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SEEN AT CASINO: MERCADO MAY BE USING LP FUNDS TO GAMBLE - BINAY


MARCH 8 -Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo
Former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado could be using funds from the Liberal Party (LP) to finance his gambling activities, the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday. Mercado was placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) following his exposé on alleged corruption in the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II that involves the Vice President, who is running for president under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Sen. Nancy Binay said her husband spotted Mercado coming out of the Royce Hotel and Casino in Clark, Pampanga at around 3:30 p.m. last Saturday. She also claimed that his bodyguards were probably from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Former Candaba, Pampanga mayor Jerry Pelayo, who is supporting the candidacy of Vice President Binay, claimed he also saw Mercado at the Widus Hotel and Casino in Clark on Saturday night. “The question that should be asked to him is where does he get his money for gambling? Does it come from the LP funds since his daughter is running in Makati under the LP?” Sen. Binay, daughter of the Vice President, told reporters here yesterday. “If you remember the Oplan Nognog, which was aimed to discredit the Vice President, it is not unlikely,” she said when pressed if she thinks Mercado is getting funds from the administration party. Mercado’s daughter Karla is the running mate of Makati Mayor Kid Peña, who is also an LP member. READ MORE..RELATED Outrage grows on Mercado casino binge; WitnessProtection (WPP) queried...

ALSO: Alphaland’s P100-M damage (libel) suit against Mercado still alive


MARCH 14 -SENATE BLUE RIBBON WITNESS VS BINAY, FORMER MAKATI VICE-MAYOR MERCADO -
The president of property developer Alphaland Corp. has clarified a report appearing in a newspaper regarding the court’s “junking” of a libel suit that officials the company filed against former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado who reportedly made “malicious statements” over Alphaland’s land deal with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) led by Vice President Jejomar Binay. Contrary to the report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled “P100-M suit vs Mercado junked,” Alphaland president Mario Oreta, in a statement, yesterday stressed the damage suit that Alphaland filed against former Mercado “is very much alive.” “In fact, Mercado attempted to have the suit dismissed. However, the Regional Trial Court of Makati City denied Mercado’s motion and ordered Mercado to answer the complaint of Alphaland,” he added. Oreta said what was dismissed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) were the criminal libel complaints filed by top officers of Alphaland against Mercado. READ MORE...

ALSO: Ombudsman’s claim a big lie-VP camp
[A day earlier, Morales, who has been called a “political assassin” of the Liberal Party and the Palace occupant, told the media that “The press release from UNA is a lie. It was the CoA that advised the Office of the Ombudsman months ago that the report was ready and that a copy will be transmitted to the Office by the end of January 2016.”
Citing a “very reliable source,” the Ombudsman said Binay “pleaded to with a CoA official not to release the report until after the elections.”]



MARCH 8 -Morales’ credibility at its lowest — Binay ANGELES, Pampanga — Vice President Jojo Binay yesterday debunked the counter claim of Ombudsman Conchita Caprio-Morales, virtually insinuating that she lied when she told the media that it was not she who had been pressuring an official in the Commission on Audit (CoA) to release the incomplete audit report on the Makati Building II. It was, she claimed, VP Binay who had been pressuring the CoA official not to release the special audit report. A day earlier, Morales, who has been called a “political assassin” of the Liberal Party and the Palace occupant, told the media that “The press release from UNA is a lie. It was the CoA that advised the Office of the Ombudsman months ago that the report was ready and that a copy will be transmitted to the Office by the end of January 2016.” Citing a “very reliable source,” the Ombudsman said Binay “pleaded to with a CoA official not to release the report until after the elections.” Following its failure to transmit the document last January, the Ombudsman said CoA informed its office it will pass on the special audit report on February 22.“Failing that as well, they again advised they will transmit it on March 2. We are still waiting,” the Ombudsman said. But the letter to the CoA from UNA president Toby Tiangco stated that “by their (Ombudsman’s) own statement they have stated that CoA failed to transmit in January, on February 22 and promised to (submit this) on March 2.  “This is clearly proves that the office of the OMB are the ones following up on this matter. How would they come up with the dates if they did not follow up (on the CoA special audit?). Tiangco said. He stressed that “VP Binay never pleaded for CoA not to release the report. What influence does VP Binay have over CoA, when they are all appointees of the Liberal Party Administration.? READ MORE...

ALSO: Roxas twits Binays - 'Makati would have been more progressive'; endorses “Kid” Peña Jr. and Mercado's daughter


MARCH 8 -“In a span of 30 years, if governance were proper and clean, if your money were not stolen, Makati would have gone farther,” LP presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II told about 3,000 supporters who attended an International Women’s Month event at the Makati Coliseum. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file photo
Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II yesterday took a swipe at the Binays at their bailiwick in Makati City, saying the city would have been more progressive had it not been robbed by its officials. The administration bet also made a pitch for the Binays’ rivals who are seeking to end the family’s decades-long rule in the city. Vice President Jejomar Binay served for decades as city mayor, followed by his wife Elenita, and later by son Jejomay Erwin or Junjun. Roxas’ ally Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. took over from Junjun after the latter’s dismissal by the ombudsman on corruption charges. “In a span of 30 years, if governance were proper and clean, if your money were not stolen, Makati would have gone farther,” Roxas told about 3,000 supporters who attended an International Women’s Month event at the Makati Coliseum. “Very young, diligent and competent. While he has not been given an opportunity to be mayor, I hope in the election, you will support him so you can see the quality of leadership of Kid Peña,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, Litmus test: Kid Pena holds biggest bidding under his watch‎ worth P600M...AND Ombudsman files graft charges vs Junjun Binay...ALSO
Junjun Binay posts bail for graft, falsification charges...

ALSO: COA bares raps vs Binay  - BUT SANCTIONS TO TAKE EFFECT AFTER HIS TERM
[The charges concerning crimes that Binay allegedly committed while he was mayor of Makati City carry penalties ranging from removal from office, fines and imprisonment. However, Binay, as a sitting Vice President, is immune from lawsuits and the charges against him can only be prosecuted after he steps aside as VP.]


