Junjun Binay finally leaves Makati City Hall!

Source: Interaksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines —  Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. left City Hall Wednesday morning after failing to get the Court of Appeals to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against his preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman, the second since March.

However, Binay stressed his stepping down was “temporary” pending the appellate court’s decision on his petition to stop his suspension over complaints of overpricing in the construction of the Makati Science High School building.

In March, Binay was also ordered suspended over the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2 but managed to fend it off when the appellate court issued a TRO.

This time, the court’s 10th division ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to file their comments to Binay’s petition within 10 days of receiving the order and for the mayor to file his reply five days after receiving the comments.

“Action on the application for TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction is held in abeyance pending receipt of the parties’ pleading. Upon submission of the aforesaid pleadings or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the Petition will be deemed submitted for decision, unless the Court requires the parties to file their respective memoranda,” the resolution, dated June 30, Tuesday, said.

In his petition, Binay said the Ombudsman erred when it ruled that he should be held accountable for the alleged anomaly in the construction of the MSHS considering that three of the seven phases involved in the construction were made when he was not yet the mayor of Makati.

He said that as to the subsequent phases of the construction, he again invoked the so-called “Aguinaldo doctrine,” saying any administrative liability on his part was already removed when he was reelected as city mayor in 2013, beating by a wide margin lawyer Renato Bondal, who filed the complaint.

Binay also accused the Ombudsman of violating its own charter, which requires “strong evidence” to justify a preventive suspension.

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Priliminary Investigation up for Jejomar Binay and son over Parking Building irregularities!

Source: ABS-CBNNews.com

MANILA  – Special investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman have recommended that Vice-President Jejomar Binay, his son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, and 22 others undergo preliminary investigation in connection with irregularities in the construction of the P2.2 billion Makati City Hall Parking Building.

In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman-Special Panel of Investigators said the two Binays and 22 others should undergo preliminary investigation for malversation, falsification, violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act, “in connection with several alleged irregularities in the procurement and award of the contracts for the design/architectural services and the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building.”

Atty. Rico Quicho, the vice-president’s spokesman for police affairs, said any charge of impropriety against the Vice President regarding the Makati City Hall Building 2 “is clearly frivolous and has no basis in fact and in law.”

“We are optimistic that the complaint will be ultimately dismissed by a fair and impartial tribunal. This is again a glimpse of how desperate the critics of the Vice President have become in order to fuel their own personal interests. Politics has indeed really turned to its worst form,” he said in a statement.

The building, which is called the Makati City Hall Building 2, has been the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee inquiry conducted by Senators Antonio Trillanes, Alan Peter Cayetano and Koko Pimentel.

WHAT WENT BEFORE

In their recommendatioin, investigators said the public respondents awarded the P11,974,900.00 contract for the design/architectural services of the Makati City Hall Building 2 to MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company (MANA) without public bidding, and that periodic payments were released to MANA without its corresponding deliverables under the contract.

They said the bidding and the construction for Phases I and II (out of five phases) of the carpark building proceeded without a detailed engineering plan from MANA, contrary to procurement laws and regulations.

Also included in the recommendation for preliminary investigation are former City Administrator Marjorie De Veyra, City Legal Officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, City Budget Officer Lorenza Amores, former Central Planning Management Office (CPMO) Chief Virginia Hernandez, former City Engineer Mario Badillo, former City Accountant Leonila Querijero, former Acting City Accountant Raydes Pestaño, City Accountant Cecilio Lim III, Acting City Accountant Eleno Mendoza, City Treasurer Nelia Barlis, CPMO Engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO Chief Line Dela Peña, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat Heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Rodel Nayve, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, General Services Department (GSD) OIC Gerardo San Gabriel, GSD staff member Norman Flores, as well as private respondents Orlando Mateo of MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company (MANA) and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (Hilmarc).

Federico Cuervo, president and CEO of Cuervo Valuers & Advisory Inc., earlier told the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee his estimated cost of construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2 is only P877.1 million, which is below the P2.2 billion allegedly spent on the building.

Quantity surveyor Greg Jackson described the building as a “modern building of average standard, but I wouldn’t consider it to be world-class standard.”

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte earlier criticized the vice-president for comparing the Makati building to the House of Representatives annex, saying the House annex “is not a garage.”

The Ombudsman’s recommendation was filed following months of case build-up and evidence gathering by the Special Panel composed of field investigators.

LOSING BIDDER

Investigators said the procurement and award of the construction contract to Hilmarc were marred by irregularities including the use of falsified documents showing the purported publications of Notices to Bid and the supposed participation of two losing bidders/companies.

At least one of the “losing bidders” categorically denied participation in the bidding while the existence of the other cannot be established, the Ombudsman said.

Alejandro Tengco, CEO of JBros Construction Corp. and one of the two alleged losing bidders in the Makati City Hall building 2 project, earlier told the Senate that his company has never participated or purchased any bid documents for any infrastructure project in Makati City.

He pointed out his firm was not even qualified to participate in the bidding for the Makati City Hall building 2.

Documents showed Hilmarc’s submitted a bid of P386,998,154.20 for the first phase of the project, compared to the JBros bid of P387,315,511.37.

“Di ko alam na kami ang number 2 dahil hindi naman kami nag-participate sa bidding na yun. Maliwanag sa records namin hindi kami nag-participate sa bidding,” Tengco told the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee.

Similarly, he was also surprised when told that his company was again outbidded by Hilmarc’s for the Makati Science High School project.

He said it was the first time that he had heard that his company was allegedly included in the list of losing bidders for the building project.

He told the committee that his signatures in four documents submitted to the Senate were forged.

Tengco’s statements backed previous testimony by Engineer Mario Hechanova that the bidding process for all infrastructure projects in Makati is rigged. Hechanova is the former head of Makati City’s general services department and vice chairman of the bids and awards committee.

Meanwhile, in addition to the possible filing of a criminal complaint, public respondents, except Vice President Binay, may face administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

The Special Panel of Investigators also prays for the issuance of an order of preventive suspension pending administrative adjudication.

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