Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. talks to the media on Friday inside the Makati City Hall Building. Binay said he will stay in the building despite a suspension order from the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in the overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II.(MNS photo)

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. talks to the media on Friday inside the Makati City Hall Building. Binay said he will stay in the building despite a suspension order from the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in the overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — A Court of Appeals justice handling a motion against the preventive suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. has inhibited from the case, citing links to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Roxas heads the Department of the Interior and Local Government, a respondent in the Binay case pending before the CA’s Tenth Division. It was the DILG that served the Ombudsman’s suspension order.

In a one-page letter, Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo said she has decided to recuse from the Binay case because her husband works at a law firm where one of the partners is Roxas’ cousin.

“It was recently brought to my attention that the Secretary of respondent Department of Interior and Local Government, who was directed to implement the Ombudsman’s joint order in the above-captioned case, is the first cousin of one of the co-partners of my husband in their law firm,” said the CA justice.

Leagogo said she was voluntarily inhibiting from participating in the Binay case “in the interest of impartiality in the proper discharge of my judicial office.”

Justice Leagogo is also a former law partner of former Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr., who was the canvassing lawyer of Roxas during the May 2010 elections.

Leagogo was a former senior partner of “The Firm” or the Carpio Villaraza Marcelo Cruz Angangco law office.

The original members of “The Firm” were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Atty. Arthur “Pancho” Villaraza, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and Cruz.

Binay earlier asked the court to issue a TRO or writ for preliminary injunction against the suspension order issued in connection with the mayor’s alleged involvement in irregularities in the construction of a Makati Science High School building.

Binay had initially refused to vacate his office, saying the issuance of the suspension order had no justification.

In a June 30 resolution penned by Associate Justice Melchor Sadang, the appelate court’s 10th Division deferred taking action on Binay’s petition to stop his six-month preventive suspension from office.

Instead, it ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and the DILG to file their respective comments on Binay’s petition within 10 days.

After failing to secure an immediate restraining order from the CA, Binay decided to temporarily step down from office.

Last March, the Ombudsman also ordered the suspension of Binay and other officials in connection with the allegedly overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II. The mayor, however, received a TRO against the suspension order from the appellate court.

The Supreme Court then indefinitely suspended the implementation of the suspension order pending a resolution on a case that the Ombudsman filed to question the authority of the CA justices in stopping the implementation of the suspension.(MNS)