Elenita Binay seeks to block ex-councilor's testimony in graft trial

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2017 04:15 PM

Former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay has asked the Sandiganbayan 5th Division to set aside its earlier ruling allowing former city councilor Ernesto Aspillaga to testify as prosecution witness. 

In the motion for reconsideration filed by her lawyers, Binay wants the court to reverse its August 3, 2017 ruling which granted the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration on the discharge of Aspillaga as one of her co-accused in her graft case. 

“Wherefore, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court reconsider and set aside its Resolution dated 3 August 2017, and a new one be rendered,” her lawyers told the court. 

Binay’s camp told the court that the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration, which was earlier granted, be expunged from the records as well as the prosecution's motion to discharge Aspillaga to be utilized as state witness be denied with finality. 

“The prosecution’s motion for reconsideration is a mere scrap of paper which cannot be acted upon by the Honorable Court,” the lawyers said.

The prosecution also noted the importance of Aspillaga’s testimony as he had first-hand knowledge of the supposed rigged bidding as he was the head of the General Services Department of the city government and member of the Bids and Awards Committee. 

Binay, Aspillaga and six others are facing a graft case for the allegedly anomalous purchase of office furniture worth P72 million in 1999 when Binay was serving as Makati City mayor.

Binay has also argued that the proposed testimony of Aspillaga cannot be substantially corroborated and are self-serving. She also asserted that Aspillaga is the most guilty among all of the accused. 

“If the allegations in the affidavit of Aspillaga are to be believed by the Honorable Court, then his discharge becomes all the more unwarranted under Section 17 of Rule 119 he being the most guilty among all of the accused,” her lawyers said.