Sandiganbayan acquits Elenita Binay over graft

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Sandiganbayan on Thursday acquitted former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay of graft charges.

Binay faced cases over the alleged anomalous P13-million purchase of office furniture for the new Makati City Hall building.

Binay's lawyer, Sandra Marie Olaso-Coronel, said the anti-graft court's Fourth Division ruled the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

It likewise acquitted Binay's co-accused: former councilor and general services chief Ernesto Aspillaga and Vivian Edna Edurise, corporate officer of winning contractor Office Gallery International Inc.

Olaso-Coronel said the Binay family is very happy and relieved with the ruling, especially because the case has been pending for a long time.

A total of five cases related to the purchase of Makati City Hall furniture were filed against Binay before the Sandiganbayan, Olaso-Coronel said.

Three cases were earlier dismissed by the Sandiganbayan due to insufficient evidence.

There is only one case remaining that has yet to be resolved by the Sandiganbayan, in connection with the purchase of furniture and fixtures worth P72 million from Office Gallery in 1999.

Olaso-Coronel said the dismissal of the case and Binay's acquittal discredit the Commission on Audit report, which was the basis of all cases filed.

Binay is also facing four other graft and malversation cases over the alleged anomalous purchase of P45-million worth of hospital beds and sterilizers for the city-run Ospital ng Makati in 2000 and 2001.