MARCH 10 -PHOTO CAMPAIGNING IN OLONGAPO Vice President Jejomar Binay woos voters in Olongapo City on Tuesday night. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Commission on Audit (COA) has recommended sanctions against Vice President Jejomar Binay in connection with the alleged anomalous construction of the P2.8-billion Makati City Hall Building II, according to a special audit report. The 148-page report by the 12-member COA team against Binay, who is running for President in the May 9 elections, said the Vice President was administratively liable for grave misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices. The charges concerning crimes that Binay allegedly committed while he was mayor of Makati City carry penalties ranging from removal from office, fines and imprisonment. However, Binay, as a sitting Vice President, is immune from lawsuits and the charges against him can only be prosecuted after he steps aside. The report, a copy of which was secured by the Inquirer, said that Binay should be meted out administrative disciplinary action for violation of COA circulars and memorandums as the head of a procuring entity from 2007 to 2010. Also named in the special audit report, forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman for prosecution, were Binay’s son, Junjun, who has been removed as mayor of Makati in connection with construction irregularities in the city, and 54 former and current officials in the municipality. READ MORE...RELATED,
Pulse: Poe, Binay still at dead heat...

ALSO: UNA blasts CoA, ‘special demolition team’ against Binay


MARCH 11 -UNA interim president Toby Tiangco. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO
Desperate to bring down the survey ratings of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay who, in the latest Pulse Asia surveys, is in a statistical tie with Sen. Grace Poe for the top presidential slot, and with Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas at the near bottom of the survey’s totem poll, the “special demolition” team tasked to destroy the electoral chances of Binay has resurfaced, with the incomplete CoA special audit on the Makati Building ll leaked to selected media reporters, made up mostly of the yellow media, and made it the prime news of the day.  as listed by the AMLC,and it turned out that Binay had only one bank account, with the amount of P1.7 million in it. The CoA report leak was slammed by the Binay camp, led by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) president Toby Tiangco who yesterday warned the CoA that it can be held liable for violating a 2015 resolution and its own rules after it released an incomplete report on Makati City Hall Building II as reported in media. “We have received information that a Public Relations consultant working for the Ombudsman provided copies of the CoA report to select reporters. To this we ask why, if the case against us is strong, would there be any need for underhanded tactics?” he asked. “This project has passed 11 regular audits. It is very clear that the special audit team was created for the “special” purpose of being used as demolition team against VP Binay,” Tiangco bared. At the same time, the lawyer of Mayor Junjun Binay said CoA like the Ombudsman is clearly biased against the Binays and has overstepped its mandate. “If this is true, CoA is clearly biased as it has no authority to determine who is guilty of a crime. Its mandate is merely to audit government expenditures and to determine if the same are allowable,” Claro Certeza, Binay’s counsel, said. “Only the courts can decide whether a person is guilty of a crime,” he added. Certeza said the mayor’s camp has not received a copy of the CoA report. “The commission could be held liable for violating CoA Resolution No. 2015-033 dated September 29, 2015, prohibiting the conduct of special audit against candidates of the 2016 elections,” Tiangco said. The resolution stated that no fraud or special audits should be done between October 12, 2015 to May 9, 2016. “As UNA president, I wrote CoA to request the agency to abide by its own rules. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Mercado may be using LP funds to gamble – Binay


Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo

CLARK, FREEPORT, MARCH 14, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores March 8, 2016 - Former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado could be using funds from the Liberal Party (LP) to finance his gambling activities, the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

Mercado was placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) following his exposé on alleged corruption in the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II that involves the Vice President, who is running for president under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).


NANCY BINAY

Sen. Nancy Binay said her husband spotted Mercado coming out of the Royce Hotel and Casino in Clark, Pampanga at around 3:30 pm last Saturday. She also claimed that his bodyguards were probably from the National Bureau of Investigation(NBI)..

Former Candaba, Pampanga mayor Jerry Pelayo, who is supporting the candidacy of Vice President Binay, claimed he also saw Mercado at the Widus Hotel and Casino in Clark on Saturday night.

“The question that should be asked to him is where does he get his money for gambling? Does it come from the LP funds since his daughter is running in Makati under the LP?” Sen. Binay, daughter of the Vice President, told reporters here yesterday.

“If you remember the Oplan Nognog, which was aimed to discredit the Vice President, it is not unlikely,” she said when pressed if she thinks Mercado is getting funds from the administration party.

Mercado’s daughter Karla is the running mate of Makati Mayor Kid Peña, who is also an LP member.

READ MORE...

When asked to comment on Mercado’s presence at the LP event at the Makati coliseum yesterday, Sen. Binay said in jest, “he needs to be replenished.”

NBI to probe Mercado’s casino hopping UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan yesterday asked the Department of Justice to investigate the reported presence of Mercado in casinos.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it is set to look into the presence of Mercado in two casinos with his supposed NBI escorts from the WPP.

In a text message from Seoul, where he is attending the Korea International Cooperation Agency training program, NBI Director Virgilio Mendez said he already asked the NBI Central Luzon Regional Office (CLRO), led by Director Ricardo Diaz, to explain the incident.

Diaz denied the report, saying none of his operatives in NBI-CLRO escorted anyone in a casino.

“I have a very limited number of agents in CLRO. We will ask around… regarding the identity of the alleged NBI escorts,” Diaz said in his text message, which Mendez shared with the media.


LACSON

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a guest senatorial candidate of UNA, said Mercado should be confined in a safehouse.

“First and foremost, WPP is the one responsible to protect a witness. And since he’s under the WPP, he should really be confined in a safehouse. And he can only move around if this is related to his duty as a witness. That’s clear,” he said in a chance interview at the Royce Hotel and Casino yesterday.

Binay: I’m not pressuring COA Vice President Binay denied yesterday Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ claim that he is pressuring the Commission on Audit (COA) to delay the release of its special report on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II until after the May 9 polls.

“If we compare the ombudsman to a witness, she has a very low credibility. She’s used to telling lies,” Binay told reporters in Filipino after visiting the Foton plant in Clark. – With Janvic Mateo, Edu Punay

--------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Outrage grows on Mercado casino binge; WPP queried Written by Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00


MERCADO

The reported sightings of former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in and out of casinos and even at the Makati City Coliseum during a Liberal Party (LP) campaign rally yesterday had generated outrage and a demand for the government to examine its witness protection program (WPP).

