MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Commission on Audit Commissioner Heidi Mendoza testified at the Sandiganbayan today on graft charges filed against former Makati City mayor Dr. Elenita Binay, wife of Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
Mrs. Binay is accused of approving allegedly anomalous contracts worth about P72 million to purchase office furniture for the Makati City Hall in 2000 and 2001.
Mendoza testified the bidding for the furniture had been rigged and that Mrs. Binay had failed to present a floor plan during the bidding.
She said 3 companies - Asia Concept, MFE International and Office Gallery - were able to offer the same prices and items even without the floor plan.
Mendoza said Asia Concept was awarded the contract the next day. It was later found out the 3 companies were owned by the same person.
The prosecution pointed out Mrs. Binay's signature was on the purchase order, voucher and minutes of the bidding.
Mendoza is set to be cross-examined by the defense on November 7.
Meanwhile, the prosecution will present more witnesses versus Mrs. Binay on October 3.
'Shoddy evidence,' says Binay lawyer
In an interview with ANC, Binay’s lawyer Sandra Coronel said they are confident that Mendoza’s allegations will be junked anew by the Sandiganbayan.
“We eagerly await our chance to cross-examine [Mendoza]. We are confident that at the cross-examination, we’ll be able to reveal [as we’ve done before] that the theories she offered are not sufficient to establish [evidence],” she said.
Coronel is referring to the Sandiganbayan second division’s decision in April 2011 that the special audit that Mendoza did was insufficient to pin down Binay. The anti-graft court also noted that the prosecution presented “shoddy” evidence.
Coronel said the same allegations were laid down by Mendoza in the present case.
She said the prosecution’s witnesses also testified, in effect, for Binay. “They established that the [three companies] are owned by different individuals.”
“The earlier findings in the other case are the basis of the [present case],” Coronel said. -- with reports from ANC; Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com