooc, Teresita Herbosa and Julia Abad, officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC); Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales; and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Binay accused the defendants of conspiring to destroy his reputation and consequently derail his bid for President in the May 2016 elections.
The court order also took to task Morales and AMLC officials for using government lawyers to represent them in the case.
Since they are being sued in their personal capacities for their complicity in the scheme to destroy the reputation of Binay, the court said these officials cannot use government lawyers, who are paid with public funds, to defend them.
In his complaint, Binay alleged that Erice is the group’s talking head while Mercado, Hechanova, Bondal and Enciso acted as paid witnesses who concocted charges of corruption against the Vice President and his family.
Trillanes and Cayetano, Binay said, provided the venue to air these false charges.
On the other hand, according to the Vice President, Morales and AMLC officials provided a veneer of truth to the lies by entertaining the unsubstantiated complaints against him without observing due process.
The Vice President included the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the charge sheet because it acted as the “biased media outlet” that relentlessly bombarded the public with lies and innuendo spewed by the paid witnesses concerning his integrity through malicious and slanted reports.
Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, said the Omnibus Order issued by the court clearly belies the defendants’ contention that the Vice President’s complaint was merely a harassment case.
“VP [Vice President] Binay can now prove what he is saying all along, that the inquisitorial proceedings conducted by his political detractors were all designed simply to destroy his presidential bid,” Certeza noted.