MANILA – (UPDATE) The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision dismissing former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and perpetually disqualifying him from public office over an administrative case involving a school building.
In an 88-page decision dated May 28, the CA 8th Division found Binay guilty of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in connection with “glaring irregularities” that surrounded the construction of phase 6 of the P1.3-billion Makati Science High School (MSHS) building.
The appellate court upheld with modifications the July 10, 2017 joint decision and December 8, 2017 joint order of the Ombudsman that dismissed Binay from service and meted the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Binay is accused of rigging the bidding process in favor of service contractor Hilmarc for phase 6 of the construction which cost P166.85 million. Because of incomplete information in the published invitation to bid, only Hilmarc was able to submit bid documents with a proposal of P165.26 million.
In finding Binay guilty, the CA faulted him for various acts he committed as Makati mayor in entering into a contract and paying Hilmarc.
These include the absence of a pre-procurement conference, non-compliance with advertisement and posting requirements, and undue haste in completing the procurement process even in the absence of detailed engineering plans.
The administrative case involving phase 6 of the MSHS building is just one of four cases against Binay.
The appellate court applied the condonation doctrine in dismissing three other administrative cases involving the architecture contract as well the construction contracts for phases 4 and 5 of the MSHS building.
It was, however, not applied on phase 6 of the school building because it was entered into and implemented during his second term in office, from 2013 to 2016.
Under the condonation doctrine, a public official cannot be removed for misconduct committed during a previous term. It only applies to administrative cases.
“Binay, Jr. may not successfully invoke the condonation doctrine as it is undisputed that he was not reelected to an elective position after his 2013-2016 term during which the irregularities were committed,” it said.
Binay, son of former Vice President Jejomar Binay, did not run during the 2016 elections and lost to his sister, reelectionist Makati Mayor Abby Binay, in last month's midterm polls.
In a statement, Binay said he and his lawyers will appeal the decision.
"My lawyers and I have agreed to immediately file a Motion for Reconsideration and exhaust all necessary legal means to prove my innocence," he said.
Aside from Binay, former Makati City Administrator Eleno Mendoza was also found "administratively liable" for simple misconduct and was meted the penalty of suspension of 6 months without pay.
The CA also affirmed the Ombudsman’s ruling finding the other petitioner-respondents guilty.