Binay's lawyer urge Drilon to follow own rules
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2014 - 4:55pm

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon and the entire Senate should follow the rule on the resolution on the issue of jurisdictional challenge raised by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay instead of threatening to cite him and other Makati city government for contempt, the mayor’s spokesman said Saturday.

“Mayor Binay has presented a reasonable appeal to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to desist from its inquiry into the Makati parking lot building because after all the ombudsman now has jurisdiction over the related plunder case. In response, Sen. Drilon threatens to hold the mayor in contempt and throw him in jail. Drilon says that no one is above the law. We agree, and that includes the senators,” said Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado.

Salgado stressed that under the rules of the Senate, neither Drilon nor the members of the Blue Ribbon sub-committee can cite anyone in contempt and order their arrests.

“It has to be the whole committee. But also under the rules, a jurisdictional challenge has to be resolved by the whole committee, not by one senator or a sub-committee. All we want is for Drilon and the sub-committee to follow their own rules,” said Salgado.

Drilon had advised Mayor Binay to respect the processes of the Senate, including the subpoenas issued for him to attend the Blue Ribbon committee’s hearings on the allegedly overpriced parking building constructed by the Makati City government.

Drilon said the investigation being conducted by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III is valid and within its jurisdiction because it is in aid of legislation and involves allegations of misuse of public funds.

While acknowledging that it is the right of Binay to bring up the question of jurisdiction to the Blue Ribbon committee, Drilon aired his full support to the conduct of investigation as part of the powers of the Senate and as a legal process.

Drilon said the Senate has extended all courtesies to the Binay family, particularly to the Vice President, who is the subject of the probe since the parking building was constructed when he was still mayor of Makati City.

In particular, Drilon pointed out that the Vice President was not forced to attend the hearings in spite of his refusal to honor the invitation sent out by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee. Drilon would not endorse any move to issue a subpoena to the Vice President to attend the hearing out of courtesy to his office.

However, in the case of Mayor Binay and the Makati City Hall officials who have been issued subpoenas, Drilon said that the same courtesy does not extend to them.

“No one is above the law. Everyone is equal under the law. If everyone else can be ordered by the Blue Ribbon committee to give their explanations, I suppose the same applies to the Mayor of Makati. He should also be made to explain,” Drilon said.

“I hope that Mayor Junjun Binay respects our processes in the Senate. I hope that Mayor Junjun Binay and his people will show up (for the next hearing),” he added.

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