Makati probe: Binay Jr asks Guingona to overturn subcommittee
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr will continue to question the jurisdiction of a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee over the probe into an allegedly overpriced Makati city building.
Binay’s counsel Claro Certeza told Rappler on Wednesday, October 1, that they will file a manifestation before Senate blue ribbom committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III in hopes of overturning the decision of subcommittee chairman Aquilino Pimentel III junking their earlier jurisdictional challenge.
“Senator Guingona has been saying that they (committee) can overturn [Pimentel’s decision]. Umaasa ako na (I hope) he will be true to his word,” Certeza told Rappler. The manifestation was to be submitted Wednesday afternoon.
The manifestation was being filed the day before the subcommittee continues its hearing on Thursday, October 2. Binay was subpoenaed to the subcommittee’s last hearing on September 25 but was a no-show.
Hours before the scheduled hearing, the mayor held a press conference to announce that they would file a jurisdictional challenge before the committee. The same day, Pimentel rejected Binay’s challenge, citing Senate rules.
Senate rules say the jurisdiction of the Senate blue ribbon committee covers:
"All matters relating to, including investigation of, malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities; implementation of the provision of the Constitution on nepotism; and investigation of any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its attention by any member of the Senate"
But Binay’s camp asserts Guingona, being the committee chairman, should be the one to decide on the challenge. “With all due respect to [Senator Pimentel], the chairman himself should answer the jurisdictional challenge,” said Certeza.
“I expect [Senator Guingona] to follow the rules. The rules are clear to us,” Certeza added, citing Section 3 of the Senate’s Resolution No. 5 on the “Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation.”
The section reads:
“If the jurisdiction of the Committee is challenged on any ground, the said issue must first be resolved by the Committee before proceeding with the inquiry.”
Binay and his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, face a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman for an allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II that critics say is just a “parking building.” The case sparked the Senate probe into the issue.
Since the probe began more than a month ago, former allies and city government officials have come forward to accuse the Binay family of corruption in city hall.
- Nancy Binay to critics: Go ahead, impeach my dad
- From cakes to buildings, Binays ‘overprice, chop-chop’
- COA chief: No clearance for Makati building
- Mayor Binay concedes ‘possible’ Makati building overpriced
- Teary-eyed Abigail Binay fails to 'confront' Cayetano
- Ex-Binay aide: VP, Nancy earned from building, cakes
- COA: ‘Many questions’ on Makati building
- Binay: Makati even ‘saved’ P200M from building
- Cayetano on Makati building: 'World class' just Binay's 'palusot'
- Former employee: Fixing bids 'usual practice' in Makati
- Former ally: VP Binay got 13% from Makati projects
Witnesses alleged all of the Binays – the vice president, his wife former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, son Mayor Binay, and daughters Senator Nancy Binay and Representative Abigail Binay – were complicit and benefitted from kickbacks and rigged bids in the city. (READ: Former ally: VP Binay got 13% from Makati projects)
It’s one of the things the Binays have cried foul over. “Nagsimula tayo sa building, eh ngayon kung ano-ano ang nangyayari doon,” said Certeza. (We started with the building, but now a lot of different other things are happening during the hearing.)
“Parang open season – lahat ng may galit sa mga Binay, pumila kayo dito. Mahirap naman 'yun,” added the mayor’s legal counsel. (It’s open season – anyone who has a grudge against the Binays, fall in line here. That’s unfair.)
Will Binay attend probe?
In previous interviews, Pimentel said they would re-issue a subpoena for Mayor Binay and his subordinates in the Makati city government, none of whom showed up during the last hearing.
Certeza said he has yet to speak to Binay or Makati officials but asserted that the subcommittee should stop all hearings until Guingona decides on the issue.
The lawyer also said that should the Senate reject their appeal, they would take it to the Supreme Court due to the nature of the probe.
The Binays have claimed the probe on the allegedly overpriced building was a mere ploy to drag down the Vice President’s name.
The older Binay is the only candidate with clear and public plans to run for the presidency in 2016.
Since the probe began, his ratings have slipped although he still leads the surveys by a considerable margin.
The Vice President was also invited to attend the last hearing but begged off, opting to visit the new housing area of informal settler families. – Rappler.com