BINAY FORMS NEW PARTY: UNA, STAND-ALONE PARTY

SEPT 25 --PHOTO: UNA becomes a party. Vice President Jejomar Binay speaks before newly inducted members of
the
United Nationalist Alliance which was re-launched Wednesday as a political party.
A member of the Binay camp on Wednesday confirmed that the United Nationalist Alliance had already formed a new political party for Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential bid in the 2016 national elections. In a phone interview, UNA spokesman and Navotas representative Toby Tiangco said that UNA, formerly a coalition, will be officially converted to a “stand-alone party” for the opposition.

 “The organization meeting that we held earlier is a pre-requisite before we file petition for accreditation of UNA as a party to the Commission on Elections,” he said. Tiangco said that the formation of UNA as a political party was one of the steps to strengthen the position of the opposition in preparation for Binay’s Presidential candidacy in 2016. He said that part of the requirements of the Comelec is to organize first the members of the party, prepare the necessary documents to be submitted to the poll body. After the Comelec approves the petition, that is the time UNA will hold an election of officers and officially announce, thereafter.

During the organizational meeting, Tiangco said that he was selected as the interim president of UNA; Senator Gringo Honasan as Vice President; JV Bautista as secretary general; and Gary Teves as treasurer. Tiangco said that UNA’s legal counsel are now completing all necessary documents and requirements needed and would hopefully submitted these to the Comelec “within this week”. The Congressman also clarified that the UNA party would retain its alliance with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino led by former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and suspended Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

In Malacanang, officials said the administration was too busy to be bothered or threatened by opposition groups including Binay’s new United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party. “Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. “I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” he said. When asked if Aquino’s Liberal Party will soon announce its standard bearer, Lacierda said, the President will announce it at the “proper time.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace not threatened by ‘new’ Binay party 

SEPT 29 --PHOTO: Vice President Jejomar Binay. —Malacañang is too busy to be bothered or threatened by opposition groups including Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party. “Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told Palace reporters. “I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” he said.

Media reports on Wednesday said the UNA will be transformed into a political party for Binay’s presidential bid in 2016. Binay faced around 300 allies at the Century Park Hotel in Manila for the party’s organizational meeting. Lacierda declined to comment on the event, which was attended by a number of opposition politicians and critics of President Benigno Aquino III. “Let them state for the record, are they for the administration or are they for the opposition, not for us to surmise or speculate the nature of their political party,” he said.

Asked if Aquino’s Liberal Party will soon announce its standard bearer, Lacierda said, the President will announce it at the “proper time.” Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, one of the administration’s critics, was reportedly elected UNA president. The meeting happened more than a week after Aquino held an agenda setting meeting with his allies, which excluded Binay, and amid the Senate investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati parking building.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Palace scoffs at Binay’s launching of UNA as political party  

SEPT 29 ---... But challenges vice president to declare if UNA is opposition. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. FILE PHOTO. —Malacañang does not see Vice President Jejomar Binay’s conversion of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) from an alliance into a political party as a threat to President Benigno Aquino III. “Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now. I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” said Presidential Secretary Edwin Lacierda in a briefing.

Although he initially refused to make a comment on Binay’s political moves, Lacierda suggested that UNA declare if it was an opposition party or not. “Let them state for the record, are they for the administration or are they for the opposition, not for us to surmise or speculate the nature of their political party,” said Lacierda.Lacierda said that being a member of a political party different from the President’s Liberal Party would not make one a member of the opposition. “You’ve got NPC (Nationalist Peoples Coalition), you’ve got NUP (National Unity Party), are they (opposition)? You know, it depends on how they will describe themselves. Far from us to comment if they an opposition or not. They would have to tell the public what kind of a party they are, instead of us,” said Lacierda.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Binay refuses to answer ‘dummies’ raps, slams Cayetano 

SEPT 27 --PHOTO: President Jejomar Binay (right) has refused to be drawn into a word war with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (left), another probable presidential contender who had said that the economy would suffer if Binay were elected president in 2016. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS. LUMBAN, Laguna—Vice President Jejomar Binay refused to answer the allegations that he had used “dummies” to corner government contracts and conceal the assets that he had acquired when he was still the mayor of Makati City. Binay instead lashed out at Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the senators taking the lead in the Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II. The Vice President, who was on a visit to Laguna province on Friday, was evasive when asked by reporters about new testimony that has emerged in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearings into the allegedly graft-ridden P2.3-billion Makati parking building.