Sen. Nancy Binay tied up his presence at the LP event to Mercado’s need to replenish cash after losing big from his casino binge.

Senator Binay suspects that the LP was funding Mercado’s casino spree as well as the campaign of Mercado’s daughter, Karla, who is the runningmate of LP-backed Makati Mayor Kid Peña who replaced Junjun Binay after he was dismissed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales over the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.

Nancy said the other day she saw Mercado coming out of a casino last March 5 in Pampanga which was the second casino Mercado visited in the same area on that day. Nancy claimed that Mercado lost P300,000 in just 30 minutes of gambling.
Senator Binay said Mercado visited the LP rally at the Makati City Coliseum to “replenish” with LP bigwigs for his gambling money.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has a lot of explaining to do over Mercado’s alleged casion-hopping in Pampanga as he is supposed to be confined in a safehouse, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

READ MORE...

The returning senator who is running “independent” but has been “adopted” by the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) in its senatorial slate, expressed his disgust over the manner in which Mercado, who is under the WPP of the DoJ, is being treated by the government.

Lacson said officials handling the WPP can be held accountable for any apparent violation committed in allowing Mercado to go out of his safehouse and engage in gambling activities.

“The DoJ is responsible, the agency has the mandate to protect a witness. And since he’s under the WPP, he should really be confined in a safehouse. And he can only move around for activities connected to his being a witness. That is very clear. I won’t mince a word,” he said.

Mercado has been placed under the WPP after he testified before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on several alleged wrongdoings of his former political ally, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

His charges has led both the Senate and the Ombudsman into recommending the filing of plunder charges against Binay.
“The WPP has a lot of explaining to do. If he is a high security risk and needed to be secured, I don’t see any business for him to be in a casino, much less somewhere far,” Lacson said.

“I think WPP should really explain. In my knowledge a witness under WPP lives in a safehouse paid for by the national government from the taxes paid by the people,” he said.

“When you are a government witness, you should be a government witness. If WPP is protecting a witness, that protection should be in the spirit of protection. So how can you protect a witness who’s in a casino? Something doesn’t add up,” he added.


PELAYO

Former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo said he would provide unassailable proof that Mercado had a gambling spree at the Widus Hotel and Casino in Pampanga.

Pelayo said he went to the coffee shop in Widus to meet a friend when he bumped into Mercado coming out of the Widus casino.

“He talked to me, he (Mercado) said what happens now, I lost. So I told him it’s time for him to go home,” Pelayo said.
Pelayo confirmed Mercado was flanked by a squad of at least 10 bodyguards from the WPP.

High-roller whistleblower


NANCY BINAY

Senator Binay also called on the Department of Justice to explain how Mercado can gamble in casinos on several occasions despite the fact he should be confined to a safehouse with him being under the WPP.

This, even as the senator shrugged off Mercado’s tirades against her asking her to let his father explain first his involvement in the alleged anomalies in the Makati City government.

“I think out would be better if the DoJ will explain what happened to its investigation on the incident wherein Vice Mayor Mercado was spotted inside a cockfighting arena and if it is going to investigate the latest incident where I personally saw him walking out of a casino in Clark,” Senator Binay told reporters during an interview in the lobby of Royce Hotel and Casino in Clark Freeport Zone in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Last Saturday, around 3:30 in the afternoon, the senator spotted Mercado walking out of the Royce Hotel and Casino after reportedly playing for about thirty minutes in the VIP section of the casino. Mercado reportedly lost about P300,000 there and transferred to another casino.

According to his informant, Pelayo said Mercado played high roller in the casino’s VIP section.

Pelayo said his informants told him Mercado lost heavily in Widus.

Senator Binay questioned the way Mercado freely moves when he is supposed to be in a secured place having been placed under WPP.

Protected witnesses are supposed to be witnesses whose lives are in danger due to the sensitivity of their testimonies and the social status of the people they are testifying against.

Mercado had been accepted in the WPP after he testified against the senator’s father, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee over allegations of anomalies in the Makati City government.

Mercado, who claimed he fear retribution from the elder Binay, accused the vice president of large-scale anomalies during his stint as Makati City Mayor in the longest-running Senate inquiry without even producing any evidence to substantiate his allegations.

“He (Mercado) didn’t deny I saw him walking out of a casino. If he is not hiding anything, why just he doesn’t answer if I really saw him or not,” said the lawmaker.

“And he was with his security escorts. I am just not sure whether they are armed or not. But if they are, could they be then violating the gun ban as imposed by the Comelec (Commission on Elections)?” she added.

“As far as I know, WPP has set the parameters in what a witness under the program could do or not do. And that is the reason some witnesses under the program opted out as their movements are being restrained, they could not even work,” said Binay.

“In fact, during the last Senate hearing, Vice Mercado was almost in tears as he lamented how his life had become miserable since he was placed under the WPP. He claimed it had been affecting his livelihood as he can no longer work,” said Senator Binay.
Charlie V. Manalo


TRIBUNE

Alphaland’s P100-M damage suit against Mercado still alive Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 14 March 2016 00:00


MERCADO

The president of property developer Alphaland Corp. has clarified a report appearing in a newspaper regarding the court’s “junking” of a libel suit that officials the company filed against former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado who reportedly made “malicious statements” over Alphaland’s land deal with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Contrary to the report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled “P100-M suit vs Mercado junked,” Alphaland president Mario Oreta, in a statement, yesterday stressed the damage suit that Alphaland filed against former Mercado “is very much alive.”

“In fact, Mercado attempted to have the suit dismissed. However, the Regional Trial Court of Makati City denied Mercado’s motion and ordered Mercado to answer the complaint of Alphaland,” he added.

Oreta said what was dismissed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) were the criminal libel complaints filed by top officers of Alphaland against Mercado.

READ MORE...

“On this matter, contrary to the usual process, the Department of Justice (then under the leadership of senatorial candidate Leila de Lima) took the criminal cases from the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office and assigned an acting Makati City Prosecutor to handle the case even if there was an incumbent Makati City Prosecutor already,” he lamented.

