THE Supreme Court has affirmed the indictment for corruption of former Makati City Mayor Elenita S. Binay over the purchase of P36.4 million of equipment for a Makati hospital in 2001.
In a 10-page decision dated Aug. 7 but release only yesterday, the court’s Third Division dismissed Ms. Binay’s petition, saying the Office of the Ombudsman had not abused its authority when it found probable cause in the case.
“Mere disagreement with the Ombudsman’s findings is not enough to constitute grave abuse of discretion,” the court said.
“It is necessary for the petitioner to prove that the Ombudsman conducted the preliminary investigation in such a way that amounted to a virtual refusal to perform a duty under the law,” it added.
The court said Ms. Binay’s failure to receive a copy of the motions for reconsideration of her co-respondents did not violate her right to due process.
The court noted that during a preliminary investigation, a respondent may examine the evidence submitted by the complainant but does not have rights over evidence submitted by her co-respondents.
The high court likewise rejected Ms. Binay’s claim that her right to a speedy disposition of her cases had been violated.
The Ombudsman in 2011 found probable cause to indict 15 officials of Makati for graft and malversation.
The case stemmed from the payment of P36.4 million of hospital beds and bedside cabinets to a supplier, which was awarded the contract without public bidding. The manufacturer’s invoice showed the sales amounted to only P2.4 million.
Audit also showed that the distributor of the equipment was from the United States but the beds came from a Taiwanese company. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas