SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV accused Court of Appeals justices Tuesday of taking a bribe to issue a preliminary injunction against the Office of the Ombudsman to stop it from carrying out the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
“I will not give you any figure right now,” said Trillanes, who would say only that a huge amount of money changed hands.
He added that the justices involved in the decision should pray that Vice President Jejomar Binay, the mayor’s father, wins the presidency in May 2016, or they would face charges.
Earlier this week, the CA’s 6th Division led by Justice Jose Reyes Jr. issued a write of preliminary injunction against the Office of the Ombudsman and the Interior and Local Government Department.
The other members of the division, Justices Francisco Acosta and Eduardo Peralta Jr., concurred.
The appellate court’s order stopped the Ombudsman and the DILG from enforcing the Ombudsman’s March 10 order suspending Binay for six months. They were also directed to preserve and respect the status quo before the issuance of the preventive suspension order.
At the same time, the Makati mayor was ordered to post a P500,000 bond.
Trillanes and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who both have presidential ambitions, have led the investigation against Vice President Binay, who has led all opinion polls for the 2016 presidential race.
Trillanes said there was “nothing to debate” about the suspension, since it was just the ministerial part of the Ombudsman’s job.
He said the mayor was able to get an injunction due to “grease money” from the Binays.
He also potshots at lawyers who will demand to see the evidence.
“The time will come—we will expose them,” Trillanes said.
He also threatened to divulge the identities of those who acted as fronts to give the bribe money.
“Eventually, we will come out with that,” said Trillanes, who said the Binays took advantage of the “pera-pera” system in the country’s justice system.
Trillanes said Vice President Binay was the biggest problem the country will face, calling the Binays a “syndicate family.”
Once Binay becomes President, graft and corrupt involving his family will become more extensive, he said.
“They will abuse and rape the country. At present, they are raping the country and we are showing it to the public. So we need to expose them,” said Trillanes.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales questioned before the Supreme Court the appellate court’s TRO on the suspension of Binay. She cited the Ombudsman’s independence and underscored the importance of enforcing the order.
Trillanes said they are still waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court.
Binay was charged with graft over the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said oral arguments on the case for April 14 after receiving Binay’s comment on the Ombudsman’s petition.
Binay’s lawyers said Morales failed to exhaust all legal remedies when she did not file a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals to question its temporary restraining order.
“Clearly, petitioner (Ombudsman) has miserably failed to show a ‘concrete, compelling and valid reason’ for not availing of the plain, speedy and adequate remedy of a motion for reconsideration before filing the instant petition for certiorari. Such failure of petitioner makes her petition defective and vulnerable to a dismissal,” Binay said.
The mayor also accused the Ombudsman of forum shopping when it elevated the issue to the Supreme Court, even while his petition challenging the preventive suspension order was pending before the Court of Appeals.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday the Ombudsman and the DILG should follow the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the CA on Monday.
After issuing a legal opinion that the earlier TRO was moot and academic, she said the latest order of the appellate court is clearer.
“The resolution of the CA issuing the writ of preliminary injunction clarifies the intent of the earlier TRO on the acts that were subject to restraint. It appears the CA made the clarification precisely because the earlier TRO was subject to several interpretations, given the intervening events which affected its affectivity,” De Lima said, in a text message.
But De Lima said the Ombudsman could still appeal the issuance of the writ before the Supreme Court.
“In the meantime, the party respondents (Ombudsman, DILG) are bound by the CA resolution,” she said.
In Makati, Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. continued acting as mayor, in defiance of the preliminary injunction issued by the appeals court.
Binay on Tuesday urged Peña to respect the CA ruling and go back to work as vice mayor and sign the payroll of city councilors and their staff so they can get their salaries for the past month.
The employees under the Sangguniang Panlungsod expressed dismay over the delay in their salaries.
Peña reportedly returned unsigned two checks to the Treasury Department, one amounting to P927,545.20 for the salaries and allowances of councilors and staff, and the other for P144,500 in allowances for councilors.
He also refused to sign the payroll for the salaries of officials and personnel covering April 1 to April 15, which amounts to P620,410.90.
Binay rejected Pena’s offer for them to sit down and discuss the employees’ salaries.
“There was nothing to talk about. We want to work normally and we are expecting it. He should sign the payroll and he must attend the (city council) session,” he said.
Pena, who is holding his office at the hallway of the old city hall building, was not available for comment. His female staff told members of the media that the vice mayor “is doing his regular routine outside the building.”
Binay said he is also willing to give the Southern Police District ample time to pull out the police personnel deployed to City Hall since March.
But he reminded the PNP that they are using city government facilities without the permission of the city government.