DILG on Binay contempt case: 'Baseless'

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday, March 18, said there was no basis for the contempt case filed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay against the officials who served the suspension order against him.

In a statement issued by DILG Undersecretary Peter Irving Corvera, the department said it "merely acted as an agent of the Ombudsman in implementing the suspension order."

"If the DILG did not comply with the Ombudsman’s order, then there would have been basis to cite the DILG in contempt," the statement read.

On Tuesday, March 17, Binay's camp filed a petition with the Court of Appeals (CA) to cite in contempt DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II and several others for refusing to honor a court ruling stopping the suspension of the mayor.

Also included in the petition for contempt are:

The Binay camp earlier hit the DILG for insisting that the suspension order it served against Binay early Monday still stands.

The DILG said that it had already served the suspension order, and facilitated the swearing-in of Peña as acting mayor, hours before the CA's order stopping the suspension was issued.

Supported by Ombudsman

In its statement, the DILG reiterated its earlier position that because the TRO was issued late, "there was nothing more to restrain." This was echoed by the Ombudsman, who said that the TRO against Binay was "moot and academic."

The DILG pointed out that both the Ombudsman and the Justice Department, in their legal opinion, supported the DILG's position on the TRO. 

"Therefore, any case for contempt filed against the DILG should not prosper given that the DILG was merely carrying out its deputized ministerial task of implementing the Ombudsman’s Order and consistently acting in consideration thereof," the statement added.

Binay was served the 6-month preventive suspension last Monday, March 16, over allegations of irregularities related to the contract for the construction of a Makati city hall building, an accusation he denies.

Since the TRO was issued by the appellate court, his camp has insisted that he remains the lawful mayor of Makati.

Peña, however, has also invoked the rule of law in staking his claim to the top post as acting mayor. Rappler.com