Ombudsman orders Mayor Binay’s dismissal days before election season starts
The Binay camp questioned the Ombudsman’s decision dismissing Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay , saying the timing was suspicious since the filing of certificates of candidacy starts next week.
Lawyer Claro Certeza, the mayor’s counsel, said the Ombudsman’s order was an indirect way of attacking and destroying the credibility of the Binay familys.
Makati City Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, the mayor’s sister, said they already saw this coming and they would not be surprised if their father would be the next target.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales announced the order to dismiss the suspended mayor in connection with a complaint over the allegedly anomalous Makati City Hall Building II project in an ambush interview with reporters on Friday.
The order is immediately executory but Binay may appeal the Ombudsman’s decision.
Certeza, and Rep. Binay, who is also a lawyer, said they will appeal the decision.
The criminal aspect of the complaint is still under preliminary investigation.
The case stemmed from a plunder complaint filed by Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Ombudsman investigators later filed a complaint accusing Vice President Binay, Mayor Binay and 22 others with malversation, falsification, graft and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Morales said Mayor Binay will be dismissed for grave misconduct and dishonesty, as there were “irregularities in the services and contract for the construction in several phases of the parking building.”
The Ombudsman also recommended that the 38-year-old son of Vice President Jejomar
Binay be prohibited from serving in any government position.
“We have promulgated our resolution. I ordered the dismissal of Mayor Binay for grave misconduct and dishonesty. What goes with it is perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits,” Morales said.
She said it is “up to the authorities” if they will allow Binay to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2016 elections.
“It’s up to the authorities if he files a COC and still be honored, that’s no longer my concern,” Morales added.
The mayor was accused of involvement in the allegedly anomalous bidding and construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building 2 that was undertaken from 2007 to 2013.
Also ordered dismissed from government service were Binay’s co-respondents: Marjorie de Veyra, Pio Kenneth Dasal, Lorenza Amores, Virginia Hernandez, Line dela Peña, Mario Badillo, Leonila Querijero, Raydes Pestaño, Nelia Barlis, Cecilio Lim 3rd, Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat, Connie Consulta, Ulysses Orienza, Giovanni Condes, Manolito Uyaco, Gerardo San Gabriel, Eleno Mendoza Jr. and Rodel Nayve.
A statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman said “the strong evidence presented during administrative adjudication remained unrebutted.”
His father’s successor
The younger Binay became Makati City mayor in 2010, succeeding his father who lorded over Makati since 1986.
The younger Binay was groomed by his father to succeed him in politics. Junjun started as chairman of his village’s Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council) and became Makati’s SK federation president and ex-officio member of the city council from 1992 to 2001. He went on to become a city councilor and served three consecutive terms.
In 2010, he ran for mayor as his father sought the vice presidency. Rep. Binay said her brother was supposed to seek reelection in 2016.
The mayor was initially suspended in March in connection with the allegedly anomalous construction of Makati City Hall Building 2 but managed to get a temporary restraining order to stop his suspension.
The Ombudsman issued a second suspension order against Binay in connection with another case involving the construction of the Makati Science High School building. After holding out for a few days in June, the mayor decided to heed the order and was replaced by Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr.
Peña was the running mate of former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in the 2010 elections.
Mercado, a former ally of the Binays, was one of the whistle-blowers in the alleged anomalies involving the Binay family.
Peña refused to comment on the development, saying he wants to read the resolution first.
Malacañang advised Mayor Binay to abide by the dismissal order.
“We respect the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman, being an independent office from the executive. In undertaking its constitutionally-mandated role, it is incumbent on all parties to abide by the decision and to avail of the legal remedies provided under law,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.
Rep. Abigail Binay said should her brother be barred from running in next year’s elections, she will file her candidacy for mayor.
“In a worst case scenario…tatakbo ako [I will run]. If my brother cannot run, I most probably have to run for mayor. I don’t want to run [in 2016]. I don’t want to run for senator, I don’t want to run for Vice President…di ho ako nagpepresinta kasi may isa pang term ang kapatid ko pero kung kinailangan na tumakbo ako dahil hindi puwede ang kapatid ko [I am not presenting myself because my brother can still run for one more term, but if the circumstances call for it, I will be forced to run],”she told reporters.
Binay said since the deadline for the substitution of candidates is on December 10, her brother could still join the race if they get a favorable decision on their appeal.
The Vice President Binay’s spokesman, Joey Salgado, also assailed the Ombudsman’s decision.
“Budget Secretary [Florencio] Abad who is allied with the Liberal Party was also accused of involvement in the illegal disbursement of P72 billion in DAP [Disbursement Acceleration Program] funds yet he was not suspended while undergoing preliminary investigation.
“But Mayor Binay who is from the opposition was immediately suspended and is now being kicked out of service even if the [Court of Appelas] had issued an injunction and even if the Supreme Court is still deliberating on the issue. The Ombudsman is busted.
They’re trying to rush the order because the filing of COCs will start on Monday. The mayor has not even received a copy of the order. It’s a dismissal by press release,” Salgado’s statement said in Filipino.
With Catherine S. Valente, Michael Joe T. DeLizo and Llanesca T. Panti