Sandiganbayan to pursue corruption charges vs Junjun Binay

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan denied the appeals of former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay, and is proceeding with the corruption charges against him.

The charges stemmed from the allegedly overpriced parking building of the Makati city hall.

In a resolution promulgated on Tuesday, April 18, and released to media on Thursday, April 20, the court's 3rd Division affirmed probable cause in the graft and falsification of documents charges against Binay and other former Makati officials.

The city hall's parking building was allegedly overpriced by as much as P1.3 billion and was the subject of a series of highly-publicized Senate inquiries.

Binay filed what is called a "motion for judicial determination and probable cause and to defer the issuance of warrants of arrest pending such determination" last February.

He argued that his mere signing of resolutions, contracts, and other documents related to the project is not enough to implicate him in the crime. As far as the falsification charges are concerned, Binay said other officials could very well falsify a report even without his participation as mayor. (READ: Binays seek court nod for spiritual travel to Holy Land)

"A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused," the court's ruling said.

The court also said that Binay's motion was "a mere superfluity, if not a deliberate attempt to cut short the process by asking the Court to weigh in on the evidence without a full-blown trial."

"For even without such motion, it is the incipient duty of the Court, upon the filing of the Informations with it, to determine the existence or non existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused," the court said.

Binay already posted bail ahead of the issuance of an arrest order, thus the court will be proceeding straight to arraignment scheduled for May 18.

Binay's father, former vice president Jejomar Binay, is also facing his own charges before the court stemming from the same issue. His mother Elenita is on trial for her own corruption charges related to overpricing of hospital equipment during her term as mayor. – 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.

image