Binay slams Ombudsman over 'demolition job'

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

UNA says COA special audit disobeyed protocol


LA UNION, Ilocos - At the first stop of the Ilocandia leg of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) poll campaign, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday gave scathing remarks against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, accusing her of doing a demolition job against him.

The Office of the Ombudsman announced Thursday that it approved the conduct of preliminary investigation against Binay, his son deposed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and 22 others in relation to the allegedly overpriced Makati Parking Building 2.

A special audit team of the Commission on Audit (COA), which looked into the anomaly, crafted a report stating that the P2.8 billion peso building was overpriced and the bidding for it was rigged.

Anomalous transactions allegedly date back to when the Vice President was still the mayor of Makati.

Binay demanded to know why the Ombudsman bothered to include him on the list of those who will be investigated, despite knowing he was immune from suit.

He questioned the timing of the release of the report, which is well into the national campaign period and close to the second presidential debate on March 20.

The Vice President requested COA to remind the Ombudsman that the commission's report is not final yet because the Binay camp has yet to respond to the allegations and file a motion for reconsideration should they see fit.

However, Binay also questioned COA's release of the special audit report which he said was counter to its own circular prohibiting the conduct of special audits on candidates of the 2016 elections.

Asked if he will formalize these complaints, Binay said: "We will see. The story is not finished yet."

As of posting, Binay had left for Agoo, La Union after speaking with his senatorial bets at an assembly in Rosario town.

He will have a closing program in Naguilian town Friday afternoon, with motorcades between stops.

After La Union, Binay will take his campaign to Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Abra, and will also attend the Philippine Military Academy graduation in Baguio City this weekend.

UNA DEFENDS BINAY

Speaking to ANC's "Dateline," UNA President and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco also insisted that the COA did not follow protocol in releasing its special audit report.

"Sa procedure ng COA, kapag mayroong adverse findings, ang pinapadalhan muna ay iyung party involved; in this case, sina [former] Mayor Binay at Vice President Binay. Kasi ang findings po ng COA, appealable iyan sa commission," Tiangco said.

"Ang nakakapagtaka po rito, mas nauna pang nakatanggap ng kopya ang Office of the Ombudsman kaysa sa mga opisyales na dapat magpaliwanag."

Tiangco also pointed out that the Makati parking building had passed 11 regular audits before the special audit branded its construction as "graft-ridden."

He said one of the 11 regular audits contained the assessment of a technical expert saying there was no anomaly in the building.

"Itong special audit, created for the purpose of maybe reversing the 11 audits, ito po ang papakinggan nila. Parang kataka-taka naman iyun," Tiangco said.

UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan also accused the Ombudsman of hiring consultants to allegedly discredit the candidacy of Binay.

READ: Makati parking building most expensive in PH?