MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr on Tuesday, January 27, lashed back at his accusers, saying they are behind the “script” of the Senate probe into the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
Binay made the comment in an interview with reporters a couple of hours before the Senate was set to discuss the detainment order against the mayor and several others after they were cited for contempt for repeatedly snubbing Senate hearings.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano had accused Binay of theatrics after the latter said he was ready to surrender should the Senate decide to order his detainment.
“Si Mayor Junjun, payag siyang magpakulong. Hindi naman ito kulungan, Senado ito eh (Mayor Junjun said he’s willing to be detained. But this is not a jail; this is the Senate),” Cayetano told reporters.
The senator added: “Sila pinagbibintangan na gumawa ng anomaly, sila ang ayaw sumagot, tapos sila ang magdadrama na inaapi sila….Nakakaawa ba ang isang bilyon-bilyon pinag-uusapang overpriced [building], eh hinihingi lang nating magpaliwanag siya?”
(They who are being accused of committing anomalies are the ones who don’t want to respond [to the allegations], then they’re acting as if they’re being bullied. Should we take pity on a multibillion-peso overpriced building, when we are just asking him to explain?)
Mayor Binay said Tuesday’s Senate meeting was proof that the contempt citation and subsequent signing of the detention order was rushed.
But he said he would comply with the Senate decision, even as he criticized what he called biased and unfair proceedings against his family.
Binay has snubbed 3 Senate hearings on the investigation – a move that prompted Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee conducting the probe, to recommend citing the Makati mayor and other officials in contempt.
Mayor Binay said he has not been accorded fair and due process, and that he has been treated as an accused instead of a resource person appearing at the Senate in aid of legislation.
“Ang hinihingi namin, mabigay lang sa amin ang mga tanong para makatulong kami sa hearing ng Senado (We are asking to be furnished the questions so that we can help the Senate hearing). It’s not too much to ask,” he said.
The investigation has since dug up many other alleged anomalies – from a vast estate supposedly owned by Binay, rigging bids and condominiums received in exchange for favors – that implicated the now Vice President, his wife, and his son, the incumbent mayor.
Arrest delayed again
Binay’s arrest was delayed again as the Senate decided late Tuesday afternoon to give its members one day to study clashing interpretations on the Senate rules on quorum.
Cayetano told reporters that the chamber will decide on Wednesday whether or not only two members or one-third of all committee members constitute a quorum for all Senate committee meetings, hearings, and investigations.
Binay’s allies led by Acting Senate Minority Leader Sotto insisted that one-third of committee members must be the threshold for the quorum. Sotto and Senator Nancy Binay questioned why only Senators Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Aquilino Pimentel III were present in the meeting to cite Binay in contempt.
Yet Cayetano said that Binay’s arrest is only a matter of time.
“It’s a question of procedure or legality rather than a question of whether or not he must be arrested. Everyone agrees he should be arrested. The only question is if the procedure was right,” Cayetano said. – Rappler.com