CA clears Binay Jr. of administrative liabilities as mayor

FORMER Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay Jr. welcomed on Tuesday the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) clearing him of administrative liabilities.

He said it only proved the Ombudsman singled out the Binays for “selective justice” because of politics.

“We are very thankful that we finally achieved justice. We are also thankful to the Court of Appeals for being fair in hearing the case,” Binay said in a statement, recalling his fate and his father, former Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, in the past presidential election.

However, the former mayor would not make a categorical statement if he will sue the Ombudsman after the CA ruled that the order dismissing him from office was contrary to the explicit order of the Supreme Court that he was still covered by the condonation doctrine.

“That’s something that needs to be discussed with the family and the lawyers. The Binay family was treated unfairly during the incumbency of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales,” he said.

He cited the “inordinate speed” with which the Office of the Ombudsman resolved his case.

When asked about a possible return to political office, Binay said he would rather enjoy for now the time he has for his family.

Binay added the Ombudsman had, in other cases, invoked the condonation doctrine in dropping complaints against other elected officials. But, in his case, the Ombudsman ignored the doctrine and the decision of the Supreme Court to junk the doctrine was prospective in nature and did not apply to him.

In a 159-page decision written by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon, the CA reversed a 2015 ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman, which dismissed then-Makati City Mayor Jun Binay and several other city officials and barred them from holding public office in connection with the construction of Makati City Hall Building II.

The CA ruled that Binay is still covered by the 2010 Supreme Court decision that reiterated its 1959 condonation doctrine, which extinguishes the administrative liability of an elective public official once reelected to the same post.

The CA cited the SC’s ruling, which states that “this Court’s (SC) abandonment of the condonation doctrine should be prospective in application for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.”

Agreeing with Binay, the CA said the administrative complaint against Binay “pertained to acts which transpired before he was subsequently elected and continued in public office on May 14, 2013.”

“It is uncontroverted that Binay Jr. served as the city mayor of Makati from June 28, 2010, and was reelected into the same office on May 14, 2013,” it said.

“Considering that the present case was instituted prior to the ruling of the Supreme Court [on November 10, 2015], the condonation doctrine may still be applied,” the CA decision stated.

“Given the factual circumstances herein and the prevailing jurisprudence, this Court holds that the undisputed and subsequent reelection of Binay Jr. in the year 2013 is a condonation of his administrative liabilities,” it ruled.

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Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco is a grant recipient and fellow of 2017 media fellowship program by Probe Media Foundation Inc. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Mass Communication from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). After graduating in 2000 she immediately worked as a newspaper correspondent for Today Newspaper until 2005. Within those five years in Today Newspaper, she was assigned to cover the Eastern Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Rizal Province, and the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Tourism (DOT). In October of 2005, she became a correspondent for the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc. She covers Health, Education, MMDA, the local government units in the eastern and southern portions of the metropolis, and Rizal Province.

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