OnlineJobs.ph

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ombudsman suspends Mayor Binay, 20 others over Makati building


By Jun Ramirez
Manila Bulletin 
EMBATTLED – Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay is escorted out of his office on the 22nd floor of the Makati City Hall on his way to a press briefing after he received news that he was ordered suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday in connection with the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II. (KJ Rosales)
EMBATTLED – Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay is escorted out of his office on the 22nd floor of the Makati City Hall on his way to a press briefing after he received news that he was ordered suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday in connection with the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II. (KJ Rosales)
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has suspended Makati Mayor Erwin Binay for six months pending result of the preliminary investigation into the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Parking Building.
In the official twitter account of the Office of the Ombudsman, Morales also issued the same preventive suspension against 20 other City Hall officials implicated in the controversy but many of them have left government service.
The tweet read: “OmbudsmanPh orders Mayor Binay, Jr. et. al. preventively suspended for six months pending investigation of the Makati carpark complaint.”
In another tweet, “OmbudsmanPh orders Mayor Binay, Jr. et. at. to file their counter-affidavits to answer the Makati carpark complaint.”
A copy of the suspension order was later served by the Office of the Ombudsman on Mayor Binay.
The suspension order was issued by Morales based on the recommendation of the special panel of investigators which conducted a case build-up and evidence gathering on the alleged overpriced parking building.
This is the first time that the Ombudsman suspended a government official via twitter.
OUT OF COVERAGE
Vice President Jejomar Binay who is also included in the criminal complaint for signing the original building project while he was city mayor was excluded from the suspension order because the vice-presidency is outside the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.
The Vice President and the other respondents were charged with violating the Government Procurement Act.
Except for the Vice President, the respondents are also facing administrative charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The complaint claimed that public respondents awarded the P11.9-million contract for the design and architectural services to Mana Architecture and Interior Design (Mana) without public bidding and that periodic payments were released to Mana without its corresponding deliverables under the contract.
Also, 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.
The panel also alleged that the procurement and award of the construction to Hilmarc Construction Corporation were marred with irregularities including the use of falsified documents showing the purported publications of notices to bid and the supposed participation of two losing bidders, one of which categorically denied participation while the existence of the other cannot be established.
The panel of special investigators recommended the preventive suspension of the following public respondents: 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.
The private respondents included in the suspension order are Orlando Mateo of MANA Architecture & Interior Design Company (MANA) and Efren Canlas of Hilmarc.
NO HAND
Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV said the suspension order against the Vice President’s son is proof the cases against the Binay’s “is still far from over.”
But Sen. Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay said their family is ready to face even the “worst” crisis that will come their way.
“Sabi ko nga, kung may Oplan Exodus, may Oplan Nognog,” Binay told reporters in an interview. “Akala nila kung mapapaalis nila yung kapatid ko, sobrang mapipilayan kami (They think that if they can remove my brother, we will be paralyzed),” she added.
“With what’s happening now, I won’t be surprised if there would be efforts to remove me or my sister (in the House of Representatives). I guess those on the other side, are frustrated because despite all their efforts, the people are no longer trusting them,” she pointed out.
Malacañang, however, said it has nothing to do with preventive suspension slapped against Mayor Binay.
“It is the decision of the Ombudsman, an independent body, and part of their normative procedure,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
UNDUE HASTE
The camp of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay branded the suspension of the Makati Mayor as “political persecution” but expressed confidence that the country’s second highest official and his family will be vindicated in the end.
Atty. Rico Paolo Quicho, the Vice President’s spokesman for political affairs in a statement slammed the “undue and deliberate haste in the implementation of the preventive suspension of Mayor Binay,” which he said, “demonstrates the direction to which the Ombudsman would like to proceed with the case.”
“It would have been desirable if the Ombudsman had scrutinized and evaluated the supporting documents so far presented in support of the complaint against Mayor Binay, Vice President Binay, and other respondents before a rash and precipitate action,” Quicho said.
Quicho expressed hopes that the OMB “will not allow itself to fall victim to the machinations of those with political ambitions.” (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling, JC Bello Ruiz, and Hannah Torregoza)

No comments: