Binay blocks Senate invite for dad to attend probe on ‘pricey’ buildings | Inquirer News

Binay blocks Senate invite for dad to attend probe on ‘pricey’ buildings

/ 04:51 AM August 13, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday dared Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to file an impeachment complaint against her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, if the former wanted to hold him accountable for alleged corruption.

However, she objected to Trillanes’ suggestion that her father be invited to testify at a Senate investigation into allegations that two buildings constructed during his term as Makati mayor were overpriced. The probe would be headed by the Vice President’s former party mate, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, with whom he had a falling out.

Senator Binay said some courtesy must be accorded to her father and the allegations against him should be brought up in the proper forum.


According to her, whenever there are allegations against the President, he is not invited to Senate hearings. The same should hold true for the Vice President who is not even required to attend budget hearings.


“If [Trillanes] has allegations of corruption or anything, I think the proper [thing for him to do] is to file an impeachment complaint against my father,” she told reporters.

Trillanes said that the complainants and other witnesses would be asked to appear in the Aug. 20 hearing while Vice President Binay would be invited to subsequent hearings to refute the allegations against him.

The Vice President is the “central figure” in the issue and not his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., Trillanes added. He also pointed out that the issue was imbued with public interest because it concerned Vice President Binay and a potential future chief executive.

“Definitely he has to be invited. All evidence has to be presented, all sides have to come out. They might say it’s just a demolition job,” he told reporters, adding that this would prove to be true only if it turns out that there was no evidence against him.

He also said that the Vice President would be issued an invitation—not a subpoena—and accorded proper courtesy.

During a visit to Pili, Camarines Sur, where he inspected housing projects on Tuesday, Vice President Binay welcomed the Senate probe into the two buildings—an 11-story parking building costing P2.4 billion, according to Trillanes and the 22-story Makati City Hall.


“We will be able to show to God and the people that the allegations are not true and without basis,” he said.

He reiterated that the Commission on Audit had said the parking building was not overpriced. He also defended the project, saying he wanted Makati to have a good building while pointing out that the city had the funds for its construction.

Senator Binay, meanwhile, said that the impending investigation was obviously a demolition job as she questioned how Pimentel ended up heading the probe.

Trillanes’ resolution calling for a Senate investigation was referred to the blue ribbon committee but its chair, Sen. Teofisto Guingona, acceded to Pimentel’s request to chair the hearing.

Senator Binay said that should this be allowed, any of the senators must also be permitted to preside over a hearing on a topic of their choice such as the Malampaya fund scam, an obvious dig at Guingona.

Earlier, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is detained on charges that he benefited from the P10-billion pork barrel scam, accused Guingona of avoiding a Senate inquiry into the Malampaya fund scam to protect administration allies.

According to Senator Binay, she was worried that the inquiry would “open a can of worms” and pave the way for local disputes to be the subject of Senate investigations just because the parties concerned have allies among the senators.

For his part, Pimentel was quick to say that he would be fair and objective, pointing out that his falling out with the Vice President had nothing to do with his request to head the probe.

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Both used to belong to the PDP-Laban party which was part of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). The two, however, had a falling out over UNA’s inclusion of former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri in its senatorial slate. Pimentel had accused Zubiri of cheating him out of a Senate seat during the 2007 elections. Binay eventually left the PDP-Laban.–With Christine O. Avendaño

TAGS: Nancy Binay, Probe, Senate

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