By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
PRESIDENTIAL candidate Jejomar Binay has accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales of conspiracy to derail his presidential bid by prematurely releasing an incomplete Commission on Audit (COA) report on the alleged overpriced Makati Parking Building 2 built during his incumbency as Makati Mayor.
He expressed disappointment over the premature release of the “incomplete” COA special audit report on the alleged anomalous construction of the said building.
He said the audit was not yet over when it was released.
The COA report stated that “the construction of the Makati Parking Building II from phase 1 to 5 totaling PH 2.8 billion pesos showed irregularities from budgeting to procurement to execution resulting in the misuse of public funds.”
A special team of COA found the Vice-president “administratively liable for grave misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices in connection with the (allegedly) overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building II.”
Binay slammed Carpio-Morales for doing a “demolition job” against him a week before the presidential debate that will tackle corruption, among others.
He believed the Ombudsman was only using the special audit report to mount a “demolition job by perception” or trial by publicity against him.
He said Carpio-Morales would not even dare proceed with the filing of charges against him since the Ombudsman earlier acknowledged that the Vice-president was “immune from suit.”
“This is another sad thing, this Ombudsman knows that I am immune from suit, but I was included in the preliminary investigation. Just look at the kind of treatment they’re doing to me. The arrest only starts once it reaches the court. They do not charge me in court. They admitted to that,” said Binay.
He complained of being denied due process since the special report was leaked to the media without him, and his son, dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., seeing the report.
In fact, he said, the Ombudsman and COA had violated many procedures just to pin him down.
Binay, running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is leading the opposition in the May 9 elections.
UNA president Toby Tiangco described as “politically motivated” the COA report ignoring to release the 2008 to 2014 COA report that concluded there was no overpricing in the construction of Makati City Hall Building 2.
He said the COA report spanning six years were now being set aside by the Commission’s supposed special audit that was concluded after only several months.
He said the Ombudsman was aware the Makati Building project passed 11 regular audits during those years, but these were ignored by COA’s special audit that spanned only a few months, prompting UNA to accuse the special audit team as a “special demolition team” against him.
“These COA reports, including the one conducted by the agency’s own technical experts, are now being ignored in favor of a fast-tracked supposed special audit report that is tainted by political motives,” said Tiangco.
Tiangco cited the February 2014 technical audit report where resident auditor Cecilia Caga-anan said the construction of the parking building was reasonably priced.
The report, Tiangco said, was submitted to National Capital Region local government sector head Carmelita Antasuda, as a response to lawyer Renato Bondal’s request for another audit of the project.
He said the COA report was part of the Liberal Party’s grand design to demolish Binay and his family.
“We have received information that a public relations consultant working for the Ombudsman provided copies of the COA report to select reporters. If the case against us is strong, would there be any need for underhanded tactics?” said Tiangco.
“As UNA president, he wrote COA to request them to abide by their own rules. I asked that they apply the resolution equally to all candidates.”
In his letter dated February 21, Tiangco said he had received many complaints from UNA candidates about continuing harassment and political persecution.
“I therefore request your strict adherence to COA Resolution 2015-033 and the principles set out therein. Until the termination of the 2016 elections, the Honorable Commission should accordingly desist from acting upon any and all complaints against all candidates in the 2016 national and local elections and not issue any resolutions, rulings or decisions for or against any candidate to avoid the unwitting use of the Commission for partisan political purposes,” said Tiangco in his letter.
Binay earlier tagged Roxas and his allies as being behind “Oplan Nognog” that was hatched to bring down Binay through a probe spearheaded by the Liberals and their allies in the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, headed by Liberal Party stalwart Teofisto Guingona III, who is seeking reelection.
Meanwhile, the second round of the Commission on Elections-sponsored presidential debate, in partnership with TV5 and Philippine Star, will be held in UP-Lahug in Cebu on March 20.
“As usual, the Ombudsman is part of conspiracy to malign me. They jumped the gun again. It’s the usual thing since the (presidential) debate is already near. This is to destroy me again,” said Binay.