PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

COMMENTARY NEWS 'LOWDOWN': THE FIASCO IN MAKATI


ROXAS VS THE OTHER BINAY (MANILA STANDARD) By Jojo Robles - Too bad the chain of command in the aborted Makati Massacre is even harder to trace than the one that led to the killing of 44 Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano. But perhaps it is just as well that the Court of Appeals stepped in and made the term as mayor of one Romulo “Kid” Peña probably the shortest in history – because now it’s back to the drawing board for the people who want to get Vice President Jejomar Binay through whatever means possible and to simultaneously divert attention away from the involvement of President Noynoy Aquino in the actual bloodbath that took place last Jan. 25.   The sideshow in Makati, which ended bloodlessly with the appellate court’s action, executed as it was in the slipshod, unthought-out manner for which the Aquino administration is now famous, had nothing to do with corruption, legally speaking. The Ombudsman’s precipitate issuance of a six-month suspension order was not even a punitive measure but a preventive one, ostensibly to preserve “evidence” that had already been presented long ago to the Senate, which is now nearly into its 20th hearing of supposed corruption charges against Binay and his kin. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO Peña: I’m still acting mayor of Makati


Peña, a Liberal Party ally 

Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO  MANILA, Philippines—Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña said on Tuesday he would continue to perform his duties as acting mayor of Makati City, saying he has not received any directive from the Department of Interior and Local Governments to stop doing so.  “It still stands as of today, I am still the acting mayor,” Peña told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message. Peña was not in his office on the 20th floor of the Makati City Hall building nor was he at his residence or the headquarters of his motorbike group “Tropang Kid” on D. Oliman Street in Brgy. Valenzuela when the Inquirer tried to locate him. He claimed that he made the rounds in the second district of Makati the whole day aboard his motorbike and attended the funerals of some Makati residents requesting motorbike escorts. “I do not usually go to the City Hall. I’m always out and making rounds with my motorbike group, distributing medicines and extending assistance to various barangays,” he explained in an earlier interview. ......Asked about the refusal of the policemen barricading the City Hall to leave despite the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Peña said these policemen have also not received any directive from the DILG to leave the area. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Court stops Junjun Binay's suspension order


In this Friday, March 13, 2015 photo, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay talks to the media while holed up in his office for the second straight day at the financial district of Makati City, Philippines. AP/Bullit Marquez 
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Court of Appeals on Monday issued a temporary restraining order against the Office of the Ombudsman's suspension order against Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar "Junjun" Binay. The court's Sixth Division said the halt order will last for 60 days, the same period of the suspension order's effectivity. On Monday, the Department of Interior and Local Government served the suspension order on Binay. The order was posted at the facade of the city hall, where Binay had insisted he would stay while awaiting the decision of the appellate court on his petition questioning his suspension. In issuing the TRO, the court cited "seriousness of issues raised" in the petition of Binay as well as the order's "possible repercussions on the electorate."  READ MORE...

ALSO: Mar Roxas junks TRO sends back his troops in Makati, insists on his DILG suspension order vs Binay


DILG Chief Mar Roxas ---
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas late yesterday sent back his police troopers, including Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, to again serve the suspension order against Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, insisting that the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) stopping Roxas from forcibly placing the Makati Mayor under preventive suspension on the basis of graft complaint before the Ombudsman, was not in effect. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) apparently believes that the CA is not the authority in ruling whether the DILG should be prevented in issuing the suspension order on the Makati Mayor, as it said in a press statement that it will seek from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima a legal opinion in addressing the leadership issue, following the suspension order and the TRO by the CA.

ALSO Junjun Binay to DILG: Stop 'quasi martial law' in Makati


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay questioned the Department of the Interior and Local Government for insisting that Vice Mayor Romulo Peña perform his duties as acting mayor despite the Court of Appeal's ruling on Binay's suspension order. AP   MANILA, Philippines - Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay on Tuesday slammed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for not following the Court of Appeal's temporary restraining order on the mayor's suspension order.  The DILG insisted that Vice Mayor Romulo Peña perform his functions as acting mayor of Makati City. Binay questioned the DILG's interpretation of the Ombudsman's six-month suspension order in connection with the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall parking building. According to Binay, the DILG was only tasked to serve the suspension order. "Kung meron man po silang mga katanungan itanong po nila ito sa korte. Wag po silang sila-sila lang mismo ang nag-iinterpret ng ruling ng Court of Appeals," Binay said in a press conference. The Makati Mayor also called on the DILG to stop the "quasi-martial law" in the city. READ MORE...

