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Friday, May 20, 2016

Cases vs. VP Binay to be filed right after his term – Ombudsman Morales

By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday said her office will proceed with the filing of criminal cases against outgoing Vice President Jejomar Binay once he steps down from office on June 30.

“Once he (Binay) is stripped of immunity, we will proceed with the filing of the cases,” Morales said at a press conference in Quezon City.

Under the 1987 Constitution, impeachable officials such as the President, Vice President and Ombudsman are immune from criminal lawsuits but they can be removed from office through an impeachment proceeding.

Pressed for a definite date on when her office can file the charges, Morales just responded that it can be anytime after June 30, the last day of Binay in office.

“Well, July 1 comes after June 30 in the same manner that July 10 comes after June 30,” Morales said.

Binay camp reacts
Reached for their comment, Binay spokesman Rico Quicho said: "Alam ng lahat na hindi patas ang Ombudsman kay VP Binay. Binalewala nito ang mga ebidensya, due process at ang batas upang gipitin si VP Binay habang nagbulag-bulagan ito sa mga reklamo laban sa mga kaalyado at kapartido ng kasalukuyang administrasyon."

Quicho also said Binay will be vindicated in the end.

"In a fair and impartial venue, we are confident that the so-called cases against the VP will be dismissed for being frivolous and baseless. We shall exert all legal remedies to prove the Ombudsman wrong," Quicho said.

Binay had included Morales in a P200-million damage suit pending before a Makati court for allegedly prejudging the cases filed against him.

Probable cause
It was in October last year when the Office of the Ombudsman ruled that there was probable cause to file graft, malversation and falsification of public documents cases before the Sandiganbayan against Binay, his son Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., and 22 other officials of Makati City government over the alleged overpriced construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building.

In February of this year, the Ombudsman upheld its ruling, dismissing the respective motions for reconsideration filed by the Binays and the other respondents.

In the same month, the Ombudsman through its prosecutorial arm Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) proceeded with the filing of the cases before the Sandiganbayan against the younger Binay and the other city officials.

Morales, at the time, clarified that the cases against the elder Binay would have to be filed only after his term as vice president ended as he has the immunity from suit.

Five plunder complaints
Meanwhile, Morales said that aside from his indictment from graft, malversation and falsification, her office still has pending investigations on five plunder complaints VP Binay.

One of these plunder complaints is still in connection with the Makati parking building anomaly.         
The other plunder complaints are in connection with the overpriced construction of a College of Nursing Building in the University of Makati (UMak) and the Makati Science High School, as well as the alleged illegal conversion of a public property in Barangay Comembo in Makati to a private property of one of the vice president’s alleged dummies.

The fifth plunder complaint was in connection with the alleged anomalous sale of a one-hectare lot owned by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) to property developer Alphaland Corporation.

“Plunder complaints are independent with other complaints. Ung kasong natapos na [ang investigation] we will file [the case]. For these plunder complaints, were are still gathering evidence,” Morales said.

“Well you see, the speed in which we investigate cases is influenced by several factors among other things like in cases of plunder, we also seek the assistance of the Commission on Audit to conduct special audit,” she added.

Binay had earlier said that the complaints filed against him were part of the Aquino administration’s “demolition job” in connection with his bid for presidency on May 9 elections. — with Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News

- See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/566865/news/nation/cases-vs-vp-binay-to-be-filed-right-after-his-term-ombudsman-morales#sthash.BV2PWBjV.dpuf

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