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Pwede pa! Junjun Binay can still run for mayor, says COMELEC

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay could still run as mayor of the country’s financial district since his supposed corruption case was under court appeal, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said.

COMELEC Director John Rex Ladiangco said if the case is still under appeal—which happened to be in Binayʼs pending graft charges—then “it isn’t final and executory.”

Director James Jimenez, the poll body’s spokesperson, expained that while a final conviction could bar an individual from running for public office, it won’t fit the criteria for disqualification “if there’s any (pending) appeal, or if it’s not a final decision.”

Binay is currently facing graft charges in connection with the construction of the P1.3 billion Makati Science High School building.

Binay’s lawyer, Atty. JM Mendoza, confirmed that the case in question was being appealed and could not be used to bar the former Makati Mayor from reclaiming his post.

“The decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the construction of the Makati Science High School building is on appeal and therefore, not final and executory,” said Mendoza.

According to Mendoza, “only a final and executory judgment that carries with it an accessory penalty of disqualification form holding public office operates to disqualify a person from running for public office” under Section 40 (b) of the Local Government Code.

“Mayor Junjun Binay is not disqualified from running for public office or from filing a certificate of candidacy for the May 2019 elections. He does not suffer from any of the disqualifications from running for any elective local position as stated under Section 40 of the Local Government Code,” Binay’s legal counsel said.