Binay camp to Cayetano: ‘Man up, file charges’
MANILA, Philippines — The spokesmen of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday dared Senator Alan Peter Cayetano to “man up” and file charges against them for “gatecrashing” a Senate probe over the alleged corruption involving the former Makati City mayor.
In a press conference, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco said Cayetano only wanted to silence them when the panel voted to bar them from reading Binay’s statement after the vice president snubbed Thursday’s hearing.
“Man up! File a criminal offense against me and Atty. JV Bautista,” Tiangco said in Filipino.
Cayetano said during the hearing that the Revised Penal Code punishes disruption of Senate hearings.
Citing the penal code, Cayetano said disturbance of proceedings is punished with aresto mayor and a fine of P200 to P1,000.
He also said the code penalizes the prevention of assembly meetings with prision correcional and a fine of P200 to P2,000.
But Cayetano said he will not file a case but he hoped it will not happen again.
Tiangco and Bautista drew Cayetano’s ire when they both tried to barge in one Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing despite not being invited as guest speakers.
Before Thursday’s hearing started, Tiangco and UNA interim secretary general Bautista personally met with Senators Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III and asked if they can read the vice president’s statement and affidavit on why he snubbed the hearing.
Of the four, only Guingona voted to allow them.
Pimentel maintained that the subcommittee will only allow Binay to attend and not any authorized representative.
Bautista slammed the panel for silencing Binay’s representatives.
He particularly singled out Cayetano as a “coward” for not allowing them to speak in the hearing.
“It seems like Senator Cayetano is being coward. They only want their voices to be heard,” Bautista said.
Binay’s spokesmen said they did not “gatecrash” the Senate probe, adding that it should be parliamentary courtesy for them be allowed to speak up in a public hearing.
But Cayetano said the Senate probe is a hearing open to the public, but not a public hearing.
Cayetano said public hearing is defined as an official meeting of members of the public called on one to provide testimony on a given policy.
He said in a hearing open to the public, only members of the committee and resource speakers are allowed to speak.
He also said Binay’s representatives did not exercise parliamentary courtesy when they tried to grab the microphone to speak before the panel.
The subpanel is hearing the alleged corruption in Makati involving the vice president and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado has testified that both Binays earned kickbacks in various infrastructure projects in Makati when the vice president was mayor.
Mercado has also testified about a 350-hectare “Hacienda Binay” allegedly owned by the vice president using dummy corporations.
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