Mayor Junjun Binay dragged into Senate session hall then set free
MANILA, Philippines–After being detained for more than three hours and bodily dragged to attend a committee hearing, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay was soon set free by the Senate on Thursday.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chair of the blue ribbon committee, allowed Binay to leave after the mayor insisted on not responding to allegations of corruption against him and his family.
“The order of arrest having been satisfied, the mayor is already right before us, his manifestation is noted…we will respect your request that you’ll not be asked questions anymore. You lose your chance to give us your inputs on this subject matter. You’re free to go,” Pimentel said before suspending the hearing.
Pimentel’s statement was greeted with applause by Binay’s supporters who were at the gallery of the Senate session hall.
Earlier, Binay’s supporters booed, shouted and some even cried when they saw the mayor being dragged to face the subcommittee.
The son of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was arrested and brought to the Senate before 11 a.m. for his repeated refusal to attend the hearings.
The mayor still refused to attend and insisted on staying at the Senate Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms where he was detained together with former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra and current administrator Eleno Mendoza.
At 1:30 p.m., Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made a motion to bring the three to the hearing room, which was approved by Pimentel despite objections from Binay’s lawyer, Claro Certeza.
Minutes later, Senate security officers came in dragging Binay by his arms with one of the mayor’s lawyers tagging behind them.
The commotion that ensued prompted Pimentel to suspend the proceeding.
After the break, Binay was made to sit down during which he noticeably checked his arms for injuries.
Trillanes asked him if he was hurt and if he needed “special medical attention.”
Binay said he was all right and did not need to see a doctor. But in a press conference later, the mayor complained that he suffered bruises.
Pimentel asked Binay to respond to allegations of overpricing in the construction of Makati City Hall 2 parking building.
Instead of explaining, the mayor reiterated his objection to the conduct of the hearing, which he and his family claim was just meant to tarnish their reputation.
Binay said it was not his intention to defy the Senate but he also has rights that must be protected.
He pointed out that he already faced the first hearing of the subcommittee wherein he answered the questions raised by its members and even provided the documents asked from the city government .
“Kaya wala na pong dahilan para humarap pa ako dito sa hearing na ito,” Binay said.
“Nasabi ko na po ang lahat ng dapat kong sabihin kaya ino-oppose ko ang proceedings na ito. Kaya I’d like to respectfully manifest that I will no longer participate in the ongoing proceeding, respectfully,” he said.
Pimentel tried to press Binay to answer some questions, “I’ve prepared a few questions. Are you ready, willing to answer?”
“Again Mr. Chairman, I’d like to reiterate, upon the advise of my lawyers, I was advised not to attend the hearing that’s why we were firm that the order of arrest states that I be detained in the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms because I’m not willing to participate. Therefore, again as advised by my lawyers, there’s no reason for me to participate,” Binay said.
Pimentel then allowed Binay and the two officials to go.
Originally posted: 2:22 PM | Thursday, January 29th, 2015
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