MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr said on Thursday, March 12, that he intends to stay at the Makati city hall for as long as “needed” as he fights a suspension order over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building.
Binay said his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, urged him to remain steadfast in facing the same challenge that the latter hurdled – also in his second term as Makati mayor – in 2006.
The mayor made the statement on Thursday, March 12, after spending the night with his father at Makati city hall while awaiting the Court of Appeals ruling on his petition for a temporary restraining order on the Ombudsman’s 6-month preventive suspension order.
Asked how long he would remain in city hall, the mayor said, “Hangga’t kailangan kaming manatili dito, hindi kami aalis (We will stay here for as long as necessary).”
His father was in the same situation in 2006, when the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a two-month suspension order against the then Makati mayor and Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, and all members of the city council over allegations of “ghost employees” made by former Vice Mayor Roberto Brillante.
The older Binay barricaded himself in city hall and refused to step down, resulting in a 3-day stand-off with authorities. It ended after the Court of Appeals issued a TRO, and then an injunction order that kept the Office of the President from enforcing the order until the case was resolved.
Asked what advice his father gave him and what they discussed the previous night, Binay said: “Lagi naman niyang sinasabi, magpakatibay ako dito, magpakatatag ako. Ginugunita namin ang nangyari noong 2006. Sabi niya ganitong-ganito kasi second term rin [niya] nang nangyari ito.“
(He always says that I should remain steadfast; strong. We recalled what happened in 2006. He said this was exactly what happened during his second term.)
Asked if he would stop his supporters from forming a human barricade to keep authorities from enforcing the order, he said, “Tingnan natin. Kailangan pakinggan natin kung ano ang sasabihin ng mga tao (We’ll see. We have to listen to what the people would say).”
When asked, Binay said that leaving city hall prior to the resolution of his petition would be like “giving away” his elective post as it would pave the way for the assumption of the Vice Mayor Romulo Peña, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, as acting mayor.
Binay said he will discuss with his legal team “other available remedies” should the CA thumb down his petition.
Binay also urged the DILG to respect his pending petition, adding that the allegation against him “doesn’t even warrant” a 6-month suspension. He said there have been 17 Senate hearings on the alleged overpriced building, and his office had submitted to the Senate panel all the documents that it had subpoenaed.
He maintained that the contract in question happened during his father’s time, and that if had any involvement at all, this would be extinguished by the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” which renders moot administrative cases of re-elected officials during their previous term.
Binay also reiterated that the suspension order is linked to the 2016 elections.
Meanwhile, two senators leading the Senate probe into corruption allegations against the Vice President and members of his family chided the mayor for allegedly projecting the Binay family as an “underdog.”
“Mayor Junjun Binay is projecting as if inaapi sila. Sila nga ang naghahari-harian sa Makati all this time at sila ang nagabuso sa tiwala at mandato na binigay sa kanila ng mga taga-Makati. Gumawa sila ng kalokohan, nabuko sila, ngayon harapin nila ang hustisya,” said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
(Mayor Binay is projecting as if they are being persecuted. They are the ones lording it over Makati all this time and they had abused the trust and mandate given to them by the people of Makati. They committed irregularities, they were found out, they should now face the music.)
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said, “Ang tanong ngayon: ang sasabihin ba ni Junjun Binay order o advice (The question now is will Junjun Binay say order or advice)?” – Rappler.com