Drilon: Senate panel has jurisdiction over Makati probe
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Friday, September 26, that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has jurisdiction over the probe on the alleged overpriced Makati City Building 2 as this is being done "in aid of legislation."
Drilon was responding to the “jurisdictional challenge” posed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay to the Senate panel, which the local official believed had no jurisdiction over the matter.
"I firmly believe that the Blue Ribbon Committee has jurisdiction. As defined in the rules, on the basis of the resolution filed, there can be hearings in aid of legislation. This is an investigation in aid of legislation," the senator said.
Asked if the High Court can stop any legislative function, should Mayor Binay elevate the matter before it, Drilon said: "I don’t believe the Supreme Court has the power to enjoin legislative acts. The principle of separation of powers dictates that we are supreme in our own sphere."
He added that "a number of cases have been brought to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court has always sustained the right of legislature to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation."
The Senate probe was sparked by plunder raps filed against the Makati mayor and his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, over the alleged overpriced Makati building.
Instead of going to the Senate hearing on September 25, Mayor Binay issued a statement at city hall, saying that he would send a letter of jurisidictional challenge to the Senate to question the jurisdiction of both the subcommittee and the Blue Ribbon committee over the matter.
Mayor Binay claimed that the hearings are done "in the furtherance of personal agenda" so he decided to skip subsequent hearings.
The Binay camp claims that the Senate probe is politically motivated, as Vice President Binay continues to be the current runaway winner in polls on presidential aspirants. Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, who are part of the Senate panel conducting the probe, are reportedly eyeing higher office in 2016.
The probe opened the door to other allegations against his father and family members, made by former Makati City officials, ranging from alleged overpriced birthday birthday cakes for Makati’s senior citizens, to alleged kickbacks for Binay family members for every city project, led by the Vice President who reportedly got 13% for every project. – Rappler.com