DILG chief to face probe over Binay case

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — JUSTICE Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez said Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno could face sanctions for failing to enforce the order of the Ombudsman to suspend Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati City.

Gonzalez issued a legal opinion after Puno announced Sunday he had ordered the preventive suspension order against Binay deferred until after the May 14 elections “in the interest of fair play.”

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marius Corpuz served the suspension order on Binay Friday night, causing tension after hundreds of the mayor’s supporters gathered at the city hall.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez issued the suspension in connection with a complaint that Binay had placed about 8,000 fake employees in city hall’s payroll.

Gonzalez said Gutierrez could charge Puno with disobedience for not enforcing the suspension.

Gonzalez said he based his opinion on the Supreme Court ruling of April 12 in the San Miguel, Bulacan, Mayor Edmundo Jose Buencamino v. the Court of Appeals in which the High Court affirmed the decision of CA Justice Lucenito Tagle that the Ombudsman’s suspension orders must be carried out without delay.

Gonzalez said the Ombudsman could compel Puno to immediately implement the order unless Binay secures a court injunction.

“I can’t find any law that would stop an executory judgment,” Gonzalez said.

He wondered what stopped Puno from carrying the suspension order when the Supreme Court ruling is clear.

In his statement, Puno said Binay had sought the deferment of the suspension order till Monday.

Puno said he would request the Office of the Solicitor General to file a motion to reassess the suspension order.

But Gonzalez said there was no need to refer the case to the Solicitor General for study since the Ombudsman ruling cannot be reviewed by the OSG.

It was the second time the DILG failed to implement a suspension order against Binay, president of the United Opposition.

Binay escaped suspension late last year after the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order.

The complaint against Binay was filed by former Makati councilor Oscar Ibay for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and dishonesty.