ALSO: Ombudsman hits Mayor Binay’s ‘hakot’ system, stands firm on suspension


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday insisted on the imposition of their preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Junjun Binay as he faced a malversation probe, saying the temporary restraining order (TRO) Binay secured from the court was moot and academic.  The Ombudsman also scored Binay’s so-called “hakot” system, or practice of gathering and paying off people to camp out to support a politician during times of political turmoil. With so-called supporters on his back, Mayor Binay, the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, has defied the six-month suspension order as he holed himself up at the Makati City Hall before the issuance of the TRO. “Ombudsman Morales denounces the alarming practice of suspended public officials encouraging the massing of people who obstruct or hinder the proper exercise of the functions of the office,” Morales’ statement read. Morales also said the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals resolution granting Binay’s request for a TRO was “silent” on what it seeks to restrain. Morales said long before the TRO was granted, the Department of Interior and Local Government was already able to serve the suspension order against Binay. READ MORE...

ALSO: CA's TRO on Binay suspension has no legal effect, says De Lima


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO  MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has said the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against the implementation of the six-month suspension order on Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay had no legal effect because it was already moot and academic. In her four-page legal opinion, De Lima said Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña could continue as acting mayor because he was not covered by the 60-day restraining order by the Court of Appeals. De Lima issued the legal opinion upon the request of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas. READ MORE...

ALSO Legal experts blast De Lima’s invalid TRO claim


Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Joyas, from IBP website:  Justice Chief Leila de Lima, who holds on to her “legal” opinion of the invalid temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the appellate court in favor of the petition of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay has been slammed by legal experts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.  De Lima insisted that the suspension order against the Vice President’s son remains in effect and Vice Mayor Romulo Peña should continue to serve as acting mayor despite the TRO. De Lima said the TRO was already “moot and academic” since the act it intended to restrain was the implementation of the six-month suspension order against the mayor, which was carried out by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) three hours before the CA issued the order.   IBP national president Vicente Joyas however said the CA’s TRO effectively brought back the status quo prior to the implementation of the suspension, saying it has the same effect of a status quo ante order. Joyas said the TRO was clearly intended as “immediate remedy” for the petitioner – in this case, Mayor Binay. He added that only a mandatory injunction cannot be issued immediately without a proper hearing.  “It is not for a Cabinet official to make such an opinion. Prudence dictates that the parties should instead seek clarification from the court, rather than forcing the issue without giving the court a chance to interpret its order,” he stressed. CONTINUE READING...

:continuing Makati City standoff headlines later this week......


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Headline news Lowdown: The Fiasco in Makati


ROXAS VS YOUNGER BINAY

MANILA, MARCH 23, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) By Jojo Robles - Too bad the chain of command in the aborted Makati Massacre is even harder to trace than the one that led to the killing of 44 Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano.

But perhaps it is just as well that the Court of Appeals stepped in and made the term as mayor of one Romulo “Kid” Peña probably the shortest in history – because now it’s back to the drawing board for the people who want to get Vice President Jejomar Binay through whatever means possible and to simultaneously divert attention away from the involvement of President Noynoy Aquino in the actual bloodbath that took place last Jan. 25.

The sideshow in Makati, which ended bloodlessly with the appellate court’s action, executed as it was in the slipshod, unthought-out manner for which the Aquino administration is now famous, had nothing to do with corruption, legally speaking.

The Ombudsman’s precipitate issuance of a six-month suspension order was not even a punitive measure but a preventive one, ostensibly to preserve “evidence” that had already been presented long ago to the Senate, which is now nearly into its 20th hearing of supposed corruption charges against Binay and his kin.

The charges against Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay were not even criminal in nature but administrative. They included such half-baked accusations such as grave misconduct, which certainly did not merit a half-year’s suspension on the year before an election.

The preventive order was issued pending the investigation of formal charges which have yet to be filed. And yet, Peña, in a severe case of premature assumption into the glory of the mayor’s office of the richest city in the country, was already backed up by a force of 2,500 SAF commandos (yes, them again) as early as 4 a.m. yesterday, waiting for the service of an order from the Department of Interior and Local Government that was eventually overturned by the CA’s restraining order.

As soon as the DILG team had posted the order in front of city hall, Peña was in fact sworn in as acting mayor, in consonance with a “time-on-target” script that was worthy of General Alan “Chief Adviser” Purisima.

