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Mayor Binay questions Senate body jurisdiction to subpoena him for probe

/ 08:01 PM September 25, 2014
junjun binay

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Claiming that the Senate has prejudged him and his family, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay was a no-show during the Senate hearing on Thursday as he questioned the jurisdiction of the Senate sub-committee to issue a subpoena ordering him to appear in the proceeding.

In his jurisdictional challenge filed to the Senate, Binay said the sub-committee “committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction” when it issued a subpoena against him.

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According to Binay, the sub-committee does not have jurisdiction “to determine whether or not he violated Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) or Republic Act No. 7080 (Plunder Act) as the matter “is within the province of the courts rather than of the legislature.”

“I have faced the Senate. I was respectful, compliant and submitted myself to the authority of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee in the name of truth and transparency,” Binay said in a speech delivered at his office at the City Hall on Thursday morning. He was referring to his appearance at the Senate hearing last Aug. 20.

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The Makati mayor added that he was “hopeful” that the senators in the panel would show a sense of proper decorum during the hearing.

“However during the course of the hearing, it became apparent that the proceedings were not in the pursuit of truth but rather in furtherance of personal agenda. Worse, the senators have prejudged me and my family,” he said.

As for the discussion of the real issue being investigated, Binay said that the Senate inquiry deviated from the Makati building investigation and focused more on the other issues like the cake for the senior citizens and the city budget.

“With the actions and remarks of the sub-committee, they have clearly passed judgment on us even before the start of the inquiry,” Binay said noting that this has pushed him to question the jurisdiction of the Senate blue ribbon committee and sub-committee.

The Makati mayor called the filing of the jurisdictional challenge as a constitutional right also provided in the rules of the Senate itself.

“Until this pleading is resolved, it is my right to temporarily not attend the Senate hearing,” Binay added.

Patricia Alvarez, Binay’s legal counsel, told the media during a press conference at the City Hall, that they decided to resort to the action “because it has been apparent that the purpose of this inquiry is no longer in aid of legislation.”

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She also explained that the decision of the mayor not to attend the Senate hearing has been supported by a motion to quash the subpoena pending the resolution of the jurisdictional challenge.

Asked what would be their next step if the Senate denied their challenge, Alvarez said that they would “definitely exhaust” their remedies.

“And until they resolve this jurisdictional challenge, the Senate should suspend further proceedings,” she added.

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