In a letter to Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the younger Binay’s explanations for defying 3 subpoenas were “unacceptable.”
“Please remember that a contempt of the Subcommittee is a contempt of the Committee, which in turn is a contempt of the Senate,” wrote Pimentel in a letter dated January 13, 2015, but released to the media only on Tuesday, January 20.
Other officials Pimentel wants cited in contempt include:
- Tomas Lopez, University of Makati president and Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees Member
- Eleno Mendoza, Makati City Administrator
- Line Dela Peña, Assistant City Engineer
- Ebeng Baloloy, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s aide and alleged bagman
- Marjorie De Veyra, former Makati city administrator
- Bernadette Portollano
Guingona issued a notice of meeting to all members of the Blue Ribbon Committee to discuss Pimentel’s proposal on January 26.
Mayor Binay was summoned to appear before the Senate on September 25, October 2, and October 30.
In letters to the subcommittee submitted through his lawyer, the mayor said he should not be cited in contempt since he was only “availing of the remedies under the Senate Rules,” he had a jurisdictional challenge pending before the courts, and he wants to receive a copy of questions that would be asked beforehand.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Office of the Vice President said the Senate had yet to comply with Mayor Binay’s last request.
Claro Certeza, the younger Binay’s legal counsel, said resource persons had the right to know in advance questions the committee will ask, citing the Supreme Court decision in Romulo Neri vs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
“The officials of Makati City Hall have no intention of defying the subpoena issued by the subcommittee… [but] they cannot be faulted for not appearing in the Senate because the request to be furnished an advance copy of the questions is yet to be acted upon by the panel,” the statement read.
Should he be cited in contempt, Mayor Binay can be detained until he agrees to testify.
Pimentel is among 3 senators leading the subcommittee’s probe into allegations that Vice President Binay fixed rigs and received kickbacks during his stint as mayor of Makati.
The corruption allegedly continued when Binay’s wife, Elenita Binay, took over as mayor and even his son, the incumbent mayor, took office in 2010.
The Senate probe started in August 2014 after plunder raps were filed against the Vice President and his son over an alleged overpriced Makati City Building. The probe has since branched out into other topics including a vast hacienda supposedly owned by Binay, condominiums received in exchange for favors from city hall, foreign bank accounts, and other supposedly overpriced buildings.
Mayor Binay showed up during the first hearing but has thus far refused to appear again, instead sending Makati officials to answer questions from the senators.
During the August hearing, Binay conceded it was “possible” the building was overpriced.
The Binays have dismissed the Senate probe and the plunder case against their patriarch, insisting these are merely part of a ploy to derail the Vice President’s presidential bid in 2016.
Binay, the current frontrunner for the presidency in 2016, has seen his public approval numbers, as well as his voters’ preference figures, go down considerably since the probe began.
The Vice President has snubbed invitations from the Senate – by both the subcommittee and the mother committee – to air his side in the biggest corruption scandal to hit him to date. – Rappler.com
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