According to Oreta, it was this acting Makati City prosecutor designated by former Justice Secretary De Lima who dismissed the criminal libel complaints.

He stressed concerned Alphaland officials will elevate the matter to Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas.

The BSP-Alphaland sale, among others, has been the subject of investigation by the Senate blue ribbon committee wherein Mercado testified that the Vice President got hold of more than P650 million as kickbacks from the transaction.

But the Alphaland group has maintained the the deal was aboveboard and transparent.


TRIBUNE

Ombudsman’s claim a big lie-VP camp Written by Charlie V. Manalo Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00


Morales’ credibility at its lowest — Binay

ANGELES, Pampanga — Vice President Jojo Binay yesterday debunked the counter claim of Ombudsman Conchita Caprio-Morales, virtually insinuating that she lied when she told the media that it was not she who had been pressuring an official in the Commission on Audit (CoA) to release the incomplete audit report on the Makati Building II.

It was, she claimed, VP Binay who had been pressuring the CoA official not to release the special audit report.

A day earlier, Morales, who has been called a “political assassin” of the Liberal Party and the Palace occupant, told the media that “The press release from UNA is a lie.

It was the CoA that advised the Office of the Ombudsman months ago that the report was ready and that a copy will be transmitted to the Office by the end of January 2016.”

Citing a “very reliable source,” the Ombudsman said Binay “pleaded to with a CoA official not to release the report until after the elections.”

Following its failure to transmit the document last January, the Ombudsman said CoA informed its office it will pass on the special audit report on February 22.

“Failing that as well, they again advised they will transmit it on March 2. We are still waiting,” the Ombudsman said.

But the letter to the CoA from UNA president Toby Tiangco stated that “by their (Ombudsman’s) own statement they have stated that CoA failed to transmit in January, on February 22 and promised to (submit this) on March 2.


TIANGCO

“This is clearly proves that the office of the OMB are the ones following up on this matter. How would they come up with the dates if they did not follow up (on the CoA special audit?). Tiangco said.

He stressed that “VP Binay never pleaded for CoA not to release the report. What influence does VP Binay have over CoA, when they are all appointees of the Liberal Party Administration.?

READ MORE...

Said Tiangco: “The truth is that I wrote a letter (herewith attached) dated Feb. 21,2016 for strict adherence to CoA Resolution No 2015-033 dated Sept 29,2015 Subject : Suspending the creation of fraud/special audit teams and the conduct of fraud/special audits from October 12, 2015 to May 9, 2016 (herewith attached) wherein CoA stated that ‘WHEREAS, it is necessary for the Commission on Audit, as an independent constitutional body, to uphold its political neutrality by implementing measures aimed at preventing opportunities and circumstances that may impair the independence, neutrality and professionalism of the Commission, its officers and employees;’

“So there is no secret follow up as claimed by the Ombudsman but an official letter from UNA that the Resolution must be applied equally to all candidates even if those who are part of the opposition.

“The question that the Ombudsman has to answer is why up to now the high ranking officials of Congress who are members of the Liberal Party, named in the August 14,2013 CoA Special Audit Repot on PDAF, have not yet been filed with plunder?


Budget chief Abad slapped with plunder complaint INQUIRER FILE Tetch Torres-Tupas  July 8th, 2014

“Why are there still no plunder cases filed against Butch Abad for the DAP?

Binay, in debunking the Ombudsman’s claim, declared that the credibility of Morales and her office are now now at their lowest ebb.

Interviewed during a lull in his campaign sortie in Pampanga, Binay not only denied the Ombudsman’s statement he was pressuring the CoA to release its audit findings which would implicate him in the alleged gross overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building ll. Binay also implied the Chief anti-graft investigator is an expert in prevaricating.

“If we are to liken her to a witness, the credibility of the Ombudsman is very low,” said Binay.

“She is really very used in not telling the truth,” Binay said,

The Vice President made the pronouncement in reaction to the claim of the Ombudsman the statement released by UNA president, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco was a lie, saying that contrary to Tiangco’s claim, it was CoA that had “advised the Office of the Ombudsman months ago that the (Makati City Hall Building ll audit report was ready and that a copy will be transmitted to the Office by end of January 2016.

The Ombudsman, in a statement claimed that according to her source, VP Binay pleaded with a CoA official not to release the report until after the elections.

“After failing to transmit in January 2016. CoA again informed us that they (CoA) will transmit it on February 22. Failing that as well, they again advised they will transmit it on March 2. We are still waiting,” the Ombudsman’s statement continued.

However, the claim of the Ombudsman defies logic as Binay need not to pressure the CoA from withholding the release of its report as by doing so, CoA would violate its own policy that no special audits should be done against candidates running for the May elections.

“It will also be in direct contravention of CoA resolution 2015-033 dated Sept 29, 2015 prohibiting the conduct of special audit against candidates of the 2016 elections,” Tiangco said.

Citing CoA insiders, Tiangco said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales personally called up a ranking CoA official prior to her trip abroad demanding that the audit report should be released immediately.

This, according to Tiangco, is aimed derailing Binay’s candidacy.

“We have been informed that the Ombudsman has been personally calling up CoA officials telling them to transmit to her office its special audit report on Makati Building ll even if the report does not include the replies or comments of City Hall officials,” Tiangco said.

“In so doing, the Ombudsman wants CoA to effectively discard the findings of 11 audits, including one conducted by technical specialists, which concluded there was no overpricing and that the said project complied with CoA regulations,” Tiangco added.

Ombudsman Morales has been known to try to derail the VP Binay’s bid to win the presidency, and has even gone to the extent of announcing that she had investigated Binay and his son and that charges of graft would be filed against them.

However, despite her announcement that the VP is guilty of graft and malversation even before indicting him , even before the CoA special audit report had not been finished, she already announced the results of the investigation, but added that, as VP Binay is an impeachable official, he cannot be charged until his term ends.

This was announced by the Ombudsman, timed with the official fling of the candidacy when Binay and his son were filing their CoCs.

It was an announcement intended to derail the candidacy of the VP.

Morales also dismissed the VP’s son, Junjun Binay as Makati City mayor, disqualifying him from holding office perpetually, despite the fact that she is not empowered to dismiss officials from holding office on a perpetual basis. It is the courts that decide such cases.

