BLUE RIBBON SUBCOMMITTEE
REPORT IS WRONG. VP BINAY
REPLIES TO ALLEGATIONS.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee is wrong in saying Vice President Jejomar C. Binay did not reply to allegations of overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2, the Vice President’s camp said Friday.
“Vice President Binay submitted a notarized affidavit to the subcommittee on November 6, 2014 debunking and answering point per point the allegations of his political opponents. But of course, and as expected, the senators ignored it,” Atty. Rico Quicho, vice presidential spokesperson on political concerns, said in response to articles detailing the contents of the subcommittee report.
“It is a validation of our position that the Senate has, from the very start, already prejudged the issue. They have made up their minds even before the hearing started and will not listen, tolerate, or entertain statements and facts contradicting them,” he added.
In his eight-page affidavit, the Vice President said in relation to the primary issue of the Senate inquiry for P.S. Resolution No. 826, “there was no overprice of the Makati City Hall Building II nor any irregularity committed.”
“Constructing the Makati City Hall Building II into five (5) phases or splitting the contracts, with the conduct of bidding for each phases, is NOT prohibited by the Procurement Act (RA 9184),” he said.
“Section 65.1(d), Rule 21 of the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) of RA 9184 provides that splitting of contracts is prohibited only IF the purposes is to avoid bidding, circumvent rules on alternative procurement, or circumvent limits of approving authorities,” he added.
The Vice President further said that Annex “C” of the RA 9184 IRR allows for a minimum of 28 calendar days and a maximum of 144 days for the conduct of the entire procurement process for projects costing more than P50 million.
“Thus, the claim of the Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan that the process should take six (6) months is NOT correct,” he said.
Binay said that “(b)ased on the records, the procurement or bidding process for each phase of the Makati City Hall Building II project was conducted WITHIN the allowable periods of the law.”
He said that “(a)warding of contracts to a lone bidder after the conduct of biddings is NOT prohibited by the Procurement Act.”
“In Phase 1 of the Makati City Hall Building II project, the winning bidder bested (two) other bidders. For Phases 2 to 5, the lone bidder was the same contractor. Based on the records, there was no reason to disqualify the said contractor,” he said.
The Vice President also said his Constitutional rights “were and continue to be violated,” including his Constitutional right not to be subjected to a congressional inquiry if the rules of the Senate are not complied with, the right to due process of law, and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“The hearing has veered towards false criminal accusations against me. It must be emphasized, the Senate shall constitute as the Impeachment Court in case the House of Representatives initiates an impeachment proceedings. Therefore, the Senators are unmindful of their role as potential Senators-judges. Worst, these Senators are acting as prosecutors, judges and even as witnesses,” he said.
“As declared by Senator Trillanes, among other things, his objective is to put me in jail,” he also said.
Trillanes has said on multiple occasions he will not stop until Binay is jailed for his supposed crimes.
The Vice President has maintained, however, that “[t]he role of the Legislature is to make laws, not to determine anyone’s guilt of a crime or wrongdoing. It cannot adjudicate or prosecute.”
He said that according to the Supreme Court decision on Neri vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (G.R. No. 180643, 4 September 2008), it is not the task of the Legislature to investigate the culpability of government officials.
Binay also said that according to Neri, “the Legislature cannot assume the powers reposed upon the prosecutorial bodies and the courts.”
“The determination of who is/are liable for a crime or illegal activity, the investigation of the role played by each official, the determination of who should be haled to court for prosecution and the task of coming up with conclusions and finding of facts regarding anomalies, especially the determination of criminal guilt, are not functions of the Legislature,” Binay said.
The Vice President further asserted that “(t)here is no Congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure.”
“Under our Constitution, it is the Ombudsman who has the duty to investigate any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient,’’ he added.
“The Office of the Ombudsman is the body properly equipped by the Constitution and our laws to preliminarily determine whether or not the allegations of anomaly are true and who are liable therefore,” he continued.
The Vice President also argued “legislative inquiries, unlike court proceedings are not subject to the exacting standards of evidence essential to arrive at accurate and factual findings upon which to apply the law.”
“These Senators insist that I should answer all the accusation hurled against me. It bears to stress that these accusations are based on the bare allegations of local political detractors. These bare allegations are not supported by evidence,” he said.
In his affidavit, Binay further said the inquiry “has gone beyond the scope of permissible areas allowed to be intruded into under the Constitution.”
“I and members of my family are being subjected to a trial by publicity as the hearing is not the proper forum to hear the accusations against us,” he said.
“I and members of my family are being held to answer unsubstantiated criminal accusations, i.e., based on hearsay and other inadmissible evidence,” he added.
He said the subcommittee has intimidated witnesses who would testify in his favor and coached and rehearsed those who would lie and fabricate testimonies against him.
“Indeed, by immediately endorsing to the Witness Protection Program the persons making bare accusations against me, the Sub-Committee has effectively indicted me of criminal wrongdoings. In effect they have induced and accepted as gospel truth the perjured testimonies of my political detractors,” the Vice President said.
The Vice President said he was “initially inclined to attend” the hearing but said he “could not simply disregard the rule of law, the Constitution, and well-settled jurisprudence.” /MP