But Drilon steps in, defers detention of Makati mayor
THE Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday cited Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and five others for contempt and ordered their arrest for continuously refusing to attend the Senate investigation on the Makati City Hall Building 2 and other alleged irregularities involving various infrastructure projects implemented by the city government.
The ruling of panel chairperson Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd was based on a recommendation earlier made by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, chairman of the blue ribbon sub-committee, to cite the Makati officials in contempt for ignoring the summons issued to them.
But the implementation of Guingona’s arrest order was put on hold after acting Minority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd questioned procedures used by the blue ribbon committee in coming up with the decision.
According to Sotto, since the issue is highly controversial, it would be proper to let the majority members of the Guingona panel decide on the matter instead of only three senators.
Only Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th, Pimentel and Guingona were present on Monday.
Sotto cited Senate Resolution 145 stating that “a majority of all the members of the committee may, however, reverse or modify the aforesaid order of contempt within seven days.”
Sen. Francis Escudero asked if the Senate will wait for seven days before the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms implements the arrest order.
Senate President Franklin Drilon tossed the matter to the committee on rules, which is headed by Cayetano.
Because the issue is yet to be decided by the rules panel, the arrest order against Binay; Eleno Mendoza, Makati City administrator; Line dela Peña, assistant city engineer; Ebeng Baloloy, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s aide; Marjorie de Veyra, former Makati City administrator; and Bernadette Portollano was put on hold.
Cayetano said he will convene the rules committee today to discuss the manifestations raised by Sotto and Trillanes.
The Senate rules panel has eight members including two from the minority bloc—Sotto and Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
But even if the Senate panel is yet to rule on the order of the blue ribbon committee, the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms has been told to monitor movements of the persons cited for contempt so that they can be easily located once the arrest order is implemented.