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Graft case report on Binay 'misleading'

  • Written by Cory Martinez
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 2587

THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday clarified that no case has yet been filed against the Vice President, his son Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and 22 others over alleged irregularities in the Makati City Hall Bldg. 2 project. Joey Salgado, media head of the Office of the Vice President (OVP), said the report about a graft case having been filed against Binay et al is “misleading.”
   
“The Ombudsman pr (press release) is misleading. Either they are careless or simply want to create the impression that a case has been filed when such is not the case,” Salgado said.
   
“What the Ombudsman special panel did was to start its preliminary investigation into the allegations which means all parties will be asked to submit their formal comments. It is no different from a preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal’s office,” the OVP official said.
   
For his part, lawyer Rico Quicho, vice presidential spokesperson for political affairs, said the claims against Vice President Binay are unfounded.
   
“While we have not received a copy of the recommendation of the special panel of the Ombudsman, any charge of impropriety against the Vice President regarding the Makati City Hall Building 2 is clearly frivolous and has no basis in fact and in law,” Quicho said.
   
“We are optimistic that the complaint will be ultimately dismissed by a fair and impartial tribunal. This is again a glimpse of how desperate the critics of the Vice President have become in order to fuel their own personal interests. Politics has indeed really turned to its worst form,” the spokesman said.
   
The graft complaint against the Vice President, his son and 22 others are in connection with several alleged irregularities in the procurement and award of the contracts for the design and architectural services and the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building.
   
Aside from alleged graft, the Vice President, his son and their co-respondents were charged with malversation, falsification and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
   
Others who were charged were 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 III, and Acting City Accountant Eleno Mendoza.
   
Also charged were 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) OIC Gerardo San Gabriel, GSD staff member Norman Flores, as well as private respondents Orlando Mateo of MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company (MANA) and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (Hilmarc).
   
Except for Vice President Binay, all the respondents were also charged with administrative cases of Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
   
The Special Panel of Investigators also sought the preventive suspension against the respondents.
   
Based on the complaint, it was alleged that public respondents awarded the P11,974,900 contract for the design/architectural services to MANA without public bidding, and that periodic payments were released to MANA without its corresponding deliverables under the contract.
   
The panel investigators added that the bidding and the construction for Phases I and II (out of five phases) of the carpark building proceeded without a detailed engineering plan from MANA, contrary to procurement laws and regulations.
   
The complaint further alleged that the procurement and award of the construction contract to Hilmarc were marred by irregularities including the use of falsified documents showing the purported publications of Notices to Bid and the supposed participation of two losing bidders, one of which categorically denied participation while the existence of the other cannot be established.