However, in an ambush interview, Binay said he wanted to correct what he deemed to be an erroneous point that Cayetano made about the evidence being presented at the Senate probe. Binay said that Cayetano appeared to be lecturing and correcting him concerning what Binay had said about the testimony in the Senate hearings not being accepted as testimonial evidence in court. Define dummies --“The evidence I was talking about, if you look at the speech of Justice (Reynato) Puno in 2012, (he said that) an allegation without cross-examination is not evidence (but) mere allegation,” Binay said in a mixture of English and Filipino. Asked about businessman Jose Orillaza’s claim at last Thursday’s hearing that he had fronted as a dummy for Binay in a company that won contracts in Makati when Binay was the mayor, the Vice President said: “I wish they would define first what they mean by dummies.”

As for Cayetano’s challenge that he waive bank secrecy rights and submit to a lifestyle check, Binay threw back the challenge at the senator: “Ask Cayetano this, does he not have dummies?” Binay declined the subcommittee’s invitation to attend the hearing last Thursday, going instead to Balut, Tondo, to distribute government housing units.
His son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., also snubbed the Senate inquiry and questioned the subcommittee’s jurisdictional authority to conduct the probe. In Laguna province on Friday, Binay visited the towns of Pangil, Paete and Lumban and presided over the turnover of medical equipment and inauguration of hospital facilities. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binays may raise jurisdiction issue on Senate probe with SC  

SEPT 27 ---Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (photo) had overstepped his authority in ruling on and denying the jurisdictional challenge interposed by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay before the Senate blue ribbon committee, questioning the continuing conduct of the investigation into matters concerning him and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, Sen. Nancy Binay said. “I do not agree with what they did, ruling on the jurisdictional challenge but our rules state that it has to be the whole committee, the whole blue ribbon committee, not the sub-committee,” Binay, the Vice President’s daughter, said in a radio interview.

Senator Binay, who is a member of the blue ribbon committee, said the matter of disposing of the issue
questioning the jurisdiction on the sub-committee chaired by Pimentel on allegations against her family and affairs of the Makati City government is relegated to Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III. “Guingona is the chairman. So he should be the one to rule on the jurisdictional challenge and not the sub-committee, along with the members. Even on issues such slapping of contempt on a witness (or resource person), it has to be decided by the whole committee, what more on this issue,” she pointed out. Lawyers of Makati Mayor Binay, meanwhile, said they are considering ?bringing to the Supreme Court the issue of jurisdiction of the Senate sub-committee in the on-going probe of the Makati City Hall building 2.

Lawyer Claro Certeza said the decision of the sub-committee to reject the jurisdictional challenge filed by the mayor Thursday constitutes “abuse of power” and bolsters their position that the hearings are not in aid of legislation.
He said under Senate rules, any jurisdictional challenge should be resolved by the whole committee and not just the sub-committee?.

Certeza added that they are not asking the high court to nullify the investigation. “We will be asking the Supreme Court to order the Senate to bring the question of jurisdiction on the committee as a whole? We will not ask the SC to intervene in the powers of the Senate,” Certeza said. The lawyer also pointed out that in the rules of the Senate regarding inquiries in aid of legislation, if there is a jurisdictional challenge, the committee should first decide on the dispute before continuing with the inquiry. “It is clear under section 3, if there is a jurisdictional challenge, it has to be decided by the committee as a whole. That did not happen but instead it was the subcommittee which issued a decision,” Certeza said.

Section 3 of Resolution no. 5 or the Rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation, says that “If the jurisdiction of the Committee is challenged on any ground, the said issue must first be resolved by the Committee before proceeding with the inquiry.” Certeza said they are seeing this as an abuse of the Senate’s powers.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Drilon defends Blue Ribbon committee’s probe of Makati building 

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday defended the Blue Ribbon committee’s move to conduct hearings on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall building after the camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay expressed plans to bring the case before the Supreme Court. “As defined in the rules, on the basis of the resolution filed, there can be hearings in aid of legislation. This is an investigation in aid of legislation,” Drilon said. Drilon said he respects the decision of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son to elevate the case before the SC. He said it is their privilege as citizens to bring the issue before the high tribunal.

