UNA: Cayetano, Pimentel, Trillanes ‘out of control’

Fritzie Rodriguez
UNA: Cayetano, Pimentel, Trillanes ‘out of control’

Mark Fredesjed R. Cristino

'We don’t allow gatecrashing here, sir,' Senator Alan Peter Cayetano tells UNA interim secretary-general JV Bautista who wanted to speak during the Senate hearing

MANILA, Philippines – A ruckus erupted at the Senate session hall on Thursday, October 30, after members of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) were barred from speaking before a Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing. 

The subcommittee has been probing allegations of UNA founder Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wealth, sparked by plunder complaints filed against him and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. 

Binay is accussed of amassing ill-gotten wealth by ridding bids and accepting kickbacks during his time as Makati mayor. Two UNA officials want the probe’s lead “whistleblower”, former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado to be “impeached” as a witness for being a “liar.” 

UNA interim secretary-general Jose Virgilio Bautista wanted to speak as the hearing began but Senator Alan Peter Cayetano barred him from doing so. “We don’t allow gatecrashing here, sir,” he said. 

Subcommittee chairman Senator Aquilino Pimentel III then asked the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms to bring the UNA official to his “proper place.”

Another UNA official, interim president and Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco intervened and asked the senators allow them to make a presentation.

They were not allowed to do so. As they were escorted out of the session hall, Bautista was defiant and shouted: “They have a lying witness and we can prove that we have a lying witness. Cayetano, [Antonio] Trillanes will not listen to anybody but Mercado.”  

 

ACCUSATION. 'The senators are out of control,' charges UNA's JV Bautista. Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler

 

Bautista, in an impromptu press conference at the Senate, later criticized the senators for their actions. “The senators are out of control. They can’t even control himself,” said Bautista. 

The two men’s insistence stems from an October 22 statement made by Mercado, wherein he said he would be willing to take back his testimony should they prove he was hospitalized.

Bautista and Tiangco then showed hospital records showing Mercado was indeed hospitalized. 

Tiangco said they would formally ask the subcommittee to strike all of Mercado’s testimony off the record as a result of his “lies.” – Rappler.com


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