The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the graft indictment of former Makati City mayor Elenita Binay for the alleged anomalous and overpriced 2001 purchase of hospital beds and bedside cabinets for the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) worth P36 million.
The SC has released a decision which junked Binay’s petition seeking to junk the two graft charges against her that was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan.
Binay argued that she was not among those named by the Ombudsman to be indicted in its first resolution issued on May 9, 2011. The Ombudsman’s Special Prosecutor issued a 2013 resolution which recommended that she also be included among those indicted.
However, the SC ruled that mere “disagreement with the Ombudsman’s findings is not enough to constitute grave abuse of discretion.”
“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 explained.
“This Court does not find that public respondent Office of the Ombudsman acted with grave abuse of discretion when it determined the existence of probable cause against petitioner,” it declared.
The SC also reminded that the May 9, 2011 resolution had not yet attained finality when the Ombudsman received the initial finding.
“Moreover, settled is the rule that a sitting Ombudsman has the power to revoke or alter the rulings of a predecessor within the bounds of law,” the high court stressed.
The case concerns the P38.7 million contract the city government had with Apollo Medical Equipment and Supplies to supply Osmak with hospital beds and bedside cabinets.
However, the contract alleged did not undergo the required public bidding.
Also the actual cost of items delivered by Apollo was only worth P2.4 million which was way bellow the P36.4 million that was paid to it.