Makati mayor gets 60-day restraining order on suspension

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Mayor Binay (3rd from left) shows the media on March 16 a copy of the temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals on the preventive suspension issued by the Ombudsman. With him (from left to right) are his counsel lawyer Claro Certeza, lawyer JV Bautista, and Rep. Toby Tiangco.

(CNN Philippines) — The Court of Appeals (CA) on Monday (March 16) issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the preventive suspension by the Ombudsman of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.

The Sixth Division of the appellate court decided to rule in favor of Binay’s petition for certiorari questioning the legality of his suspension for six months.

Related: Makati mayor placed under preventive suspension

The court directed both parties to present their oral arguments on March 30 and 31.

It also ordered Binay to post bail of P500,000 as a condition for the granting of a TRO.

The Office of the Ombudsman, meantime, was commanded to comment on Binay's petition for certiorari within 10 days upon receipt of the TRO.

The CA ruling came out on Monday, just a few hours after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) served the Ombudman’s order. At almost the same time, Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. was sworn in as new mayor.

Video: Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. takes oath

Binay, however, said he would continue to discharge his duties pending the Court of Appeal's decision on his 25-page motion for certiorari filed last week.

The Ombudsman’s suspension order against Binay and 22 other officials stemmed from the malversation, falsification, graft, and violation of the procurement law in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

In his petition, Binay said the suspension was illegal as he was not yet the city mayor during the first two phases of the controversial project, which began in 2007.

Binay, who became Makati mayor in 2010 and was reelected in 2013, added that while his signatures appeared in the documents for the project's latter phases, conspiracy cannot be assumed in the said case.

He slammed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for acting with what he called grave abuse of discretion when she ordered the preventive suspension despite the weak evidence of guilt against him

Both Morales and the DILG served the Ombudsman's suspension order by simply posting it at the entrance of the Makati City Hall building.

They were named respondents in Binay’s appeal.

‘Not my fault’

Binay, meanwhile, apologized to Makati residents for the disruption of services at the Makati City Hall. He blamed the more than 2,000 policemen who barricaded the city hall premises which effectively suspended its operations.

As of posting time, there were still about a thousand of Makati residents at the Makati City Hall premises, saying they would not leave as long as Binay was still holed up in his office.

CNN Philippines' AC Nicholls and Fiona Nicolas contributed to this report.