Junjun Binay asks court to drop charges in Makati parking cases

MANILA, Philippines – Former Makati city mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr filed a motion to quash before the 3rd Division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, asking for a dismissal of his malversation and graft cases that stemmed from the allegedly overpriced Makati Parking Building.

There is already probable cause to hold Binay and his father, former vice president Jejomar Binay Sr on trial. They are scheduled for arraignment on January 12, not considering any readjustments that may arise due to the new pleading.

In the motion filed on Wednesday, January 3, the younger Binay said his approval of payments to the architecture and design firms in Makati City’s ‘world-class’ parking building was not an unlawful act.

“All he did was pay the obligation already incurred by the City of Makati under a contract that was entered into even before he became Mayor, which was valid and subsisting during his term,” Binay Jr’s motion said. (READ: INVESTIGATIVE: 'World-class' prices for Binay's parking building)

Binay Jr said that by approving the release of payments to the firm, he was only fulfilling his obligation to a private contractor.

“Had he not honored the payment of a valid and subsisting obligation, he would have exposed Makati City to liability for damages,” the motion said.

'Institutionalized bid-rigging' 

It was Junjun’s father, the former vice president, who entered into the contracts in 2007 when he was the mayor of Makati City.

But Binay Jr said there can be no conspiracy alleged in this case due to the lack of "showing of both knowledge and intentional participation in the supposed criminal acts."

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation in 2015 said that the P2.28 billion worth parking building was overpriced by over a billion. The Senate called it ‘institutionalized bid-rigging.’

It involves construction firm Hilmarc’s which, according to records, has Makati City as its regular client. From 199 to 2004 alone, Hilmarc’s won Makati’s projects worth P2 billion.

Rappler’s investigation into records show the bidding for the parking building was won by Hilmarc’s by close margins. 

Procurement experts say that close bidding suggests a possible simulated bidding, where the favored bidder taps other firms to bid for the project. 

The favored bidder arranges everything to create the illusion of a competitive bidding. Once the favored bidder wins, they get their conspirators as subcontractors. 

The two Binay men have also been indicted for graft and falsification of documents over the allegedly overpriced P1.3 billion Makati Science High School. A plunder complaint into the overpricing issue is still being threshed out in the Ombudsman level. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.