The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wife, former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, after she entered no plea at her arraignment on Thursday.
Mrs. Binay, a medical doctor, and several other former Makati City officials are facing charges of graft (two counts) and malversation (two counts) in connection with their alleged anomalous purchase of medical equipment and supplies amounting to about P45 million.
Her daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, was present at the reading of the charges.
The arraignment, which has been cancelled twice (in November and last January) because of pending incidents in the case, finally pushed through on February 26.
Read charges were Mrs. Binay who was then Makati Mayor, former General Services Department head Ernesto Aspillaga who was a member of the Committee on Awards, and Luz Yamane-Garcia who was the City Treasurer and also a member of the Awards committee. Their respective lawyers accompanied the three.
After the anti-graft court’s Third Division Clerk of Court, Dennis Pulma, read the charges, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and Third Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang asked the accused how they plea.
“No plea, your honor,” Mrs. Binay said to the last of the four charges read. She likewise did not enter any plea to the first three charges read. Meanwhile, Aspillaga and Garcia entered their respective not guilty pleas to all the charges.
In November 2014, the anti-graft court reset the arraignment to January 29, 2015 after Binay expressed her intention to appeal an earlier resolution of the court setting the arraignment date.
In January, the arraignment was reset anew to February 26 because of pending incidents in the case.