She then filed carges of graft, malversation and so many counts of falsying documents despite the fact that the Supreme Court, in its ruling on a Court of Appeals regarding the grant of a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of Junjun Binay against the Ombudsman’s suspension order, declaring that while the condonation doctrine, which absolves an government official of his administrative offenses, after being reelected to the same position, can avail himself of the condonation doctrine, as it is prospective. Future cases of reelected government officials after the case of Binay Jr., the condonation doctrine can no longer be applied.

Yet the Ombudsman defied the ruling of the Supreme Court and filed a case of malversation, graft and falsification charges against Binay Jr.


PHILSTAR

Makati would have been more progressive – Mar By Alexis Romero and Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 8, 2016 - 12:00am 5 37 googleplus0 0


“In a span of 30 years, if governance were proper and clean, if your money were not stolen, Makati would have gone farther,” LP presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II told about 3,000 supporters who attended an International Women’s Month event at the Makati Coliseum. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file photo

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II yesterday took a swipe at the Binays at their bailiwick in Makati City, saying the city would have been more progressive had it not been robbed by its officials.

The administration bet also made a pitch for the Binays’ rivals who are seeking to end the family’s decades-long rule in the city.

Vice President Jejomar Binay served for decades as city mayor, followed by his wife Elenita, and later by son Jejomay Erwin or Junjun. Roxas’ ally Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. took over from Junjun after the latter’s dismissal by the ombudsman on corruption charges.

“In a span of 30 years, if governance were proper and clean, if your money were not stolen, Makati would have gone farther,” Roxas told about 3,000 supporters who attended an International Women’s Month event at the Makati Coliseum.


LP SUPPORTED “Kid” Peña Jr. --Makati Mayor while Junjun Binay is in suspension FROM METROMANILA.POLITICS.COM

“Very young, diligent and competent. While he has not been given an opportunity to be mayor, I hope in the election, you will support him so you can see the quality of leadership of Kid Peña,” he added.

READ MORE...

Roxas also endorsed Peña’s running mate Karla Mercado, whom he described as someone who cares for her constituents.

Mercado is the daughter of former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, one of the witnesses during the Senate hearings on the corruption allegations against the Binays.

Roxas’ endorsement of Peña and Mercado came three weeks before the start of the campaign for local elections.

“They have experience, resilience and clean intentions just like me,” the presidential candidate said.

Roxas went on to claim that Makati City is now a turf of the administration coalition.

“It can’t be denied that Makati has gone yellow,” he said, referring to the campaign color of the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid. – With Jess Diaz

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RELATED FROM METROMANILA.POLITICS.COM.PH

Litmus test: Kid Pena holds biggest bidding under his watch‎ worth P600M


LP SUPPORTED “Kid” Peña Jr. --Makati Mayor while Junjun Binay is in suspension FROM METROMANILA.POLITICS.COM

Kid Pena holds biggest bidding under his watch‎ worth P600M.

All eyes are on Makati Mayor Kid Pena as his administration holds a major bidding today (February 22, 2016) involving more than P600-million worth of contracts for maintenance, security and public services.

Since taking over the helm of Makati City from former Mayor Junjun Binay, who was sacked by the Ombudsman for the alleged anomalous bidding, construction and payment of the overpriced Makati carpark building, current Mayor Pena is facing a litmus test of sorts as he vowed to rid the city of graft and corruption.

The family of vice president and current presidential contender Jejomar Binay who lorded over Makati for 30 years is facing a string of corruption allegations ranging from overpriced buildings, rigged biddings and unexplained wealth.

In a public notice issued by Danilo Villas, chairperson of Makati City’s Bids and Awards Committee, interested bidders were invited to submit their respective bids for 28 listed items which includes maintenance of chillers and cistern tanks in various public buildings, janitorial, security, and IT and telecommunications services and other miscellaneous items.

Almost P257-million or 40 percent of the more than P630-million total Approved Budget for the Contract would be devoted to garbage collection and disposal. This is followed by janitorial services worth P67-million and P48-million for security services. All contracts cover a period of one year.

A Politiko source said this major bidding under Pena’s watch would face intense scrutiny by civil society groups expecting to see bidding reforms. “Pena and his team would be closely watched how they treat each bid and whether favored firms or suppliers would be given special treatment,” the source stressed.

The source added that Pena’s reelection also hinges on the bidding’s success as it will show whether or not he is truly for reforms or if he is just the same as the corrupt politician he helped kick out of office
Tags: Junjun Binay, Makati City, Mayor Kid Peña

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Ombudsman files graft charges vs Junjun Binay By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 19, 2016 - 5:29pm 1 156 googleplus0 0


Former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. was dismissed from service in connection to the anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building. Philstar.com / Jonathan Asuncion, file

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday formally filed graft charges against dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay before the Sandiganbayan.

The cases against Binay and 22 others stemmed from the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Parking Building.

Binay is facing two counts of graft and six counts of falsification of documents.

The Office of the Ombudsman said that a mandatory pre-procurement conference was not conducted for the project.

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, Binay and the other respondents acted with "manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and/or gross inexcusable negligence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and criminally give unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference" to Hilmare's Construction Corp.

In October 2015, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal of Binay from service following the administrative case filed against him.

The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee earlier recommended the filing of criminal charges against the former Makati City mayor and his Vice President Jejomar Binay.

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Junjun Binay posts bail for graft, falsification charges By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 26, 2016 - 5:25pm 2 79 googleplus0 0


Dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay is facing two counts of graft and six counts of falsification of documents in connection to the alleged anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building. AP/Bullit Marquez, file


MANILA, Philippines — Dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. on Friday posted bail for the graft and falsification of public documents charges filed against him.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier filed the cases against Binay Jr. and 22 others stemming from the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Parking Building.

Binay Jr. is facing two counts of graft and six counts of falsification of documents for the project during the term of his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The dismissed Makati mayor posted bail worth P204,000 while the Sandiganbayan hears the cases filed against him.

The special prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman recommended bail of P30,000 for every graft charge and P24,000 for every falsification charge.

Binay Jr. stressed that he is innocent and that there is no basis for the allegations against him.