Then, by early afternoon, while Pena (a member of the administration Liberal Party led by presidential wannabe and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas) was still licking its chops about the prospect of the Makati mayorship, the appeals court had to act like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and rudely slaughter his dreams of glory, power and much pelf.

So, who ordered the embarrassing spectacle of Pena’s rout so soon after he had claimed victory by supposedly cutting off the finger or Junjun Binay —or the hand that he uses to sign documents, really? There is no Napenas that can readily be blamed here, but the commander-in-chief was certainly monitoring the situation and standing by, ready to claim that a serious blow had been struck against the Holy Terrors of Makati, had success been achieved.

But just like in Mamasapano, the attacking force in Makati is now in full retreat and its commanders are pretending to have had no knowledge at all about what happened, or that their orders were violated by over-eager ground commanders. Let the lying—and the blame-tossing—begin.

* * *

Speaking of clowning around, it amused me to listen to that paragon of machismo, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, demand that dismissed Special Action Force commander Director Getulio Napeñas “act like a man” and take full responsibility for the Mamasapano massacre.

I can only guess that Trillanes was recalling his stint in jail, where he decided to spend several years instead of pointing to the people who bankrolled his Magdalo group’s takeover of the posh Oakwood Hotel a decade ago, when he made his unusual statement.

But like most things that he dabbles in—including the K-12 program and our relations with China—Trillanes has once again proven that he is totally clueless about what he is talking about in the matter of Mamasapano.

Why would Napeñas accept all the blame for something that was planned and executed by his President and his boss, even if the former’s sycophants now deny that he was ever commander-in-chief of anything and the latter has long claimed that he was only giving advice because of his inconvenient suspension for corruption?

If I were to ask Napeñas to man up, I’d demand that he stop defending the CIC who, as the general said recently, left his men hanging in the air in Mamasapano. I know it’s pointless to ask Purisima, who is totally embedded in Malacanang as one of the closest friends of Aquino, to spill the beans; Napeñas must do the deed.

And if I were Trillanes, I’d not wait for so long a time to pass before he comes to the defense, once again, of Aquino.

Ever since the Mamasapano incident happened, nothing was heard from the brilliant senator—who finally breaks his silence to suddenly demand that Napeñas, a decorated, battle-tested and academically accomplished officer respected by all his peers and subordinates, act like a man.

Trillanes just sounds like a jukebox with his sudden ejaculation against Napeñas, whose conduct, experience and intelligence he will never come close to, if he served 100 years in the military. Perhaps the appropriate coins have been inserted, which is why Trillanes is now singing his usual pro-Aquino songs.


INQUIRER

Peña: I’m still acting mayor of Makati Maricar B. Brizuela @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:34 PM | Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña said on Tuesday he would continue to perform his duties as acting mayor of Makati City, saying he has not received any directive from the Department of Interior and Local Governments to stop doing so.

“It still stands as of today, I am still the acting mayor,” Peña told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message.

Peña was not in his office on the 20th floor of the Makati City Hall building nor was he at his residence or the headquarters of his motorbike group “Tropang Kid” on D. Oliman Street in Brgy. Valenzuela when the Inquirer tried to locate him.

He claimed that he made the rounds in the second district of Makati the whole day aboard his motorbike and attended the funerals of some Makati residents requesting motorbike escorts.

“I do not usually go to the City Hall. I’m always out and making rounds with my motorbike group, distributing medicines and extending assistance to various barangays,” he explained in an earlier interview.

Aside from doing his daily duties as an official of the city, Pena said he was also “instructed to go below radar today.”

“I was told other concerned agencies will hold press conferences today about the matter,” Peña added.

Asked about the refusal of the policemen barricading the City Hall to leave despite the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Peña said these policemen have also not received any directive from the DILG to leave the area.

Binay said in a press conference on Tuesday that Peña never became the mayor of the city even for a few hours. He claimed that his tenure as city mayor was never cut pending the issuance of a TRO.

To prove his point, Binay met with city department heads on Tuesday morning to get updates on the resumption of the services in the city.

After his oath-taking ceremony at the Museo ng Makati in Brgy. Poblacion on Monday, Peña said that his first order for the day was to meet with department heads but it never happened as the TRO was already issued by the Court of Appeals a few hours later.

Asked if he would still meet with the department heads of the city, Peña said that he would “as soon as things are cleared out with DILG and the Department of Justice.”

