TWICE in one sentence, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said “it’s not true” that Vice President Jejomar Binay and his mayor-son have been indicted for graft for their alleged participation in the anomalous construction of Makati City Hall Building 2.
Speaking at the sidelines of Monday’s launch of the Office of the Ombudsman’s Integrity Management Program, Morales questioned a newspaper report (not in The Manila Times) that they are already close to indicting the Vice President and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
“It’s not true that the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause, it’s not true,” Morales said.
“Now, whether or not the Special Panel of Investigators found one, we do not know. But it is always the complainant, which means, first the special panel which would reply to the counter-affidavit. So ewan ko, ginawa na nilang [I don’t know, they already made it appear as] gospel truth,” she added.
“E lumabas na sa dyaryo meron na raw . . . so nagulat kami, and in today’s papers na naman [We were caught by surprise when it came out in today’s papers] … so, you know we’re really surprised how the thing came about,” Morales said.
As far as the central office of the Office of the Ombudsman is concerned, according to her, the case filed against the Binays remains pending.
The Manila Times had reported that the special investigation panel of the Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict the Binays.
Where her office is concerned, Morales said, the case remains pending.
“There was no such thing as the Ombudsman finding probable cause. But I understand there was this reply filed by the Special Panel of Investigators or preliminary investigators saying that they found probable cause to hail [the Binays to]court,” she added.
The Ombudman clarified that the probe panel’s findings will just be recommendatory.
“It’s going to be the Ombudsman who will approve or disapprove [their]recommendations,” Morales, a former associate justice of the Supreme Court, said.
The Ombudsman started investigating the Binays after a plunder complaint was filed against them by former Makati City officials Renato Bondal and Nicholas Enciso 6th.
Earlier, the Ombudsman’s Special Panel of Investigators filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman charging the Vice President, Mayor Binay and 22 others of malversation, falsification, violations of the Anti-Graft Law and the Government Procurement Reform Act
The complaint was filed after months of case build-up and evidence-gathering by the special panel composed of field investigators.
Also named respondents in the complaint are former City Administrator Marjorie de Veyra, City Legal Officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, City Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, former Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) chief Virginia Hernandez, former City Engineer Mario Badillo, former City Accountant Leonila Querijero, former acting City Accountant Raydes Pestaño, City Accountant Cecilio Lim 3rd, acting City Accountant Eleno Mendoza, City Treasurer Nelia Barlis, CPMO Engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO chief Line dela Peña, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Rodel Nayve, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, General Services Department (GSD) Officer-in-Charge Gerardo San Gabriel and GSD staff member Norman Flores.
Private respondents Orlando Mateo of MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company (MANA) and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. (Hilmarc) were also included.