Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. refused to attend the senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing which intended to investigate the allegations regarding overpricing of the Makati parking building, a previous article on Kicker Daily reported.
Due to the snub, speculations arose whether the senate might be mulling arrest warrants against the mayor. This came after Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano issued a statement about Binay’s refusal to attend the hearing even after he was issued a subpoena, reports the Inquirer.
Cayetano said anyone issued a subpoena must answer the summons and appear before the senate. No one is above the law, even the Binays; thus, Mayor Binay should have attended the hearing. What irks Cayetano is that the Binays are making it appear like they are untouchable, adds the Inquirer report.
No automatic punishment
Snubbing a subpoena does not automatically mean the person can be issued a warrant of arrest, however, especially if that person raised a question relevant to the subpoena, such as Binay’s questioning the senate’s jurisdiction, says Senator Aquilino Pimentel III who chairs the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.
Pimentel, however, expressed frustration over Binay’s snub but wants to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt by not immediately issuing the arrest warrant. The senator also ordered the re-issuance of subpoenas to Binay as well as others also accused of involvement in the controversial parking building issue.
The senate also issued subpoenas for Gerry Limlingan and Ebeng Baloloy, both close aides of then-mayor Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr.
Pimentel would not confirm whether the senate would issue arrest warrants against the three if they still won’t attend the next hearing set on October 2, saying it is best not to preempt the decision without knowing what the three would do on that date.
It is possible that Binay still won’t heed the senate’s summons, especially because he raised the question of the blue ribbon subcommittee’s jurisdiction over the matter.
Pimentel reiterates the senate’s jurisdiction, because of rule stating, “All matters relating to, including investigation of, malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities; implementation of the provision of the Constitution on nepotism; and investigation of any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its attention by any member of the Senate” as part of the jurisdiction of the blue ribbon committee.