MANILA — The Sandiganbayan on Friday moved the arraignment of dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, Jr. in his graft and falsification cases after most of the counsels were unable to receive the most recent resolution of the Sandiganbayan.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang ruled to move the arraignment to Nov. 10, 2017 when all of the accused, including former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, Sr., who is also a former Makati city mayor, are expected to enter their plea.
The case arose from the alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall parking building project during the term of the elder Binay as city mayor.
Binay Sr. has been charged with four counts of graft, one count of malversation and nine counts of falsification of public documents, while Binay, Jr. has been charged with two counts of graft and six counts of falsification of public documents.
The Ombudsman has accused the respondents of implementing the project, which was divided into five phases from 2007 to 2013, despite the absence of approved design standards, contract plans, agency cost estimates, detailed engineering and programs of work.
The Ombudsman first filed a case against Binay Jr. in February 2016 for Phases IV and V.
It later filed a complaint against Binay, Sr. in July 2016 for Phases I to III, when his immunity was lifted following the end of his term as vice president.
Binay, Jr.’s legal counsel Joseph Castillo had earlier appealed to move the arraignment to Oct. 20, 2017 as stated in the Sandiganbayan resolution dated Sept. 25, 2017.
However, Tang decided to proceed with the arraignment, saying that, the date in the resolution was an error on the part of the Third Division Clerk of Court.
Tang later ruled for the deferment after the lawyers of the accused revealed that they have not received the 34-page document.
The anti-graft court said that the Binays had the “implicit duty” as the city’s local chief executive and head of procuring entity to check possible collusion or procedural violations of the parking building’s bidding process.
The Sandiganbayan added the Binays’ arguments were only mere rehashes of their motions for judicial determination of probable cause which was dismissed in 2016.
“There are sufficient bases to hold the accused-movants for trial in connection with the alleged commission of the crimes,” the Sandiganbayan resolution said.