Court of Appeals affirms ruling clearing Junjun Binay from admin case

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Court of Appeals affirms ruling clearing Junjun Binay from admin case

(philstar.com) – March 21, 2019 – 5:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals upheld its ruling that cleared former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay from administrative charges over the alleged anomalous construction of the P2.28-billion city hall parking building.

The appellate court’s Former Tenth Division junked the Office of the Ombudsman’s motion for partial reconsideration against the court’s Tenth Division on May 8, 2018.

READ: Court of Appeals clears Junjun Binay in P2.28 billion administrative case

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier found Binay and four other city officials guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for the overpriced procurement of the architectural design, engineering services and construction of the building. The office also dismissed them from government service.

But the appeals court reversed the ombudsman’s ruling, saying that the condonation doctrine applies in the said case.

The said doctrine effectively extinguishes the administrative liability of a re-elected official for an act committed in his previous term.

The Supreme Court in its November 2015 ruling on the preventive suspension order of the ombudsman against Binay involving the same project, abandoned the doctrine.

But the ruling was prospective in application, which means it only covers future cases.

The appeals court on May 2018, rejected the ombudsman’s argument that Binay cannot use the said doctrine because he signed and approved undated disbursement vouchers (DVs) on July 24, 2013 amounting to P429,011 and another DV dated July 3, 2013.

The appellate court said that the vouchers were signed after Binay’s re-election and were related to services pursuant to contracts of the city government in his prior term.

In acting on the ombudsman’s appeal, the CA stood by its earlier ruling that the doctrine applies on the case, “notwithstanding the approval of the aforementioned DVs as these pertained to payment of services contracted during his prior term.”

“While it is true that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carpio-Morales was indeed relative to this Court’s issuance of injunctive reliefs and was not about the OMB’s main findings of administrative guilt against Binay Jr., it cannot be negated that the abandonment of the condonation doctrine—declared prospective in application by no less than the Supreme Court—should not be given any retroactive effect as to prejudice Binay Jr. for the acts he allegedly committed when said doctrine was still in effect and duly recognized,” the CA held.

Meanwhile, in the same ruling, the court also ordered the deletion of the award of back salaries and other emoluments for Emerito Magat, Nelia Barlis, Raydes Pestaño and Leonila Querijero, whose offenses were earlier downgraded to suspension of six months from dismissal of service.

Binay is running against his sister, Makati Mayor Abigal Binay, for the mayoral seat in Makati, the family’s bailiwick. — Kristine Joy Patag