Miriam: Binay's snub of Senate hearing sign of guilt
MANILA, Philippines – "My thoughts are from the Bible. The Bible says, the innocent are as brave as the lion; the guilty flee. Period."
This was how Senator Miriam Santiago phrased her comment on the continued refusal of Vice President Jejomar Binay to appear before the Senate to answer a string of corruption allegations raised against him. (READ: Binay skips Senate Blue Ribbon hearing)
Binay on Thursday morning did not appear at the hearing arranged by the Senate blue ribbon committee to let him explain his side in a subcommittee's probe into the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II when he was mayor.
In the course of several hearings, Binay has been accused by witnesses of earning kickbacks from allegedly overpriced city infrastructure projects and of illegally owning a 350-hectare Batangas farm called "Hacienda Binay," which he has not declared in his statements of assets. (READ: Caught on Instagram? VP daughter's 'Hacienda Binay' photos)
On Thursday afternoon, Santiago said in a press conference that the Vice President forfeited his chance to belie the allegations.
It was Binay's camp that first suggested the vice president may honor an invitation from the mother committee.
"Mahirap na siya mawari ngayon kasi ang dami niya sinasabi. 'Hindi totoo ito, hindi too yan. Ito ang totoo.' Ngayon, mayroon siyang pagkakataon," said Santiago. (It's difficult to understand him. He's saying a lot of things. "This is not true. That is not true. This is the truth." He was given his chance today.)
"That is his due process. A lot of negative evidence has been presented against him," she added.
Santiago said Binay can no longer question the jurisdiction of the subcommittee. When he sent representatives to appear before the subcommittee, Santiago said that meant he already accepted the jurisdiction of the subcommittee.
"For him to now cry that there's no juridiscation is too late in the day. That is not how it works," said Santiago.
Santiago said the Senate may even subpoena Binay. The invitation from the mother blue ribbon mother committee was only a "hallmark of courtesy" extended to his office.
"I hope that this will not go further than that. I hope the committee will not be sending a subponea. Disobedience will be tantamount to contempt. We may detain the person in the Senate Detention Center," she said. – Rappler.com