The Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file graft and falsification charges at the Sandiganbayan against former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr., former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., and several others for allegedly rigging the 2007 bidding to construct the P1.3-billion Makati Science High School Building.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said the Binays favored a firm named Infiniti Architectural Works for a P17.37-million architectural and engineering consultancy services contract, despite anomalies such as non-posting of the invitation to bid.
The Binays also “rigged” the procurement processes for the building’s construction, which was divided into six phases spread over 2008 to 2013, the Ombudsman claimed.
Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. bagged the deals at a P1.33-billion total net cost.
The former vice president’s spokesman, Joey Salgado, said the charges approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales were “baseless.”
“The Ombudsman has time and again disregarded her agency’s internal rules, due process and constitutional rights to pursue her witch hunt against former vice president Binay and his family. Her recent move comes as no surprise,” he said in a statement.
“The allegations have been answered, but apparently disregarded by the Ombudsman. It once again underscores the selective prosecution of the Binays and the Ombudsman’s tendency to look the other way when other political personalities are involved,” Salgado added.
“Former vice president Jojo Binay and former mayor Junjun are confident that in a fair and impartial trial, they will be able to clear their names and dispute the baseless charges of a patently biased Ombudsman.”
Also facing indictment are 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, as well as Efren Canlas and Julius Ramos of Hilmarc’s Construction, 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.