Ombudsman files corruption charges vs. former VP Binay

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The Ombudsman files corruption charges against former Vice President Jejomar Binay in connection with alleged anomalies in the Makati Parking Building project.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Ombudsman filed corruption charges at the Sandiganbayan against former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday over the alleged overpriced Makati Parking Building.

Binay is accused of violating Section 3A of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which refers to an official who persuades another public officer to violate certain rules and regulations.

He is also facing a separate charge of falsifying public documents and violating the government procurement law.

These are the first criminal charges filed against Binay after his term ended on June 30. The president and the vice president cannot be charged in court while in office but they can be impeached.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has reported that the construction of the ₱2.8 billion Makati Parking Building II showed irregularities from budgeting to the execution of the project. The report said this resulted in misuse of public funds.

Also read: Ombudsman to file corruption charges against VP Binay after he steps down

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in May they have found probable cause to indict the former Vice President.

Binay has denied any wrongdoing and claimed the Ombudsman is biased against members of the opposition and that the cases against him and his family are politically motivated.

Morales dismissed Binay's claims, saying her office is an independent body that goes where the evidence leads, and does not follow what politics dictate.

In a statement, Binay's Spokesperson Joey Salgado said the former Vice President is ready to face the charges filed against him.

“The Ombudsman should also be ready to account for her actions in the civil suit pending before the courts,” he added.

The controversial parking building was also the subject of a lengthy Senate investigation that led to probes also of Binay’s various properties.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the senators who called for the probe, said, "This proves that the Senate investigations we conducted against him weren't just political."

Related: Senate wraps up probe on Binay family’s wealth

'Charges are baseless'

Salgado told CNN Philippines on Thursday that Binay is eager to confront his accusers and the evidence against him.

He said the former Vice President is “especially looking forward to clearing his name and proving all these charges are baseless.”

He said that for the past seven years, COA carried out 11 audits on this project, including one that was conducted by the commission’s engineering and architecture experts.

Ito lang ang laging conclusion ng COA: Nag-comply sa lahat ng bidding requirements, walang iregularidad, walang overpricing,” he said.

[Translation: COA had only one conclusion: All bidding requirements were complied with, no irregularities, no overpricing.]

He said Binay is currently busy with his foundation which provides livelihood projects and assistance to the poor.

CNN Philippines correspondent AC Nicholls and intern Monica Ciara Mabuti contributed to this story.