“But let me reiterate that the questions are in aid of legislation, not for anything else. That is consistent with the decision of the SC,” he said. Drilon also expressed belief the SC will be respecting the separation of powers among the three branches of government and the high court will be careful in meddling with the functions of the legislative branch. He said several cases have been brought to the SC where the high court always sustained the right of Congress to conduct hearings in aid of legislation. “I don’t recall any instance that the SC stops an inquiry. I think there was one case where the inquiry… the resolution prompting the inquiry did not assert that it was in aid of legislation,” Drilon said, referring to the Senate inquiry into the NBN-ZTE deal. “Since that hearing, all inquiries are done in aid of legislation. That is within the prerogative and the power of legislature,” he said.

Pressed further on the issue of separation of powers between the Supreme Court and the legislature, Drilon strongly expressed that the SC should not stand against the Senate in its powers to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. “I am just stating a principle. The separation of powers would call for the Senate to continue its investigation in aid of legislation,” he explained. Power of judicial review Legal experts, however, said the SC could intervene in the Senate inquiry. “The Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power of judicial review of actions of the two other branches, especially if there is grave abuse of discretion,” University of the East law dean Amado Valdez said.– With Edu Punay THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO Manila Standard Editorial: Nobody home! 

OVER the last four years, we have often felt that there was nobody home to manage the affairs of state. This sense of unease began as early as the first few months of President Aquino’s administration, when the police under his handpicked Cabinet undersecretary bungled the Luneta hostage crisis in August 2010, with tragic results for the eight Chinese tourists who were killed in a botched rescue. Following that, in a number of instances when natural calamities struck, Palace spokesmen felt compelled to explain that the President wasn’t missing at all, but merely managing rescue and relief operations from behind the scenes.

This month, that sense of being leaderless reared its ugly head again when the chief of the Philippine National Police, Director General Alan Purisima, chose to attend a conference in Bogota, Colombia, instead of staying home to deal with a resurgent crime wave and serious corruption charges filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman. In doing so, the PNP chief also conveniently ducked a Senate hearing on the upsurge of crime. Purisima has also avoided, at least for the moment, answering tough questions about his mansion in Nueva Ecija and other unexplained wealth that are the basis of corruption and plunder charges filed against him.

Small wonder that the chairman of the committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, has taken the police chief to task for staying away when urgent business awaits at home. The senator expects to see Purisima at her committee’s next hearing on Sept. 30—but notes that Purisima is scheduled to fly out again to San Francisco and Florida, for more conferences. While continuing education is important, she said, a leader facing a crisis has no business leaving the country. Faced with mounting calls for his resignation from the President’s own allies, Purisima took decisive action from abroad—by firing his press officer, a move that might have given him some satisfaction, but which is unlikely to stop the questions about his undeclared assets. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Binay forms new party; UNA Stand-Alone Party


UNA becomes a party. Vice President Jejomar Binay speaks before newly inducted members of the United Nationalist Alliance which was re-launched Wednesday as a political party. DANNY PATA

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan - A member of the Binay camp on Wednesday confirmed that the United Nationalist Alliance had already formed a new political party for Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential bid in the 2016 national elections.

In a phone interview, UNA spokesman and Navotas representative Toby Tiangco said that UNA, formerly a coalition, will be officially converted to a “stand-alone party” for the opposition.

 “The organization meeting that we held earlier is a pre-requisite before we file petition for accreditation of UNA as a party to the Commission on Elections,” he said.

Tiangco said that the formation of UNA as a political party was one of the steps to strengthen the position of the opposition in preparation for Binay’s Presidential candidacy in 2016.

He said that part of the requirements of the Comelec is to organize first the members of the party, prepare the necessary documents to be submitted to the poll body.

After the Comelec approves the petition, that is the time UNA will hold an election of officers and officially announce, thereafter.

During the organizational meeting, Tiangco said that he was selected as the interim president of UNA; Senator Gringo Honasan as Vice President; JV Bautista as secretary general; and Gary Teves as treasurer.

Tiangco said that UNA’s legal counsel are now completing all necessary documents and requirements needed and would hopefully submitted these to the Comelec “within this week”.

The Congressman also clarified that the UNA party would retain its alliance with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino led by former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and suspended Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

In Malacanang, officials said the administration was too busy to be bothered or threatened by opposition groups including Binay’s new United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party.

“Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

“I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” he said.

When asked if Aquino’s Liberal Party will soon announce its standard bearer, Lacierda said, the President will announce it at the “proper time.”

* Meanwhile, Tiangco said that before the organization’s meeting, he sought Estrada’s advice on what would be the name of the new party.

He said that the former President suggested that they retain the name UNA as political party.

UNA was formed as a coalition on June 12, 2013 with its partner the PMP and its party the PDP-Laban.

Binay is a longtime member of the PDP-Laban but in January, he announced that he would resign from the party due to “differences” with its president Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.

The “differences” came after UNA included former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Pimentel’s political rival, as one of its 12 Senatorial candidates in May 2013.

Pimentel thereafter refused to run under UNA and decided to join the Administration’s Senatorial slate.

Pimentel later filed an election protest against Zubiri for allegedly rigging the votes in his (Zubiri’s) favor.

Zubiri then resigned from the Senate in 2011 after an investigation showed that he indeed benefitted from electoral fraud in 2007. He, however, denied that he had anything to do with the alleged voting fraud.

Meanwhile, Binay’s net worth jumped to P60.11 million in 2013, a big leap from the P2.5 million when he was elected as mayor of Makati in 1988.

But Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Binay’s increase in net worth came from income from a piggery farm, a flower shop business, disposition of real properties and excess campaign contributions during the 2010 elections amounting to P13 million.

“The Vice President was asked by a group if he is willing to undergo a lifestyle check, he said ‘anytime,’ and anytime is now. We went ahead to present them instead of waiting for the right time,” Remulla said.

“Everything is accounted for. We have 100 percent accountability for VP Binay,” Remulla said in a press conference.

The Office of the Vice President publicly disclosed Binay’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) amid allegations he benefited from the construction of the over-priced Makati City hall when he was mayor. The advocacy group United Makati Against Corruption called on Binay and his family to undergo a lifestyle check.

Binay and his wife, Elenita, had a consolidated income of P88.11 million from 1986 to 2013, and paid taxes amounting to P23.05 million. Binay has been filing his SALN and Income Tax Return every year.

Remulla said Binay has sold his old house in San Antonio Village, Makati and real properties in Alabang Hills; Cupang, Muntinlupa; Tunasan, San Pedro, Laguna; Cabagan, Isabela; San Pascual, Batangas; and Bataan.

Binay’s legal counsel Princess Turgano said the vice president started his piggery business in 1994 under the name JCB Farms and from 1994 to 2010 it generated an income of P44.35 million, where he paid more than P15 million in taxes.

“JCB Farms is duly registered in the Bureau of Internal Revenue Rosario, Batangas office,” she said.

Another Binay legal counsel, Martin Subido, said JCB Farms was a mere lessee of a nine-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas but it introduced improvements, which was duly reported its annual audited financial statements.

Remulla denied that Binay owned a 400-hectare property and challenged his critics to prove his ownership because he was willing to give it away.

“Some critics said that he allegedly has 400 hectares. Well, that’s not true. He only has a nine-hectare leased property, at least and … we are willing to show the contract between lessor and leaser,” he said.

When Binay won as Vice President, he had excess campaign contributions amounting to P13,451,711 from his P231,480,000 campaign funds, which he received from donors, Remulla said.

He added that in 2010, the Comelec had no ruling about excess contributions as subject to taxes, and candidates can take home the savings from their campaign fund expenses.

“At that time, the BIR did not require that it was income rather than excess campaign contributions. There is a difference between donation and income. In 2013, it was counted as donation. But the Vice President is always willing to submit to the BIR,” Remulla said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Palace not threatened by ‘new’ Binay party By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |INQUIRER.net8:47 pm | Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Manila, Philippines—Malacañang is too busy to be bothered or threatened by opposition groups including Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party.

“Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told Palace reporters.

“I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” he said.

Media reports on Wednesday said the UNA will be transformed into a political party for Binay’s presidential bid in 2016.
Binay faced around 300 allies at the Century Park Hotel in Manila for the party’s organizational meeting.

Lacierda declined to comment on the event, which was attended by a number of opposition politicians and critics of President Benigno Aquino III.

“Let them state for the record, are they for the administration or are they for the opposition, not for us to surmise or speculate the nature of their political party,” he said.

