The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and falsification charges before the Sandiganbayan against dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and 22 other former Makati City officials and employees on Friday over the allegedly anomalous bidding and construction of the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall carpark building from 2011 to 2013.
Earlier, the Ombudsman denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the respondents and maintained its ruling finding sufficient grounds to file charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son, and several others.
The elder Binay, however, was not among those charged on Friday because as an official who may only be removed from office by impeachment, he has immunity from charges which carry the penalty of removal from office.
If he is elected President, the Ombudsman will have to wait for another six years or until he steps down before filing the charges against him.
Facing charges before the Sandiganbayan are the younger Binay, former Makati officials City Administrator Marjorie de Veyra, Legal Officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) Chief Line de la Peña, former City Engineer Mario Badillo, City Treasurer Nelia Barlis, City Accountant Cecilio Lim 3rd, CPMO Civil Engineer Connie Consulta, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat Head Manolito Uyaco, BAC Vice Chairperson Gerardo San Gabriel, Acting City Administrator Eleno Mendoza Jr., and BAC Technical Working Group Chairman Rodel Nayve.
Likewise charged was Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (Hilmarc’s).
Prosecutors intend to present witnesses including its Special Panel of Investigators represented by lawyer Maria Teresa Lee-Rafols, former procurement officer Mario Hechanova, and “Others.”
Also listed among the witnesses were Lyne Alano-Abanilla, who is the Vice President-Classified Advertising of Balita newspaper, as well as Guillermo Domingo, the publisher of Metro Profile newspaper.
The cases have yet to be designated to a division of the court which will then determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to trial and to issue arrest warrants.
The Ombudsman recommended that each respondent post P30,000 bail for their provisional liberty for each count of graft, and P24,000 each for each count of falsification.