Binay supporters allegedly blocked from entering Senate chamber during hearing
Video by Cathy Miranda
MANILA, Philippines — A former congressman and known supporter of Vice President Jejomar Binay is threatening to file charges against the security of the Senate for allegedly refusing him and other supporters entry in Thursday’s hearing of the chamber on corruption allegations against Binay.
Lawyer JV Bautista, secretary general of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, claimed that the Senate security barred them from entering the session hall of the chamber where the hearing was being conducted.
“Ang gusto nila doon kami sa gilid kung saan hindi man lamang namin makita ang mga (What they want is we stand in the far corner where we can’t even see the) powerpoint presentation. In other words, we are being treated here as second-class citizens,” Bautista said in an interview.
“I am a former member of Congress. As a former member of Congress, I am entitled, mayroon kaming courtesy na pumasok doon sa loob at umupo sa gallery na iyon. Para mayroon kang magandang view sa mga nangyayari doon (So you have a better view of what’s going on there). I have been doing that before,” he said.
Besides, Bautista pointed out that he is also a guest of Senator Nancy Binay and should also be accorded courtesy.
“This is too much. This is grave abuse, this is tyranny,” the lawyer said.
Asked by reporter if they would file complaints, Bautista answered in the affirmative.
“We will file criminal and administrative cases against the security personnel here with the Ombudsman. I think they deserve to be given a lesson. They deserve to be disciplined,” he said.
“We are not plain citizens here observing a circus. We are lawyers of the Vice President. Gini-grill siya dito, we need to see it so we can report it to him. And yet, tingnan ninyo ang ginagawa (look what they’ve been doing),” he added.
But Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano, a known critic of the Vice President actively participating in the hearing, laughed off Bautista’s complaint.
“Buhay pa ba yun?” Cayetano said in a jest in an interview after the hearing.
Asked about Bautista’s claim that there was an order from senators to bar them from the hearings, Cayetano again said in jest: “MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) nga pinapapasok ko dito sila pa (I’m letting MILF members in, how much more them).”
Turning serious, the senator denied giving such order but pointed out the VIP gallery at the session hall was reserved for congressmen and other guests.
Nevertheless, Cayetano said, he would take this matter up with the Senate Sergeant at Arms.