Binay, rivals at Makati City Hall after son’s suspension
For the first time after Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay stepped down from office, his father Vice President Jejomar Binay, entered the City Hall on Monday to attend the wedding of one of his aides at a courtroom inside the building.
The Vice President arrived at around 11 a.m. at the sala of executive Judge Selma Palacio Alaras on the 11th floor just in time to stand as a godfather in the wedding of his aide and security officer, Chief Insp. Anthony Tababa. He used the regular elevators in the building, along with his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, and wife Elenita.
Binay had photo opportunities with the couple and their families and even threw jokes at his aide while the ceremony was on-going but he refused to be interviewed by members of the media after the wedding.
Speaking for the Vice President, Senator Binay said they have expected all the issues being thrown at them, especially at his brother.
“We expected this scenario but the sad part there is that some of the programs in the city were being stopped,” the senator said referring to acting Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña’s move to order the suspension of the sister city agreements of Makati with partner local government units.
Peña’s camp said they were stopping this agreement “pending a comprehensive audit of the said pacts, particularly the Makati Friendship Suites, a controversial hotel where the city’s official guests can stay and which is the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee investigation.”
“I think all projects are approved by council resolutions and as acting mayor, he has the obligation to follow whatever was approved by the council,” Senator Binay added.
Vice President Binay and his family were not the only ones present at the City Hall on Monday. Their known adversaries and witnesses to the cases of the city government, lawyer Renato Bondal and former city general services head, Engr. Mario Hechanova, were seen visiting the office of Peña on the 20th floor on Monday afternoon. The two even used the VIP elevators, which were previously exclusive to the mayor, city officials and important guests in the city.
Bondal explained that they have formed a team in the city hall to get evidence for the cases against the Binays.
“The resolution filed by Senator Trillanes in the subcommittee hearings involves other anomalies. We have a team now in the city hall. We informally call it the evidence recovery team that is also going through all the contracts that have been executed before,” said Bondal, adding that Hechanova has been heading the team.
He said that everything in the city would be transparent as Peña allowed them to have access to all documents needed.
“We will be able to document the allegations of ghost employees and then the contracts. I was already informed that the suspended mayor procured services on a monthly basis even with the cakes, security and janitorial services. I find it strange because there were no bidding and negotiations,” added Bondal.
Asked about the composition of the team, Bondal said volunteer lawyers have been helping them get access to bid documents, vouchers and check payments.
Peña, for his part, said he would not favor monthly contracts of some of the employees in the city. “I think they should have yearly contracts and undergo proper bidding so that employees will be assured that they will have monthly compensation for a whole year,” added the acting mayor.
In response to this, Senator Binay said that their rivals have done and would continue to do anything to remove Mayor Binay from his post and make it look like there have been many anomalies happening in the city.
“That is expected especially that he [Peña] is a member of the Liberal Party,” the senator said.