Asked if Aquino’s Liberal Party will soon announce its standard bearer, Lacierda said, the President will announce it at the “proper time.”

Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, one of the administration’s critics, was reportedly elected UNA president.

The meeting happened more than a week after Aquino held an agenda setting meeting with his allies, which excluded Binay, and amid the Senate investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati parking building.

Palace scoffs at Binay’s launching of UNA as political partyBy Gil C. Cabacungan |Philippine Daily Inquirer10:08 pm | Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

... But challenges vice president to declare if UNA is opposition


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang does not see Vice President Jejomar Binay’s conversion of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) from an alliance into a political party as a threat to President Benigno Aquino III.

“Why will we be threatened? We’re focused on governance right now. I mean, some people would like to talk about 2016 but, we’re focused on governance. We still have 640-plus days left. We’ve got so much work to do. We’ve got so much reforms that we need to advance,” said Presidential Secretary Edwin Lacierda in a briefing.

Although he initially refused to make a comment on Binay’s political moves, Lacierda suggested that UNA declare if it was an opposition party or not.

“Let them state for the record, are they for the administration or are they for the opposition, not for us to surmise or speculate the nature of their political party,” said Lacierda.

Lacierda said that being a member of a political party different from the President’s Liberal Party would not make one a member of the opposition.

“You’ve got NPC (Nationalist Peoples Coalition), you’ve got NUP (National Unity Party), are they (opposition)? You know, it depends on how they will describe themselves. Far from us to comment if they an opposition or not. They would have to tell the public what kind of a party they are, instead of us,” said Lacierda.

Binay refuses to answer ‘dummies’ raps, slams Cayetano Maricar Cinco- Inquirer Southern Luzon and Niña P. Calleja4:57 am | Saturday, September 27th, 2014


President Jejomar Binay (right) has refused to be drawn into a word war with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (left), another probable presidential contender who had said that the economy would suffer if Binay were elected president in 2016. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

LUMBAN, Laguna—Vice President Jejomar Binay refused to answer the allegations that he had used “dummies” to corner government contracts and conceal the assets that he had acquired when he was still the mayor of Makati City.

Binay instead lashed out at Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the senators taking the lead in the Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

The Vice President, who was on a visit to Laguna province on Friday, was evasive when asked by reporters about new testimony that has emerged in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearings into the allegedly graft-ridden P2.3-billion Makati parking building.

However, in an ambush interview, Binay said he wanted to correct what he deemed to be an erroneous point that Cayetano made about the evidence being presented at the Senate probe.

Binay said that Cayetano appeared to be lecturing and correcting him concerning what Binay had said about the testimony in the Senate hearings not being accepted as testimonial evidence in court.

Define dummies

“The evidence I was talking about, if you look at the speech of Justice (Reynato) Puno in 2012, (he said that) an allegation without cross-examination is not evidence (but) mere allegation,” Binay said in a mixture of English and Filipino.

Asked about businessman Jose Orillaza’s claim at last Thursday’s hearing that he had fronted as a dummy for Binay in a company that won contracts in Makati when Binay was the mayor, the Vice President said: “I wish they would define first what they mean by dummies.”

As for Cayetano’s challenge that he waive bank secrecy rights and submit to a lifestyle check, Binay threw back the challenge at the senator: “Ask Cayetano this, does he not have dummies?”

Binay declined the subcommittee’s invitation to attend the hearing last Thursday, going instead to Balut, Tondo, to distribute government housing units.

His son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., also snubbed the Senate inquiry and questioned the subcommittee’s jurisdictional authority to conduct the probe.

In Laguna province on Friday, Binay visited the towns of Pangil, Paete and Lumban and presided over the turnover of medical equipment and inauguration of hospital facilities.

* He was accompanied by the dismissed Laguna governor, Jorge “ER” Ejercito, who was removed for violating campaign spending laws. Ejercito is a nephew of deposed President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, a Binay ally.

Binay, who chairs the presidential task force against illegal recruitment, also addressed a multi-agency workshop here on trafficking and illegal recruitment.

‘Flavor of the month’

He began his remarks by saying that he was “the flavor of the month,” referring to the corruption charges against him, but did address the issue in his speech.

In a phone interview, lawyer JV Bautista, one of Binay’s spokespersons, explained Binay’s comments on why testimony presented at the Senate hearing constituted “weak evidence.”

