Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. vowed to pursue legal action against those responsible for his arrest and detention at the Senate on Thursday, even if he was set free on the same day.
Binay, who was cited for contempt for his refusal to attend Senate hearings on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 and other anomalies, said his constitutional rights were violated when he was forced to appear at a Senate blue ribbon sub-committee hearing after his arrest.
He insisted that the arrest order issued by the Senate blue ribbon committee was clear that he will be detained at the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office.
Binay said he complied with the Senate panel’s order, and there is nothing in the order compelling him to attend the proceedings.
The sub-committee, however, said he should be taken to the hearing along with two Makati City administrator Eleno Mendoza and former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra–who were also cited for contempt.
Binay earlier said he was willing to be detained at the Senate since he had no plans to attend the hearings.
It was retired general Jose Balajadia Jr., head of the Senate Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms, who personally served the arrest order to the Makati mayor on Thursday morning.
Binay did not resist arrest.
The mayor arrived at the Senate around 10:30 a.m. and was immediately brought to the sergeant-at-arms office.
“I was detained and therefore I have all the legal rights to raise my issues to a competent court like the Supreme Court [SC],” Binay said in a media briefing after the committee released him.
The mayor added that he will question the legality of the arrest order before the SC because he believes that the sub-committee committed grave abuse of discretion.
Binay’s lawyer, Claro Certeza, said in a separate interview that they are also planning to file a petition for certiorari to put a stop to the hearings, which he insisted have become one sided.
Go to court
It was Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee, who advised the Makati mayor to seek the opinion of a third party since both the Senate blue ribbon committee and Binay’s camp have different positions on the issue of jurisdiction.
Pimentel said since the Senate committee believes that it has jurisdiction over the issue and the Makati mayor insisted that the committee does not have (jurisdiction), the best way is to get the opinion of a third party.
“If you [Binay] 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 Senate rules,” he told Binay before ordering his release.
Pimentel agreed to set the mayor free after Binay assured the panel that he will cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
The mayor manifested that he will not be attending the hearings because he does not see the need for him to answer the allegations and that the city government had provided the panel with the documents it needs for the inquiry.
“From the opening statement of the mayor, I sense that he wants to cooperate with the ongoing investigation. That is already a good manifestation and I’m also cognizant of the fact that there are already two cases in the Ombudsman where the mayor is also a respondent. I understand if the mayor doesn’t want to testify,” Pimentel said.
He added that the sub-committee was able to teach Binay and the two officials who were with him a lesson that they must not ignore a Senate subpoena.