Evidence for misconduct strong, Ombudsman tells SC in defending order vs Binay

BAGUIO CITY: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales returned to the Supreme Court which has been her home for nine years to defend her decision to issue preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, the retired high court justice maintained her office is a constitutionally independent agency as she questioned the temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) stopping the suspension order.

“I hope it (Supreme Court ruling) is not going to be adverse to us because otherwise it’s going to create a floodgate for some respondents to be always assailing the rules of the Ombudsman,” she said.

She said her office has acted on cases “not on account of politics, but on account of what we believe calls for filing of cases in court.”

Morales was asked what was her basis on issuing the preventive suspension order on Binay.

She said “conspiracy was apparent” based on evidence before her office against Binay and his co-respondents.

The evidence include sworn statements from several witnesses, including an alleged losing bidder which actually did not participate in the bidding; members of the Makati City Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) who claimed that irregularities were committed in the bidding process; notices of awards, BAC resolutions, contracts and vouchers signed by Binay or those he caused to be released, among others.

“Evidence is strong… as my basis in thinking that there was strong evidence for misconduct, dishonesty, oppression, neglect of duty… conspiracy is apparent. There appears to be conspiracy,” Morales said.

Morales said that there was a “necessity” to place Binay under preventive suspension in order to “preserve” documentary evidence in connection with the case.

The oral arguments are set to continue next Tuesday, April 21, to hear the side of Binay’s camp.