MANILA — The petition filed by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, Jr. seeking to stop his six-month preventive suspension imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) was raffled off to the Court of Appeals’ (CA) Sixth Division on Friday.
The “immediately executory” suspension order against Binay was in connection with the graft and plunder cases filed against Binay before the Ombudsman for the alleged “overpriced” Makati City Hall Building II.
The ponente or writer of the decision in the case is CA Associate Justice Jose Reyes, Jr. and the members of the said CA division are Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Eduardo Peralta.
In his petition, Binay asked for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the order of the Ombudsman and its implementation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
He argued that the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of discretion and violated his rights in its suspension order on a mere complaint for corruption cases filed against him.
He added that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales “whimsically and capriciously disregarded and violated established laws and jurisprudence.”
Binay said that he was suspended even without asking for his counter-affidavit.
He further argued that a Supreme Court (SC) jurisprudence stated that a mere signature or approval appearing on the document is not enough to sustain the charge of conspiracy among public officials and employees.
“To use the words of the Supreme Court, apart from the petitioner’s signature, nothing else of real substance was submitted to show his alleged complicity in the purported crime,” petition said.
Binay also alleged that the case filed against him before the Ombudsman is weak and does not warrant a preventive suspension.
“In this case, however, it is evident that the evidence of guilt is not strong because there is no evidence or factual basis that would sustain the charges against the petitioner as previously discussed,” the petition said.
Binay also argued that the accusation against him of anomaly for the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II involved five construction phases with Phases I and II.
He said that this was undertaken before he was elected as mayor in 2010.
Binay added that only Phases III to V were undertaken during his first term as mayor.
“Undeniably, petitioner cannot be held accountable for any alleged anomaly involving Phase I and Phase II of the project as he was not yet the elected mayor,” the petition said.
As to Phase III to V, which were done during his first term from 2010-2013, Binay said that he cannot be held administratively liable because of his re-election for a second term that rendered the case against him moot and academic on the basis of the “Aguinaldo doctrine” of the SC which pardons previous offenses of any local official.
“While some of the acts attributed to the petitioner were allegedly implemented during his second term as Mayor (2013-2016), the same relates to transactions (Phases III to V) concluded during his first term of office and therefore effectively condoned his administrative liability by his re-election,” the petition stressed.