MANILA (Mabuhay) – The appellate court on Monday, March 16, temporarily stopped the preventive suspension issued by the Ombudsman against of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
The Court of Appeals Sixth Division issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implementation of Binay’s suspension, the order for which was served by the Department of the Interior and Local Goverment (DILG) just a few hours earlier.
Oral arguments on Binay’s case will be heard on March 30 and 31.
Despite being suspended Monday morning and his vice mayor being sworn in as acting mayor, Binay said he would continue to discharge his duties because he continued to question the legality of the suspension order. He said he would wait for the Court of Appeal’s decision on his motion.
The 6-month suspension order stems from complaints over a P11.97-million Makati contract covering the design and architectural services of a car park building. No public bidding, as required by law, was allegedly conducted.
In his 25-page petition for certiorari, Binay asked the appellate court to issue a TRO on the implementation of the 6-month preventive suspension order. Named respondents are Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and the DILG, which is tasked to implement the suspension order.
In his petition with the CA, Binay said the Office of the Ombudsman acted with grave abuse of discretion when it ordered his preventive suspension even if the evidence of guilt against him is not strong. For that, the Ombudsman violated Section 24 of Republic Act 6770 (the Ombudsman Act) and Administrative Order Number 07 (Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman).
The Ombudsman, however, said that the evidence of Binay’s guilt was strong.
The Department of Interior and Local Government on Monday morning served the suspension order on Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr.
The suspension order was posted at the facade of the Makati City Hall.
Less than two hours after the suspension order was served, Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Peña took his oath as acting city mayor.
The Office of the Ombudsman suspended Mayor Binay and 15 others for six months last March 11 over corruption allegations that the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II was overpriced.
Mayor Binay has since barricaded himself inside the city hall, in defiance of the suspension, with his supporters camped outside.
Tension rose early Monday morning as riot police arrived at Makati City Hall.
The suspension stems from the plunder and graft complaint filed in July last year by lawyer Renato Bondal, a political rival of the Binays.
In his complaint, Bondal claimed the construction of the building was overpriced by P862 million.
Bondal said Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was Makati mayor when the building was constructed in 2007, conspired with his son, Junjun, then a city councilor, some former and current Makati officials, and 10 executives of Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. over the building’s construction.
The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is also looking into the allegations concerning the Makati City Hall Building II as well as other corruption issues involving the Binays.
The Binay camp has repeatedly said that the allegations against them are politically motivated. (MNS)