Guingona to Mayor Binay: Show up or else
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It’s his final call.
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III on Friday, January 23, urged Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr and other Makati officials to “respect and heed the summons of the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee for them to appear at the hearings being led by Senator Koko Pimentel.”
Pimentel wants to cite Binay and 6 others in contempt for repeatedly refusing to face the subcommittee, which is investigating allegations that Mayor Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, dipped into the city of Makati’s coffers during his more than two-decade reign as mayor.
Both father and son face plunder raps over alleged overpriced city buildings.
“I make this final call as an effort on my part to avert a situation where the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee would have to issue an Arrest Order for Mayor Binay and other officials concerned,” Guingona said in a statement.
On Monday, January 26, the Blue Ribbon Committee is set to meet and discuss Pimentel’s request.
“The Committee cannot and will not tolerate the refusal of such parties to obey its summons. Let it be clear that it is within the power of the Committee to order their arrest and detention,” Guingona said.
He added: “As chair of the Committee, I am bound by my sworn duties to protect the interest of the public and the processes of the Senate. The exercise of the power to issue and arrest order is part of that protection."
'Due process, please'
It will take only two votes from the 20-strong Blue Ribbon committee to put Mayor Binay and the other Makati officials in jail for refusing to heed several subpoenas issued to them.
In a statement released Friday, the younger Binay appealed for “due process” from the Senate.
“If you may recall, I appeared before the sub-committee and answered the questions from the senators for six hours. However, I was either cut off or denied the chance to reply. The senators simply wanted to humiliate me,” he said.
The Binay camp had earlier criticized the Senate subcommittee, labelling it a “kangaroo court.”
“While the senators threaten me with contempt, they have not taken any action to discipline their witnesses who have lied under oath several times. This is most unfair,” he added.
Binay added he would “act accordingly once a formal order is issued.”
Pimentel said he was willing to withdraw his recommendation should the younger Binay and his city officials show up at the subcommittee’s Thursday, January 22 hearing. None of them did.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, in an interview with media on Thursday, said he does not expect Binay or any of the Makati officials to show up in any of the hearings, nor would he trust any commitments from them.
The subcommittee was initially convened to probe the alleged overpriced Makati City Building 2. But since the probe began in August 2014, it has branched out into other allegations of corruption against Binay and his family. (READ: 'Hacienda Binay' under VP's friends, aides' names)
Pimentel on Thursday also allowed a resolution filed by Trillanes which would expand the investigation to include alleged anomalies with deals in the Pag-IBIG Fund and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. Binay is the chairman of Pag-IBIG and the national president of the BSP. (READ: Did Binay use Boy Scout funds for 2010 bid?)
Binay has denied the allegations against him, accusing whistleblowers and senators of using the probe to besmirch his name in time for the 2016 presidential elections. – Rappler.com