Binay camp sees replay in Senate hearing
“A replay of the demolition telenovela” by the Liberal Party against former Vice President and defeated presidential candidate Jejomar Binay, was how a Binay spokesperson described the explosive testimony in the Senate of a confessed hit man about President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged links to the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
“Thursday’s hearing (was) a page from the Liberal Party playbook,” Binay spokesperson Joey Salgado said in a statement on Friday, adding that the Senate investigation was conducted “in aid of demolition, not legislation … in which every rumor, half-truth, and hearsay was broadcast or published; every accusation accepted and presented as truth—complete with dramatic pauses and gestures—by some senators.”
Said Salgado: “Once again, a political personality—this time no less than the President himself—(had) been declared guilty even before the start of the hearing.”
He added: “Once again, senators are lawyering for a witness, and the public is treated to a barrage of shocking but unsubstantiated statements on live radio and television,” he added.
Confessed DDS hit man Edgar Matobato claimed during the Senate hearing of the committee on justice and human rights that Mr. Duterte, when he was still mayor of Davao City, ordered him and other members of the death squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 people dead.
Salgado said the nationally televised hearing was reminiscent of the Senate investigations of the Binay family’s alleged hidden wealth as well as corruption during Binay’s term as mayor of Makati City.
The Office of the Ombudsman later filed charges of graft, falsification of documents and violation of the Government Procurement Act against the former Vice President in connection with the overpriced parking building constructed when he was mayor of Makati.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also ordered the dismissal of suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay over the controversial parking building and barred him from serving in any government position.
“No family should go through the harrowing experience of the Binay family at the hands of Senate inquisitors. But no less than President Duterte and his family have been pilloried on live television by senators with patently political motives. And this looks like just a warm-up,” Salgado said of the Senate hearing led by former Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima, a Liberal Party member.
Salgado reiterated Binay’s position that the Senate “does not have the competence or the authority to determine criminal liability. Only the courts can determine guilt or innocence, not the Senate, and especially not senators with political motives.”
Binay’s spokesperson also said he was amused by the unintentionally comic interaction at the hearing between Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, who used to be allies during the Senate hearings on the Binays’ hidden wealth.
“Cayetano’s conversion into a born-again advocate of due process and the rule of law is hilarious, considering that he lawyered for the accusers of VP Binay during the blue ribbon subcommittee hearings,” Salgado said.
He, however, gave credit to Trillanes for his consistency.
“At least, Trillanes was true to form as the session hall bully, this time intimidating his erstwhile BFF. These two deserve each other,” Salgado added. TVJ
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