“In court, there is a right to cross-examine to test the credibility of a witness. You don’t have that in the Senate hearing. The witnesses obviously merely have axes to grind,” he said.

Bautista serves as Binay’s spokesperson while Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s main spokesperson, is away in New York City.

“It doesn’t mean that when a statement is made under oath, it is automatically admissible and credible,” Bautista said.

Incredible, not believable

The lawyer said the testimonies of Orillaza and the other witnesses in the Senate hearings were “incredible, not believable.”

Bautista also accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV of not just lawyering for the witnesses but also testifying for them.

“He was clearly testifying for them. Look at his leading questions. Those were the questions that the witnesses can just easily answer with a ‘yes,’” he said.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Binays may raise jurisdiction issue on Senate probe with SC
Written by Angie M. Rosales Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:00



Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (photo) had overstepped his authority in ruling on and denying the jurisdictional challenge interposed by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay before the Senate blue ribbon committee, questioning the continuing conduct of the investigation into matters concerning him and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, Sen. Nancy Binay said.

“I do not agree with what they did, ruling on the jurisdictional challenge but our rules state that it has to be the whole committee, the whole blue ribbon committee, not the sub-committee,” Binay, the Vice President’s daughter, said in a radio interview.

Senator Binay, who is a member of the blue ribbon committee, said the matter of disposing of the issue
questioning the jurisdiction on the sub-committee chaired by Pimentel on allegations against her family and affairs of the Makati City government is relegated to Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.

“Guingona is the chairman. So he should be the one to rule on the jurisdictional challenge and not the sub-committee, along with the members. Even on issues such slapping of contempt on a witness (or resource person), it has to be decided by the whole committee, what more on this issue,” she pointed out.

Lawyers of Makati Mayor Binay, meanwhile, said they are considering ?bringing to the Supreme Court the issue of jurisdiction of the Senate sub-committee in the on-going probe of the Makati City Hall building 2.

Lawyer Claro Certeza said the decision of the sub-committee to reject the jurisdictional challenge filed by the mayor Thursday constitutes “abuse of power” and bolsters their position that the hearings are not in aid of legislation.

He said under Senate rules, any jurisdictional challenge should be resolved by the whole committee and not just the sub-committee?.

Certeza added that they are not asking the high court to nullify the investigation.

“We will be asking the Supreme Court to order the Senate to bring the question of jurisdiction on the committee as a whole? We will not ask the SC to intervene in the powers of the Senate,” Certeza said.

The lawyer also pointed out that in the rules of the Senate regarding inquiries in aid of legislation, if there is a jurisdictional challenge, the committee should first decide on the dispute before continuing with the inquiry.

“It is clear under section 3, if there is a jurisdictional challenge, it has to be decided by the committee as a whole. That did not happen but instead it was the subcommittee which issued a decision,” Certeza said.

Section 3 of Resolution no. 5 or the Rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation, says that “If the jurisdiction of the Committee is challenged on any ground, the said issue must first be resolved by the Committee before proceeding with the inquiry.”

Certeza said they are seeing this as an abuse of the Senate’s powers.

* Sen. Binay admitted the possible legal action the Binays are contemplating to put into question the decision rendered by the sub-committee, saying that they will not let the issue come to pass.

“That’s one of the options being considered, along with the possibility of bringing it up before the courts. All possible remedies are being studied,” she said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, defended Pimentel’s decision, expressing belief that the blue ribbon subcommittee had jurisdiction in handling the investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati City hall parking building and other purported anomalies in the said local government.

“As defined in the rules, on the basis of the resolution filed, there can be hearings in aid of legislation. This is an investigation in aid of legislation. The jurisdiction lies with the Blue Ribbon Committee based on the inquiries being made.

Of course, VP Binay and Mayor Binay can bring this issue to the Supreme Court. That’s a privilege of every citizen. But let me reiterate that the questions are in aid of legislation, not for anything else. That is consistent with the decision of the SC,” he said.

“I don’t believe the SC has the power to enjoin legislative acts. The principle of separation of powers dictates that we are supreme in our own sphere,” he said.

Drilon said there had been a number of instances and cases that have been brought to the SC questioning the Senate’s conduct of inquiries and the high court has always sustained the right of the legislature to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

“I don’t recall any instance that the SC stops an inquiry. I think there was one case where the inquiry…the resolution prompting the inquiry did not assert that it was in aid of legislation. Since that hearing, all inquiries are done in aid of legislation. That is within the prerogative and the power of legislature.

