Ombudsman dismisses Junjun Binay
THE Office of the Ombudsman on Friday ordered the dismissal and perpetual disqualification from service of suspended Makati City Mayor Erwin Jejomar Binay Jr. for grave misconduct and dishonesty over the construction of a Makati parking building.
In a brief interview, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the order was “immediately effective.”
“There were irregularities in the services and contract for the construction in several phases of the parking building,” she told reporters.
Apart from his disqualification, all of Binay’s benefits from government service are ordered forfeited.
“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 [and] forfeiture of retirement benefits,” she said.
Despite the order’s execution, Binay, son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, may file a motion for reconsideration.
When asked about Mayor Binay’s plan to seek a reelection, Morales declined to comment.
“It’s up to the authorities if he files a COC [certificate of candidacy] and still be honored, that’s no longer my concern,” she said.
In March, the Ombudsman ordered Binay suspended over allegations that the Makati City Hall Building II was overpriced.
A spokesman for the Binay camp said he can still run in the May 9, 2016 elections unless there is a final judgement in his case.
“They want to prevent him [Mayor Binay] from running in the elections but they made a mistake. Mayor Junjun can run and will run in the next elections,” said Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado.
“Look Secretary Butch [Florencio] Abad, he is a member of Liberal Party and he has more than P72 billion involvement in connection with DAP [Disbursement Acceleration Program] but why they didn’t suspend him while [he was] under preliminary investigation,” he added.
“The Ombudsman is being obvious. They rushed the order because Monday is the start of the filing for the COCs for the 2016 elections,” he said. “We have not received a copy of the order. This is a dismissal by press release.”
Binay’s camp maintains that the allegations against him and his father are baseless and politically motivated, and that the allegations of overpricing did not have a factual or leal basis.
The Senate, led by opponents of the vice president, has conducted a protracted investigation into the Binays based on a complaint filed by two former village captains, Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso.
Bondal, who ran but lost to Binay in the last elections, claimed the building is “the most expensive parking building in the entire country.”
The office of the Ombudsman suspended Binay in May and he was replaced by his vice mayor, Romulo Peña Jr.
Last year, the younger Binay exposed the plan of the opposition block to unseat him and members of the city council to pave the way for the designation of Peña, a Liberal Party member, as acting mayor. All incumbent councilors in Makati are party mates of Binay who ran in the 2013 midterm polls under the United Nationalist Alliance.
Binay said that the Senate inquiry was unnecessary because the allegations have already been discredited as baseless by an intensive review made by Commission on Audit in response to a request made by the complainants.
The mayor also said the disputed building was not a parking building but an office building with parking floors. Thus, the description “Makati City Hall Parking Building” supposedly given by the contractor was a “misnomer” and should not be taken literally.
Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte urged the mayor to comply.
“It is incumbent on all parties to abide by the decision and to avail of the legal remedies provided under law,” Valte said.
Binay’s sister, Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, said they will appeal the Ombudsman’s order. With Sandy Araneta