Ombudmans to start probe on City Hall Building anomaly
The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday announced the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. along with other city officials in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
Binay and the city officials have been preventively suspended for six months without pay while preliminary investigation of the building’s contracts is being conducted.
“They are hereby suspended for six months without pay during the pendency of these cases. In case of delay in the disposition of these cases due to the fault, negligence or any cause attributable to respondents, the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension,” the order signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales read.
The order is “immediately executory,” the order said.
The Ombudsman’s office initially made the announcement via the social networking site Twitter.
“@OmbudsmanPh preventively suspends Mayor Binay, Jr., et.al. for 6 months, pending investigation of the Makati carpark complaint,” the Ombudsman’s office said in its Twitter account.
Binay, in a statement, questioned the preventive suspension order (See related story).
Joey Salgado, the mayor’s spokesman, said Binay will not leave his office and would stay there overnight. The mayor’s supporters have also reportedly flocked to the City Hall compound along J. P. Rizal Street to hold a vigil.
Aside from Mayor Binay, also ordered suspended are former City Administrator Marjorie de Veyra, , City Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, City Legal Officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, former City Engineer Mario Badillo, former Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) chief Virginia Hernandez, former acting City Accountant Raydes Pestaño, former City Accountant Leonila Querijero, City Accountant Cecilio Lim 3rd, City Treasurer Nelia Barlis, acting City Accountant Eleno Mendoza, CPMO Engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO chief Line dela Peña, Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, General Services Department Officer-in-Charge Gerardo San Gabriel, Technical Working Group Chairman Rodel Nayve and GSD staffer Norman Flores.
The private respondents include Orlando Mateo of MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation.
Except for Vice President Binay, all would be facing administrative charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, with the possibility of being suspended from government pending administrative adjudication.
A source at the Ombudsman’s office said the order was already sent to and stamped “Received” by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on Wednesday morning, but DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd said he is yet to receive a copy.
Roxas was at Camp Crame in Quezon City in the morning to lead the turnover of 55 vans to Philippine National Police units and stayed in the national police headquarters until afternoon before proceeding to nearby Camp Aguinaldo for a meeting with military officials.
Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay, the suspended mayor’s father, in the 2010 elections.
As DILG secretary, he was designated by the Ombudsman to implement Mayor Binay’s preventive suspension.
The Ombudsman is set to conduct its preliminary investigation against Vice President Binay, Mayor Binay and 22 others for malversation, falsification, graft and violation of the procurement law in connection with the allegedly anomalous Makati City Hall Building 2.
The elder Binay was not included in the suspension order as the Vice President is an impeachable officer.
A special panel of Ombudsman investigators has filed a complaint against the Vice President, Mayor Binay and 22 others for malversation, falsification, graft and violation of the procurement for the alleged overpricing of the building, which started construction in 2007 during the administration of the elder Binay.