Dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. asked the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division to relieve him the trauma of undergoing trial as he maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman does not have sufficient evidence against him.
Last month, the Ombudsman filed graft and falsification charges against Binay and 13 others at the anti-graft court in connection with the allegedly anomalous bidding and construction of the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall carpark building.
“In the present case, the need to judicially determine probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is undeniably crucial, in view of the manner by which the pieces of evidence of the parties were appreciated by the Ombudsman during the preliminary investigation,” Binay said in a 16-page Omnibus Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause and to Defer the Issuance of Warrants of Arrest.
He noted that the Ombudsman “failed to show that there was reasonable ground to believe that the accused is probably guilty of the crimes charged against him.”
“Interestingly, none of the witnesses could personally attest, nor the attached pieces of evidence could prove, the supposed participation of Accused Binay, Jr. or any overt acts which could be attributed to him. That there is no probable cause to indict him for the crimes charged herein is patent from the circumstances in this case,” he added.
He said that the Ombudsman attributed to him only the signing of bids and awards committee (BAC) resolutions, contracts, notice of awards, summary of cost estimates, individual project programs of work, and disbursement vouchers for phases III to V of the project.
“Certainly, the mere allegation that Accused Binay, Jr. had signed certain documents related to the subject project cannot be sufficient to show that he had acted with any degree of partiality, bad faith or gross negligence. Indubitably, the allegations against Accused are insufficient to support a finding of probable cause against him for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. [Republic Act] 3019,” the former mayor said.
R.A. 3019 is the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“In a desperate attempt to link Accused Binay, Jr. to such ‘falsification,’ the Office of the Ombudsman faults him for having signed or approved the Bids and Awards Committee’s (BAC) Resolutions. However, the giving of approval thereto, is certainly not one of the abovementioned elements of Falsification of Public Documents under Article 171. In fact, regardless of whether or not the BAC Resolutions were approved, the falsification of the Affidavits of Publication could have been consummated without the participation of Accused Binay, Jr.,” he added.
The anti-graft court has yet to determine whether or not there is probable cause to proceed to trial and to issue arrest warrants.