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Senate subcommittee releases Junjun Binay


(UPDATED 4:39 p.m.) The Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee on Thursday released Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. from detention even with his citation for contempt and continued refusal to answer questions from the panel looking into allegations of corruption against him, other city officials and his father Vice President Jejomar Binay.
 
"Since the order of arrest has been satisfied, the mayor is already right before us, your manifestation (not to answer questions) is noted. Since we will respect your request that you not be asked questions anymore, you lose your chance to give your inputs on this subject matter, you are free to go," said Senator Aquilino Pimentel III during the hearing.

Pimentel, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee, said Binay's belief that the panel didn't have jurisdiction to compel him to answer questions related to the inquiry was contrary to the panel's position. The senator indicated that it was time for Binay to elevate the issue to the Supreme Court that would decide which position was according to law.
 
“I have noted your manifestation. But ito, payong nakatatanda, Mayor, kasi nagka-clash yung ating theory, ang theory mo na wala kaming jurisdiction, ang theory namin meron kaming jurisdiction so if that is the situation and you really believe in your theory, I think it is time for you to run to a referee, to a third party, to tell us who has the correct interpretation of the situation and of the Senate rules,” Pimentel said.
 
Binay, in his opening statement after being forcibly taken to the Senate session hall, clarified that it was never his intention to oppose the order of the committee. He said that he even responded to the subpoena earlier issued.
 
“Alam naman po natin na kami ay nagkwestyon ng jurisdiction at kami po ay humingi ng mga katanungan po dito sa Senado kaya nung shinow cause kami, ito naman ay sinagot namin. Kaya ang paniniwala namin ay wala pong dahilan kung bakit kami isa-cite ng contempt,” he said.

 

Mayor Binay bodily brought to the hearing of the Senate subcommittee.

A video posted by sandra aguinaldo (@sandraaguinaldo) on



Still no to inquiry

The senator then asked Binay if he was willing to answer questions but the latter reiterated that he was not willing to participate in the hearing.
 
“Let me just make of record that I intended to ask you questions about the Makati Science High School, the Makati City Hall Parking Building II, precisely to get your inputs or your position on some of these matters. It’s to give you a chance to refute, elaborate, or to provide missing details,” Pimentel said. 
 
He also noted that even former officials such as former President Fidel Ramos and former Vice President Noli de Castro complied with the subpoena issued to them by the Blue Ribbon Committee.
 
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV then asked on the status of contempt order against Binay, current city administrator Eleno Mendoza, and former city administrator Marjorie De Veyra who were all arrested by the Senate Sergeant At Arms.
 
Pimentel said he sensed that the Makati officials were willing to cooperate with the committee so he decided to lift the contempt order. 
 
“I could sense that he wants to cooperate with the ongoing investigation. If that is the sense of the opening message of the mayor and also his city administrator and other department heads of Makati will be given instructions to cooperate with this investigation. I think that is already a good manifestation of cooperation from the mayor,” he said.
 
He said he would also understand if Binay did not want to testify or elaborate on the matters since these were also a subject of cases pending before the Ombudsman where the latter is a respondent.
 
The senator then suspended the session and set the next hearing on February 12.
 
Binay's release came three hours after he was arrested and detained at the Senate.


Brought before the subcommittee
 
On Trillanes' motion, Pimentel ordered Binay to be brought to session hall from the office of the Senate Sergenat-at-Arms where he was holed up when he refused to face the subcommittee.
 
Binay, Mendoza and De Veyra were brought to the hall by the sergeant at arms.
 
Pimentel said the purpose of the arrest on the three was to bring them to the session hall to attend the hearing.
 
Lawyer Claro Certeza opposed the order saying that his clients are unwilling to come to the session hall.
 
Binay's supporters at the gallery howled when they saw the mayor being brought to the session.
 
Pimentel ordered the hearing to be suspended to put order on the gallery.
 
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla personally appealed to the supporters to calm and not shout to allow the hearing to proceed. 
 
Trillanes asked Binay if he needed treatment, to which the latter said he is alright.
 
In a press conference after the hearing, the mayor claimed that he sustained bruises because he was forcibly brought to the session hall.
 
“I have  to be bodily taken to the plenary kaya medyo napadiin ang kapit. Yes, I was forced to attend the hearing physically as evidenced by the bruise nga ho. Kinapitan po ako, dalawa po yata, hindi ko na maalala masyadong mabilis ang pangyayari. I’m sure I had one on the left and one on the right,” he said. —NB, GMA News
 
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