Ombudsman wants suit filed by VP Binay junked

By Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2015 11:18 AM | Updated as of Aug 14 2015 07:18 PM

MANILA - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is asking the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 133 to dismiss the civil case filed against her by Vice President Jejomar Binay in connection with the Senate investigation on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Binay.

Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said in an interview after the hearing that they argued before Branch 133 Judge Elpidio Calis that the complaint is "baseless and does not have a cause of action."

The Binay camp however countered that the Ombudsman should not have been represented in the first place by lawyers from the Office of the Ombudsman and Office of Solicitor General.

"Personal case ito," said Atty Claro Certeza, who is representing Binay.

Binay earlier filed a P200 million damage suit against two senators, witnesses, and government officials including Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for allegedly issuing damaging and prejudicial statements against him.

Included as respondents in the complaint filed by Atty. Claro Certeza are Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, former Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado, former Makati official Mario Hechanova, former Makati barangay official Renato Bondal, Nicolas Enciso, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, Securities and Exchange Commission chief Teresita J. Herbosa, AMLC officer Julia Abad, Ombudsman Morales, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The case was filed before the Makati City regional trial court.

Binay has accused his enemies of mounting a smear campaign against him ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The vice-president is accused of various corruption allegations including alleged rigging of Makati City building projects and the purchase of large tracts of land in Batangas.

The vice-president has also questioned the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to investigate the allegations, saying the office of the Ombudsman cannot investigate impeachable officials.

Citing Article XI Section 2 of the Constitution, Binay said an impeachable officer, during his incumbency, “cannot be proceeded upon by any criminal action which carries with it the penalty of removal from office, or any penalty the service of which would amount to removal from office.”

The Court of Appeals earlier ordered the freezing of 242 bank deposits and other assets of Binay and his allies, based on a petition by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.