The dismissed mayor's camp also filed a motion which seeks to dispute the evidence filed by the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal from service of Binay Jr. in October 2015 following administrative cases.


INQUIRER

COA bares raps vs Binay BUT SANCTIONS TO TAKE EFFECT AFTER HIS TERM SHARES: 6295 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nancy C. Carvajal @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:01 AM March 10th, 2016


PHOTO CAMPAIGNING IN OLONGAPO Vice President Jejomar Binay woos voters in Olongapo City on Tuesday night. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Commission on Audit (COA) has recommended sanctions against Vice President Jejomar Binay in connection with the alleged anomalous construction of the P2.8-billion Makati City Hall Building II, according to a special audit report.

The 148-page report by the 12-member COA team against Binay, who is running for President in the May 9 elections, said the Vice President was administratively liable for grave misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices.

The charges concerning crimes that Binay allegedly committed while he was mayor of Makati City carry penalties ranging from removal from office, fines and imprisonment.

However, Binay, as a sitting Vice President, is immune from lawsuits and the charges against him can only be prosecuted after he steps aside.

The report, a copy of which was secured by the Inquirer, said that Binay should be meted out administrative disciplinary action for violation of COA circulars and memorandums as the head of a procuring entity from 2007 to 2010.

Also named in the special audit report, forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman for prosecution, were Binay’s son, Junjun, who has been removed as mayor of Makati in connection with construction irregularities in the city, and 54 former and current officials in the municipality.

READ MORE...

“Any unjustified failure of the officials and employees concerned to comply with the requirements herein imposed shall be subject to the administrative disciplinary action provided in Section 127 of Presidential Decree No. 1445; Section 55, Title I-B, Book V of the revised Administrative Code of 1987 and Section 11 of Republic Act No. 6713,” the report said.

Irregularities

The report stated that “the construction of the Makati parking building from Phase 1 to 5 totaling P2.8 billion showed irregularities from budgeting to procurement to execution resulting in the misuse of public funds.”

It also said that the grant of the city government of undue advantages to the privately owned Hilmarc’s Construction Co. and Mana caused injury to the government.

The audit team also found out that the contract for architectural and engineering services with Mana for P11,974,900 was not covered by an appropriation and was awarded through “simulated bidding.”

Payments, it said, were not supported by documents as required by law.

The recommendation by the special team was approved the Assistant Audit Commissioner Alexander B. Juliano.

Anomalies

Among anomalies cited by the team were programs not included in the annual procurement plan (APP); the supplemental budget of P2.55 billion was enacted without available funds; the purported public bidding on the five phases as bases of award of contracts were not an outcome of a competitive bidding; the original project of a nine-story parking building with cost of P283 million was upgraded to 11 floors with bloated cost of P2.28 billion without an approved plan and approved budget cost; reported accomplishments were paid without the required vital documents; the

100 percent reported accomplishments showed variances when compared to actual inspection per audit resulting in bloated reports equivalent to P1.3 billion.

The report said that the absence of the APP, which should have determined the extent and size of contract scopes, resulted in the construction and implementation of the parking building project into five phases without judicious planning and procurement.

The team refuted Binay’s defense that the responsibility for the bidding of the project was not with the mayor, but with the city’s bids and awards committee. It said that under the law “fiscal responsibility rests directly with the head of the agency concerned.”

Indispensable

The absence of an APP, an indispensable requirement for judicious planning and procurement, should have alerted Binay to do a more strict review and supervision of the project, it said.

The team said that the auditors assigned to Makati that reviewed the different phases of the project did not issue any adverse audit observation or notice of disallowance did not mean that the transactions were legal and regular.

On the case of the enacted supplemental budget, the team found out that the various infrastructure projects amounting to P14 billion of which the P2.8 billion pertains to the parking building were sourced from either loans, unappropriated surplus or savings of the executive budget and surplus income.

The audit team discovered that P1.24 billion and P2.3 billion representing proceeds of loans which were not released by state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines on 2007 and 2008 but on Jan. 29, 2010, an election period.

Cited for sanctions

Also cited for the sanctions were Line de la Peña, Marjorie de Veyra, Mario Hechanova, Nelson Morales, Kenneth Dasal, Lorenza Amores, Ulysses Orienza, Ernesto Mercado, Ernesto Aspillaga, Maria Theresa de Lara, Virgilio Hilario, Angelito Gatchalian, Henry Jacome, Erlinda Gonzales, Arnold Magpantay, Luis Javier, Salvador Pangilinan, Armando Padilla, Tosca Camille Puno, Elias Tolentino Jr., Constancia Lichauco, Christine Mercado, Israel Cruzado, Romulo Peña, Monique Lagdameo, Leonila Querijero, Lorenza Amores, Nelia Barlis, Merlina Panganiban, Norman Flores, Ralph Liberato, Rodel Nayve, Giovanni Condes, Carmelita Morales, Febronia Ambrosio, Rowena Carpio, Cecilio P. Lim III, Raydes Pestaño, Eleno Mendoza, Rosemarie Yumul, Arnel Cadangan, Patrick Carullo, Jane Cano, Alden Albano, Efren Canlas, Ernesto Magat, Eleuterio Tamayo, Ronaldo Garcia, Abraham Pastor, Ronelio Tan, Mario Badillo and Mana.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Pulse: Poe, Binay still at dead heat Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 10 March 2016 00:00

In what Pulse Asia called as a simulation of the balloting on May 9 with its use of a “secret balloting” scheme, independent bet Sen. Grace Poe and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay (UNA) were at a statistical tie for the lead in the latest pre-poll survey taken last February 16 to 27.

The results of the survey showed a 26 percent preference for Poe, 24 percent for Binay, 22 percent for PDP-Laban hopeful Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, 19 percent for administration’s Liberal Party (LP) bet Mar Roxas and People Reform Party’s (PRP) candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago with three percent.

The results of the survey commissioned by ABS-CBN was significant since it was taken that covered both the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Edsa revolt and the first Commission on Elections (Comelec)-backed televised debate.

Pulse Asia said some 5,200 respondents who are qualified voters were covered by the poll with a margin of error of plus and negative 1.4 percent. Pulse Asia also introduced a new system in the survey in which respondents were asked for their first and second preference on the presidential and vice presidential choices.

