THE Senate blue ribbon committee is poised to issue an arrest order for Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and six other city officials if they continue to refuse to appear at hearings of the sub-committee headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
Committee chairman Teofisto Guingona 3rd issued the warning on Friday as he made a final call to Binay and the Makati City officials who have been ignoring the sub-committee’s summons asking them to attend the hearings on alleged irregularities in various projects of the city government.
“I’m making this final call as an effort on my part to avert a situation where the Senate blue ribbon committee would have to issue an arrest order for Mayor Binay and other officials concerned,” Guingona said.
In his ultimatum, the senator warned that the panel will not tolerate the acts of parties who continuously ignore its summons, noting that it has the power to order their arrest and detention.
“This is a final call. I hope that the sound counsel of friends and colleagues would encourage Mayor Binay and other parties concerned to heed the summons of the sub-committee,” he said.
The Makati mayor and the city officials have been ignoring the sub-committee’s summons for them to appear at the hearings, demanding that they be furnished a list of questions that lawmakers may ask during the hearings.
Lawyer Claro Certeza insisted that his clients’ request for advance copies of questions is in accordance with Senate rules.
The blue ribbon committee will meet on Monday to decide on its next move.
Meanwhile, Mayor Binay on Friday appealed for fairness in the conduct of the ongoing investigation on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2.
“With all due respect to the Senate, all I am asking for is due process. If you may recall, I appeared before the sub-committee and answered the questions from the senators for six hours. However, I was either cut off or denied the chance to reply. The senators simply wanted to humiliate me,” he said.
Binay also cited the allegedly unfair treatment by the sub-committee of the city officials, considering that other witnesses who were repeatedly caught lying under oath have gone unpunished.
“All I am requesting is for the senators in the sub-committee to accord to all persons summoned to their hearings the same respect for their rights based on the Constitution and jurisprudence. While the senators threaten me with contempt, they have not taken any action to discipline previous witnesses who have lied under oath several times. This is most unfair,” he said.