MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Just two weeks after losing his immunity, former Vice-President Jejomar Binay faces criminal charges at the Sandiganbayan over the allegedly rigged bidding for the design and construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed Thursday four counts of graft, nine counts of falsification of public documents and one count of malversation charge against Binay for awarding the phases 1, 2 and 3 of the construction of the carpark building without proper public bidding.
Meanwhile, his son, former Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay Jr., faces additional two counts of graft and one count of malversation. The younger Binay was already charged with two counts of graft and six counts of falsification for the 4th and 5th phases of the project last February.
Binay Sr., whose six-year term as vice-president ended last June 30, was the mayor of Makati City when the first three phases of the project rolled out in 2007.
Binay Jr. continued the remaining phases of the building construction when he took over his father's position in 2010.
The cases against Binay Sr. involves P11,011,294.77 paid for the architectural design and engineering services of MANA Architecture and Design Company, and P1.486 billion for the construction services of Hilmarc's Construction Company. This includes P386.998 million paid to Hilmarc's for the first phase, P499.357 million for the second phase, and P599.395 million for the third phase.
The charge sheets stated that the graft and malversation cases against the former vice-president partially resulted from certain circumventions in the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Binay Sr. was accused of taking part in manipulating the bid process to ensure the award of the contract to Hilmarc's and MANA. He was the head of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) when the bidding took place in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The Ombudsman's accusations stated that Binay Sr. and other BAC members simulated the bidding by fabricating the "affidavits of publication" which would supposedly invite bidders. They also allegedly falsified the abstract of bids and post-qualification reports, and even came up with fake resolutions which declared Hilmarc's as the lowest bidder.
The Ombudsman also questioned the payments made to involved companies despite deficiencies in the required supporting documents.
Moreover, anomalies were found after the city awarded the project to MANA despite the company's failure to submit the plan and specifications for the building construction, as stated in the contract.
A government special audit earlier said the building was overpriced by P1 billion.
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A total of P375,000 was the recommended bail for Binay Sr., and P100,000 for Binay Jr.
Joey Salgado, the spokesman of the former vice-president, said Binay is ready to face his accusers and clear his name in a fair and impartial hearing.
Salgado said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has long compromised her loyalty to the Constitution and to the public after allowing herself be used for politics.
He said the Ombudsman is showing herself as a protector of the Liberal Party (LP).
The filing of cases, he added, was a "diversionary move" to shield the leader of the LP from the public's anger over the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). This, after several groups filed a plunder case against former President Benigno Aquino III and former Budget Secretary Butch Abad for the creation and implementation of DAP.
"Ngunit para malihis ang galit ng taumbayan sa kanyang mga patron, inatupag ng Ombudsman ang paghahain ng palyadong kaso laban kay dating Vice President Binay. Clearly this is a diversionary move intended to shield her political patrons from public indignation," Salgado said.
"It has been established that the Ombudsman violated due process, Constitutional rights and even its own rules to railroad the filing of the complaint. Her undying loyalty to her LP patrons comes at the expense of accountability and respect for the rule of law."
Binay's camp added the Ombudsman should be ready to account for her actions in the P200-million civil suit pending before the Makati Regional Trial Court.
The said civil suit Binay Sr. filed against he Ombudsman, Senator Antonio Trillanes, Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the Philippine Daily Inquirer allegedly resulted from libel.
A plunder complaint against Binay is still under investigation, the Ombudsman said earlier.
Senator Antonio Trillanes, one of three senators who investigated the charges against Binay in a Senate sub-committee inquiry, said the cases "prove that the Senate investigations we conducted against [Binay] weren't just political."
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Vice-President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, also defended Morales, saying the Ombudsman "has not been selective in the cases she is handling."
She also pointed out that her own party-mates in the LP received the same treatment from the Ombudsman.
"Naging fair ang treatment ng Ombudsman, hindi nagpaapekto sa pulitika," she said.