The second choice was based on the question: “If your chosen candidate does not pursue his/her candidacy for whatever reason, who among the remaining people would you vote for as President of the Philippines if the 2016 elections were held today?”

The second preference vote has Poe with 29 percent; Binay, 22 percent; Roxas, 15 percent; Duterte, 12 percent; and Santiago, eight percent.

According to Pulse Asia, Poe was the next option for 37 percent of Binay’s voters, 31 percent of Duterte’s, and 41 percent of Roxas’. She was statistically tied with Duterte – 21 and 22, respectively – as the alternative for Santiago’s voters.

Binay would be the next choice of majority of Poe’s voters if the latter could not pursue her candidacy.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 9-6 to overturn the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling to disqualify Poe.

For the vice presidency, it was still Senators Bongbong Marcos and Francis Escudero in a dead heat with 26 percent preference.

In far third was Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo with 18 percent, followed by senators Alan Peter Cayetano, 13 percent; Gringo Honasan, six percent; and Antonio Trillanes IV, five percent.

Escudero was the top second option with 27 percent; Marcos, 17 percent; Cayetano, 16 percent; Robredo, 12 percent; and Honasan and Trillanes tied at six percent.

In the senatorial preference survey, 14 aspirants who are mostly incumbent or former senators were fighting it out for the 12 slots led by Vicente Sotto, Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Panfilo Lacson, Ralph Recto, Migs Zubiri, Sergio Osmeña III.

With fighting chances for the remaining slots were Leila De Lima, Dick Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, TG Guingona, and Sherwin Gatchalian.

Pulse Asia research director Ana Tabunda said the ‘secret balloting’ scheme was conducted to simuate the voting method for May 9.

The “second choice preference” was, on the other hand, employed due to unresolved disqualification cases against candidates during the survey period.

The scheme provides “an idea whether the candidate has a ceiling, and if another candidate is being entertained as a possible second choice by respondents,” she said.

At least five percent of the sample said they haven’t decided on who to vote for, and this is the portion that will be difficult to woo, says Tabunda.

Tabunda said statistical ties among the candidates is an indication for them to work harder to get their messages across and the voters to scrutinize the candidates closer.

Poe vows more campaigns

Poe vowed to work harder and go farther in the campaign trail.

Speaking at a press conference in Candelaria, Poe said that while she is thankful for the High Court’s decision to allow her, a foundling, to seek the highest post of the land, she cannot be complacent in the race for Malacañang.

She said she must continue to bring the platforms of her “Gobyernong may Puso” to Filipinos in hard-to-reach provinces.

Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, who also tops the vice-presidential preference surveys, were in Quezon Wednesday, addressing supporters in Lopez, Tayabas, Candelaria, Lucban and Lucena in one day. They were joined by the senatorial bets under their Partido Galing at Puso.

Quezon, which has 1.12 million registered voters, was Poe’s first provincial stop after the Supreme Court granted her petition to reverse the Commission on Elections ruling canceling her certificate of candidacy for president in December.

The Court voted 9-6 in Poe’s favor, paving the way for Poe and all foundlings to seek the presidency.

However, her detractors declared they would seek a reconsideration of the Supreme Court ruling. Poe only shrugged off their dissent and said she respected their right to voice their opinions.

“All those legal ramblings and all of those legal questions, I believe, were already settled by the Supreme Court. It’s up to them if they don’t believe it. You know, in victory, there should be magnanimity,” the senator said.

Poe reiterated her promise to be a unifying president.

Marcos maintains momentum

Marcos’ 26 percent rating remained unchanged from the same February 15 to 20 survey.

They were followed by Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo at 18 percent, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano at 13 percent, Sen. Gringo Honasan at 6 percent and Sen.Antonio Trillanes at 5 percent.

In a statement, Marcos said while he is thankful for the positive response he has been getting despite the negative campaigning, he remains focused on his getting message of national unity across the country.

“We are happy with the way things are going for us but our focus is really on the campaign and getting more people to hear what we have to say and our plans for the country. Hopefully more people get to accept our message of national unity,” he said.


TRIBUNE

UNA blasts CoA, ‘special demolition team’ against Binay Written by Charlie V. Manalo Friday, 11 March 2016 00:00


UNA interim president Toby Tiangco. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO


Desperate to bring down the survey ratings of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay who, in the latest Pulse Asia surveys, is in a statistical tie with Sen. Grace Poe for the top presidential slot, and with Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas at the near bottom of the survey’s totem poll, the “special demolition” team tasked to destroy the electoral chances of Binay has resurfaced, with the incomplete CoA special audit on the Makati Building ll leaked to selected media reporters, made up mostly of the yellow media, and made it the prime news of the day.

The same modus operandi was used in the leak of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in making public the alleged Binay bank accounts, numbering to some 242 accounts, by making it appear that private individuals identified with Binay were his alleged dummies.

The Court of Appeals junked the AMLC’s petition to refreeze the alleged bank accounts as listed by the AMLC,and it turned out that Binay had only one bank account, with the amount of P1.7 million in it.

The CoA report leak was slammed by the Binay camp, led by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) president Toby Tiangco who yesterday warned the CoA that it can be held liable for violating a 2015 resolution and its own rules after it released an incomplete report on Makati City Hall Building II as reported in media.

“We have received information that a Public Relations consultant working for the Ombudsman provided copies of the CoA report to select reporters. To this we ask why, if the case against us is strong, would there be any need for underhanded tactics?” he asked.

“This project has passed 11 regular audits. It is very clear that the special audit team was created for the “special” purpose of being used as demolition team against VP Binay,” Tiangco bared.

At the same time, the lawyer of Mayor Junjun Binay said CoA like the Ombudsman is clearly biased against the Binays and has overstepped its mandate.

“If this is true, CoA is clearly biased as it has no authority to determine who is guilty of a crime. Its mandate is merely to audit government expenditures and to determine if the same are allowable,” Claro Certeza, Binay’s counsel, said.

“Only the courts can decide whether a person is guilty of a crime,” he added.

Certeza said the mayor’s camp has not received a copy of the CoA report.