“The separation of power would call for the Senate to continue its investigation in aid of legislation,” he said.

FROM PHILSTAR

Drilon defends Blue Ribbon committee’s probe of Makati building By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


SENATE PRESIDENT DRILON

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday defended the Blue Ribbon committee’s move to conduct hearings on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall building after the camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay expressed plans to bring the case before the Supreme Court.

“As defined in the rules, on the basis of the resolution filed, there can be hearings in aid of legislation. This is an investigation in aid of legislation,” Drilon said.

Drilon said he respects the decision of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son to elevate the case before the SC.

He said it is their privilege as citizens to bring the issue before the high tribunal.

“But let me reiterate that the questions are in aid of legislation, not for anything else. That is consistent with the decision of the SC,” he said.

Drilon also expressed belief the SC will be respecting the separation of powers among the three branches of government and the high court will be careful in meddling with the functions of the legislative branch.

He said several cases have been brought to the SC where the high court always sustained the right of Congress to conduct hearings in aid of legislation.

“I don’t recall any instance that the SC stops an inquiry. I think there was one case where the inquiry… the resolution prompting the inquiry did not assert that it was in aid of legislation,” Drilon said, referring to the Senate inquiry into the NBN-ZTE deal.

“Since that hearing, all inquiries are done in aid of legislation. That is within the prerogative and the power of legislature,” he said.

Pressed further on the issue of separation of powers between the Supreme Court and the legislature, Drilon strongly expressed that the SC should not stand against the Senate in its powers to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

“I am just stating a principle. The separation of powers would call for the Senate to continue its investigation in aid of legislation,” he explained.

Power of judicial review

Legal experts, however, said the SC could intervene in the Senate inquiry.

“The Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power of judicial review of actions of the two other branches, especially if there is grave abuse of discretion,” University of the East law dean Amado Valdez said.– With Edu Punay

MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

Nobody home! By Manila Standard Today | Sep. 29, 2014 at 12:01am
 

OVER the last four years, we have often felt that there was nobody home to manage the affairs of state.

This sense of unease began as early as the first few months of President Aquino’s administration, when the police under his handpicked Cabinet undersecretary bungled the Luneta hostage crisis in August 2010, with tragic results for the eight Chinese tourists who were killed in a botched rescue.

Following that, in a number of instances when natural calamities struck, Palace spokesmen felt compelled to explain that the President wasn’t missing at all, but merely managing rescue and relief operations from behind the scenes.

This month, that sense of being leaderless reared its ugly head again when the chief of the Philippine National Police, Director General Alan Purisima, chose to attend a conference in Bogota, Colombia, instead of staying home to deal with a resurgent crime wave and serious corruption charges filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman.

In doing so, the PNP chief also conveniently ducked a Senate hearing on the upsurge of crime. Purisima has also avoided, at least for the moment, answering tough questions about his mansion in Nueva Ecija and other unexplained wealth that are the basis of corruption and plunder charges filed against him.

Small wonder that the chairman of the committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, has taken the police chief to task for staying away when urgent business awaits at home.

The senator expects to see Purisima at her committee’s next hearing on Sept. 30—but notes that Purisima is scheduled to fly out again to San Francisco and Florida, for more conferences.

While continuing education is important, she said, a leader facing a crisis has no business leaving the country.

Faced with mounting calls for his resignation from the President’s own allies, Purisima took decisive action from abroad—by firing his press officer, a move that might have given him some satisfaction, but which is unlikely to stop the questions about his undeclared assets.

* We need not look far to discern who Purisima’s role model is.

President Aquino, facing numerous crises—including the one that Purisima created—has been busy traveling to Europe and the United States, ostensibly to drum up foreign investments for the country.

In Boston, the President dismissed out of hand the allegations against his handpicked police chief, saying only that he did not know Purisima as an ostentatious or greedy man. Weighing that considered opinion against the mounting evidence of wrongdoing, we can only conclude that the President is in a state of denial.

While corruption taints more and more officials of his government and he does nothing to stop them, Mr. Aquino is abroad, crowing about the gains from his straight path policy. Not only is there nobody home at the Palace—it seems that the lights have gone out, too.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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