MANILA (Mabuhay) – Don’t force the Senate committee to order your arrest.
This was the statement made Thursday by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano as he said that Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.’s move questioning the authority of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee to summon him has no legal basis.
“I’m waiting for them and hoping magpaliwanag sila. We’ll give them an opportunity pero kung hindi, mapipilitan sigurong umabot na ang committee ay umorder ng arrest nila,” Cayetano told reporters before the start of the hearing.
Binay snubbed the hearing, as did his secretary Beng Baloloy, who also submitted a letter questioning the jurisdictional authority of the committee. Finance officer Gerry Limlingan, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
“Lahat ng pwedeng i-subpoena at hindi sinunod ang subpoena, ang proseso dun, bibigyan sila ng prosesong ipaliwanag tapos pwede na silang ipaaresto. Kapangyarihan ito ng Kongreso. ‘Pag binalewala ito ng isang tao, baka balewalain na ito ng ibang mga tao,” Cayetano said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay was invited to the hearing but he also did not attend, citing a full schedule.
Cayetano said they will not order the Vice President’s arrest despite his absence in respect to his position.
“Pero walang dahilan na ang city mayor kahit sabihing Binay ang apelyido niya ay mag-akto na parang untouchable o above the law (at hindi um-attend ng hearing),” he said.
“Walang legal basis ‘yung pag-question niya ng jurisdiction. At ako ay nagtataka na pagkatapos ng napakalakas na dating ng kanyang ama na hindi sila nagtatago, na open sila sa lifestyle check, e hindi siya a-attend. Kung handa silang humarap sa hearing, bakit sila tumatalikod o hindi nag-a-appear? Nagmimistulang untouchable ang Binay sa ating bansa,” the senator said.
At the start of the hearing, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said they will deal with the younger Binay’s letter questioning the subcommittee’s jurisdiction later in the day.
“We will refer this to our lawyers to study and deal with it later on,” he said. (MNS)