“The commission could be held liable for violating CoA Resolution No. 2015-033 dated September 29, 2015, prohibiting the conduct of special audit against candidates of the 2016 elections,” Tiangco said.

The resolution stated that no fraud or special audits should be done between October 12, 2015 to May 9, 2016.

“As UNA president, I wrote CoA to request the agency to abide by its own rules.

READ MORE...

“I asked that they (CoA) should apply the resolution equally to all candidates even those from the opposition,” Tiangco said.
“Parties are afforded the right to comment on any findings and CoA cannot set this aside. If it does, the Commission will be violating due process and the rights of individuals,” he added.

In his letter dated February 21, Tiangco noted that he received numerous complaints from UNA candidates about continuing harassment and political persecution.

“I therefore request your strict adherence to CoA Resolution No. 2015-033 and the principles set out therein,” he said.

“Until the termination of the 2016 elections, the Honorable Commission should accordingly desist from acting upon any and all complaints against all candidates in the 2016 national and local elections and not issue any resolutions, rulings or decisions for or against any candidate to avoid the unwitting use of the Commission for partisan political purposes,” he added.

“Specifically, I urge the Commission to refrain from issuing any Notice of Disallowance, Resolution or Decision in all levels of audit authority including but not limited to Regular, Special/Fraud Audit during the election period involving candidates both national and local,” he further wrote.

Tiangco said the request was not “in any way intended to hamper the exercise of the constitutional mandate of the Commission, but to ensure the political neutrality of the Commission during the election period.”

The CoA resolution stated that “It is necessary for the Commission on Audit, as an independent constitutional body, to uphold its political neutrality by implementing measures aimed at preventing opportunities and circumstances that may impair the independence, neutrality and professionalism of the Commission, its officers and employees.”

Tiangco also belied reports that Binay’s camp appealed for CoA to release the report after the May 2016 elections, which was claimed by Ombudsman Conchita Capio-Morales, who is apparently the godmother of the CoA chief, who in turn is the appointee of President Aquino, and who worked in Malacañang as one of the Aquino’s legal counsel.


MORALES

“VP Binay never pleaded for CoA to withhold the release of the report. The commission is composed mostly of Liberal Party appointees. What power does he have over them?” Tiangco said.

The UNA official also questioned the Ombudsman’s denial that they did not pressure the commission to release the report immediately.

“It was the Ombudsman who said that CoA failed to transmit the audit in January and then in February, and promised they would do so on March 2. If the Ombudsman did not follow up the status of the audit, how were they able to come up with those dates?” he asked.

“It’s obvious that both agencies want to hasten the release of the report in hopes that it would tarnish the image of VP Binay and affect his candidacy,” he said.

For his part, Certeza said he is surprised that Mayor Binay is liable for transactions of Makati City Hall done in 2007, when he was elected as mayor in 2010.


Lawyer Claro Certeza, legal counsel of Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar Binay Jr, talks to reporters.

“This is utterly wrong since he became mayor only in 2010. Regrettably, the CoA has allowed itself to be a party to the demolition by perception being done by the political enemies of the VP,” he added.

It is not the first time that the CoA and the Ombudsman have been used by Malacañang to destroy the reputations and political chances of the leading political oppositionists.

It will be recalled that the then CoA chairman, Grace Pulido Tan, held press conference on her specia audit report on the disbursement of the legislators’ priority development assistance program, she zeroed in on only three opposition senators, namely Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

The Ombudsman quickly filed cases against the three, which resulted in the detention of the three senators.
Of the three, only Enrile was granted bail—not by the Sandiganbayan but by the Supreme Court.

The three senators were denied due process. No other senator in the CoA audit was ever probed and chargd with plunder.
It was evident that the indictment and cases were rushed, despite the Ombudsman withholding the affidavits of the supposed accusers and their affidavits from the three senators.

Mayor Junjun Binay blasted the deterioration of due process in the country, questioning the manner by which the cases against his father, Vice President Binay, were being rushed.

He said that the timing of the attacks against his father was suspect, given that the next presidential debate was fast approaching.

These CoA report and leaks were intended to destroy Binay’s electoral chances, since Binay is an impeachable official, and cannot be charged.

There was no need to bring this issue up at this time as the VP cannot be charged in court as yet.

Tiangco noted that had the report been about the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), CoA and Ombudsman would have hesitated to proceed with the audit on the allies of Aquino.

CoA has yet to release its complete audit on PDAF, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“The Ombudsman should explain why high ranking officials of Congress, who are members of the Liberal Party, named in the August 14, 2013 CoA Special Audit Report on PDAF, have not yet been charged with plunder?” soid Tiangco.

“This is a clear sign of selective justice on the part of the Ombudsman, who, despite knowing that we are still permitted to file a motion for reconsideration, released an incomplete report to tarnish the name of the Binays.

“Knowing this Ombudsman, she will stop at nothing to ensure that a case is filed against the mayor, not even due process nor the rule of law,” he added.

The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday denied the allegation of the camp of Binay that the agency had a hand in the leakage of a CoA report that said he is liable for the alleged anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.

In a text message to reporters, Ombudsman Public Information and Media Relations Bureau (PIMRB) acting director Rawnsle Lopez maintained that the anti-graft body has yet to receive a copy of the report from CoA.

This denial from the Ombudsman comes, in spite of the announcement of the CoA chairman that he had already furnished the three agencies with hthe CoA special audit report.

“As of the moment, the office is still waiting for the transmittal of the CoA report. The office will thoroughly study the CoA findings before issuing any further statement,” Lopez said.

Lopez was reacting to the statement of Tiangco that someone working for the Ombudsman had leaked the CoA special audit report to selected reporters.

“We have received information that a PR consultant working for the Ombudsman provided copies of the CoA report to select reporters,” Tiangco said.

Lopez said the allegation was “definitely untrue” as their office has “no report to release” to begin with.

A copy of the 148-page special audit report obtained by GMA News, in its online site quoted CoA as saying that Binay, his son, Junjun and several other officials of the Makati City government must be held criminally liable over the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II also referred as the Makati parking building.

The construction of the controversial 11-storey building began in 2007 during the term of Binay Sr. as Makati mayor. The project was continued by his son who succeeded him as mayor in 2010.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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