SENATORS should be cautious in sending subpoenas to legitimate businessmen because doing so recklessly may scare off investors, the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay warned on Thursday.
“That [discouraging businessmen]is a possible consequence,” Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, also Binay’s spokesman on political concerns, said, referring to a threat of pro-administration Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th to grill Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu until he tells the truth.
Binay’s camp has noted that Trillanes and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano have been harsh and cruel to resource persons who they think will not toe their line but treat those testifying against the Vice President with kid gloves even though they admitted violating the laws.
Tiu is reported to have a picture showing him with Trillanes.
Interviewed by reporters at the North Cotabato Capitol also on Thursday, the Vice President said he pities Tiu because the businessman had been demeaned even before he testifies before the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee on graft allegations against Binay.
The Vice President was in North Cotabato to lead the Sinab’badan Festival 2014 Fun Run at the municipal grounds of Makilala. He was also scheduled to keynote the 60th founding anniversary celebration of Makilala.
When asked about a vast estate in Rosario, Batangas, that includes expensive infrastructure supposedly owned by his family as alleged by former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, Binay noted that it was an old and rehashed issue even as he denied that he owns the property.
On another invitation by the Senate sub-committee led by Trillanes and Cayetano for him to attend the next hearing, the Vice President said he won’t give dignity to senators presiding what he called a moro-moro (farce) of an inquiry.
He added that he finds it funny that the sub-committee was inquiring into the Makati City Hall Building 2 but suddenly turned to probing the Batangas property that he does not own.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also on Thursday joined the nation in celebrating the 24th anniversary of the passage of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code.
“The enactment of this law has been largely responsible for the empowerment of local government units [LGUs] and making them more responsive to the needs of the people,” he said in a statement.
Binay credited the growth of Makati City (Metro Manila) and other progressive LGUs to the opportunities given them to govern better through the devolution and decentralization of functions provided by the code.
“Through responsible fiscal management and sound planning, Makati, under my watch [as mayor], was able to assume the new responsibilities mandated by the code and deliver better service to its citizens and investors. We were able to reinvent the local government into a people-centered and results-oriented city, which is one of the original intents of the code’s passage,” he said.
The Vice President called on all stakeholders, particularly Congress, to revisit provisions of RA 7160 that have become “outdated and unable to cope with the fast-changing social, political, economic, and environmental landscape.”
He suggested that a Joint Executive-Legislative Local Government Reform Commission be formed to tackle the issues that have arisen from implementation of the code.
Also on Thursday, Binay, along with Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, visited the wake of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Maribel Hipolito in General Santos City.
He extended his condolences to the family of Hipolito, who was killed in an accident in Gizan, Saudi Arabia.
Binay assured the Hipolitos of government help in claiming benefits they may receive from the OFW’s employer and the Social Security System, as well as in filing a case against the perpetrators and in demanding “blood” money.