The Ombudsman erred in relying on testimony of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado as adequate basis for filing charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay and Makati City officials regarding alleged anomalies in construction of the Makati Science High School Building.
This was stated on Tuesday by Claro Certeza, the legal counsel of Binay, who called “hearsay evidence” and, therefore, inadmissible in a court of law Mercado’s allegation that the late Nelson Morales, former city engineer, had told him that he (Morales) had been ordered by the now Vice President to “fix” the bidding process for the science building.
“The courts do not accept hearsay evidence because there is no way to prove whether it is true or not. Under our judicial system, a witness can only testify on something he has personal knowledge of. In this case, engineer Morales is not around to attest to a statement attributed to him by Mercado,” Certeza said.
The lawyer decried the Ombudsman’s willingness to take Mercado at his word, considering that Morales, whom the former Makati vice mayor alleged as the “source” of the information, had died.
He said even if it were eventually proved that no such order was issued by then-Mayor Binay, Mercado could conveniently claim that he believed that Morales was telling him the truth.
“Based on this and the past actuations of the Ombudsman, it is clearly biased in its investigation of cases involving Vice President Binay,” Certeza added.
The legal counsel recalled that the Ombudsman had rejected the condonation doctrine cited by incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. in questioning his “preventive suspension.”
Recently, however, the Ombudsman dropped charges against another mayor who used the same doctrine as defense, Certeza pointed out.
He noted that under the Constitution, Vice President Binay can only be removed from office through an impeachment process.
The Vice President is yet to undergo the process but the Ombudsman has persisted in its investigation and has filed various charges against Binay, Certeza said.
It appears, he added, that all government branches and agencies controlled by the political foes of the Vice President have been conspiring to stop his presidential bid in 2016.
Certeza said the Vice President wanted to put a stop to today’s destructive politics wherein political rivals resort to character assassination instead of showing the people their own achievements as public servants.
“The Vice President remains unfazed by these dirty political tactics and is intent on running for president. He believes that the people will decide on who to vote for as President on the basis of past achievements and competence, not on hearsay and false accusations of political opponents,” he added.