Sandiganbayan Third Division to handle graft raps vs. Junjun Binay

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Makati City Mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay hears Mass along with his children before Senate representatives arrive to arrest him at Makati City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Binay was cited for contempt after failing to attend several hearings called by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee regarding corruption issues in Makati. (MNS photo)

Makati City Mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay hears Mass along with his children before Senate representatives arrive to arrest him at Makati City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Binay was cited for contempt after failing to attend several hearings called by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee regarding corruption issues in Makati. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The Sandiganbayan Third Division will be handling the graft case filed against dismissed Makati City Mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay and other city officials in connection with the alleged overpriced constuction of the Makati City Hall Building II.

On Friday, the case against Binay and 23 other individuals was raffled off to the division headed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.

Other members of the division are Senior Member Hon. Samuel R. Martires and Junior Member Hon. Sarah Jane T. Fernandez.

On Feb. 19, Binay was formally charged by the Office of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in separate case  information sheets with two counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and six counts of falsification of public documents as defined under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

Other former city officials charged with Binay are:

City administrator Marjorie de Veyra

Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) vice chairperson and General Services Department officer-in-charge Gerardo San Gabriel

City legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal

Makati Budget Officer Lorenza Amores

BAC Secretariat head Manolito Uyaco

BAC Technical Working Group (TWG) chairman Rodel Nayve

Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) chief Line Dela Peña

CPMO civil engineer Connie Consulta

City treasurer Nelia Barlis

City accountant Cecilio Lim III

Acting City administrator Eleno Mendoza Jr.

De Veyra, San Gabriel, Dasal, Amores and Uyaco were charged with Binay for violating RA 3019 and falsification.

On the other hand, Nayve, Dela Peña, Consulta, Barlis, Lim III, Mendoza, and Hilmarc’s Construction Company (Hilmarc’s) employee Efren Canlas were charged for violation of RA 3019.

City engineer Mario Badillo was also named in the charge sheets but was absent on the list of accused presented during the raffle.

Information from the case files said Binay and his co-respondents “conspired” in giving preference and unwarranted benefits to Hilmarc’s by awarding the company the P2.28-billion Makati parking building contract.

Binay and his co-accused were only charged for Phase IV and V or the construction phase of the project. All six phases of the project took place from 2007 to 2013.

Primary witnesses

Makati City engineer Mario Hechanova and Lyne Alano-Abanilla, vice president for advertising of the tabloid Balita, were named by the OSP as primary witnesses for the case.

Earlier reports indicated that Makati City officials allegedly forged Abanilla’s signature in supposed fake certificate of publication stating that an invitation to bid on the project was published in Balita.

The OSP also named Atty. Mario Teresa Lee-Rafols, head of the Ombudsman’s special panel of investigators that conducted a probe on the complaint, as witness in the case.

Bail bonds of P30,000 for each count of graft and P24,000 for each count of falsification of public documents or a total of P204,000 were recommended by the OSP for the respondents’ temporary liberty.

Binay and his co-accused were only charged for the construction phase, or Phase IV and V of the project as the OSP  concluded that all five biddings for these phases were rigged in favor of Hillmarc’s.

The company was declared the sole bidder for the construction contracts because the invitation to bid was never published

Based on case information, Hilmarc’s was paid, through “simulated bidding”, P649.275 million for the Phase IV of the project implement from 2011 to 2012 and another P141.649 million  for the project’s Phase V implemented from 2012 to 2013.

The OSP then said that the BAC conducted evaluations for proposals by other companies with “extraordinary speed” as “for one hour only, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) completed the entire negotiation proceedings where bid proposals of seven architectural firms that allegedly participated in this multi-million project were opened and evaluated.” (MNS)

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