UNISAN, Quezon – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday cursed the Office of the Ombudsman for suspending his allies in the local government ahead of the May 9 polls.
In his speech during the proclamation rally of comebacking Quezon representative Danny Suarez here, Binay scored the Ombudsman for making it difficult for local officials to publicly declare their support to the opposition for fear that they might be suspended from office by the Ombudsman.
Binay said the Ombudsman is being used by the administration to target political foes.
“’Yun hong malungkot na pinagdadaanan namin noon na pinagdadaanan pa rin namin ngayon, itong bwisit na Ombudsman,” Binay said.
(This appalling Ombudsman is the reason for our sufferings then and now.)
“Lalo na ngayon ‘di ba, buti ‘yung matapang nagsilabas na, eh marami pa ring mga kasama natin sa local government, hindi kakausapin ang kanilang kagustuhan sa pagsama sa kanilang kandidato eh dahil sa winawalang hiya, hanggang ngayon
nagsususpindi pa,” Binay added.
(Especially now; good thing the brave ones have come out. But many of our allies in local government have been afraid of speaking up because they are being intimidated by the suspensions being carried out by the Ombudsman until now.)
He said suspension of local officials due to administrative cases of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty should not be allowed one year before the elections.
“One year before the day of elections, no more suspension. Ginagamit talaga ito sa pagpapahirap sa mga kalaban sa pulitika (This is being used to intimidate their political foes),” Binay said.
In a statement on Wednesday, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesperson Mon Ilagan said the Ombudsman is “overzealous” in its bid to smear the reputation of Binay’s allies ahead of the May 9 elections.
Ilagan said the Ombudsman wanted to derail the election bid of those who were allied with Binay—Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia and ousted Laguna governor ER Ejercito—by charging them.
Garcia was indicted by the Ombudsman for graft over the anomalous procurement for the architectural and engineering design, and various civil and other works for the P425.6-million Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
In 2006, Garcia as then governor resorted to the alternative method of procurement without public bidding, the Ombudsman said. Garcia is running for reelection as congresswoman under UNA in the coming polls.
Also, Ejercito was charged before the Sandiganbayan for graft for entering an allegedly anomalous insurance deal for tourists plying the Pagsanjan gorge when he was Pagsanjan mayor in 2008. He is seeking to reclaim the gubernatorial seat under UNA.
The Ombudsman prosecutors said the insurance deal was entered into without public bidding and that the insurance company was not licensed by the Insurance Commission to engage into the business.
In 2014, Ejercito was ousted as Laguna governor by the Commission on Elections for overspending in his 2013 campaign.
Also charged by the Ombudsman was sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas, who was indicted for usurpation of powers and graft for his alleged role in the bloody Mamasapano incident that claimed the lives of 44 elite cops. Napeñas is running for senator under UNA.
“Look at the timing of these cases being filed? Halos isang dekada nila inupuan, tapos biglang bubuhayin (They slept on these cases and now they’re reviving them)? It’s quite sad that the Office of the Ombudsman allows itself to be used as a tool by the Administration to harass the political opposition. It has also become a willing accomplice to the administration party’s propaganda machine,” Ilagan said.
Ilagan said while the Ombudsman has charged opposition members, it has yet to file a case against administration allies like Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala over the outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program and the alleged pork barrel scam.
“Sa ginagawa ngayon ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales sa mga kasamahan at kaalyado namin sa UNA, malinaw na nakikialam na rin s’ya sa eleksyon sa pamamagitan ng pagsasampa ng kaliwa’t kanang mga kaso—pero ang nakakapagtaka eh ayaw niyang galawin ang mga kakampi ng Liberal Party,” he added.
(With Ombudsman Carpio-Morales’ filing of charges against our allies in UNA, it is clear that she is trying to sway the result of the elections. What confuses me is that she has not made a move against allies of the Liberal Party.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has denied targeting the opposition and maintained her partiality in filing cases.
Binay’s camp made the statement as the Ombudsman also indicted the Vice President and his son dismissed Makati mayor Junjun for graft, malversation and falsification of public documents for the alleged rigging of the procurement for the design and construction of the allegedly overpriced P2.8-billion Makati car park building.
While the Ombudsman has yet to charge the vice president because he is immune from suit, it has charged Junjun before the Sandiganbayan for graft and falsification. IDL