He added that he would continue to prioritize improving the benefits enjoyed by the residents of Makati as acting mayor.

“There is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of the benefits in the city,” Peña added.

Aside from this priority, Peña said he would focus on improving the city first and set aside for a while the sisterhood cities.

Regarding corruption issues in the local government unit, Peña said he would do what he could to eliminate or at least minimize it.

“I’m not saying Makati does not have order but I’m up for cleansing,” he added.


PHILSTAR

Court stops Junjun Binay's suspension order (philstar.com) | Updated March 16, 2015 - 2:26pm


In this Friday, March 13, 2015 photo, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay talks to the media while holed up in his office for the second straight day at the financial district of Makati City, Philippines. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Court of Appeals on Monday issued a temporary restraining order against the Office of the Ombudsman's suspension order against Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar "Junjun" Binay.

The court's Sixth Division said the halt order will last for 60 days, the same period of the suspension order's effectivity.

On Monday, the Department of Interior and Local Government served the suspension order on Binay.

The order was posted at the facade of the city hall, where Binay had insisted he would stay while awaiting the decision of the appellate court on his petition questioning his suspension.

In issuing the TRO, the court cited "seriousness of issues raised" in the petition of Binay as well as the order's "possible repercussions on the electorate."

The court also ordered Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to explain the suspension order in writing and in a round of oral arguments on March 31 and 31.

The preventive suspension of Binay, the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, was to give way to state prosecutors' investigation into his role in the alleged overpriced construction of Makati City Hall II parking building.

Binay had alleged that the suspension order was "politically motivated" following the plan by his father to run for president in the 2016 elections. - reports from Edu Punay ..


TRIBUNE

Mar Roxas junks TRO, insists on Binay suspension order; Says TRO not in effect, bond not paid  Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00


JunJun showing TRO from CA

From GMA NEWS NETWOR VIDEO REPORT: Watch the video when Roxas sent thousands of cops and SAF forces to the Makati City Mayor"s office building....

 
Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RFYTjEeDhTo 

THE TRIBUNE REPORT:

Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas late yesterday sent back his police troopers, including Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, to again serve the suspension order against Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, insisting that the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) stopping Roxas from forcibly placing the Makati Mayor under preventive suspension on the basis of graft complaint before the Ombudsman, was not in effect.


Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) apparently believes that the CA is not the authority in ruling whether the DILG should be prevented in issuing the suspension order on the Makati Mayor, as it said in a press statement that it will seek from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima a legal opinion in addressing the leadership issue, following the suspension order and the TRO by the CA.

The DILG pointed out that it was able to carry out the Ombudsman’s order before the TRO was issued, “hence, there is nothing to restrain. In fact Vice Mayor Romulo Peña already took his oath at 9:47 a.m.,” it said.

“In view of these conflicting orders, we will refer this matter to Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima for her opinion,” the DILG added.

Earlier yesterday, the police peacekeeping contingent from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) was deployed to Makati City Hall yesterday to assist DILG authorities in serving a suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman against the Makati City Mayor.
It surprised many that with the police having posted the suspension order in front of the City Hall Building, the police contingent would be ordered by Roxas to return to the site and serve the suspension order on Binay, despite the CA having granted Binay the TRO he sought earlier.

Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP), citing reports from NCRPO chief Director Carmelo Valmoria, noted the peaceful, orderly and lawful execution of police peacekeeping operations to serve the suspension.

“The general guidance to our ground units is to assist DILG-NCR in effecting the lawful order of the Ombudsman in a peaceful and orderly fashion, observing maximum tolerance, mindful of the presence of some children and elderly among the supporters,” said Espina.

The NCRPO reported no untoward incident when the DILG-PNP team served the Ombudsman suspension order.

The NCRPO peacekeeping contingent assisted DILG-NCR Director Rene Brion in serving the Ombudsman order at exactly 8:20 a.m. at the Makati City Hall where some supporters of the suspended mayor were gathered.

Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr., spokesman of the PNP, said that the police contingent was only following orders from the proper court.

Apparently, the PNP believes that the “proper court” is the DILG and the Ombudsman, and not the CA, since the police contingent was ordered by Roxas to return to Makati City Hall to again serve the suspension order, on the claim that the bond has not been paid by Binay.

“The lawful mission of the DILG-PNP team is to serve the court process and restore normalcy in the delivery of public services in Makati City,” said Cerbo.

The policemen, under orders from Roxas, returned and circled the Makati building where Binay holds office, saying that the TRO is useless, since the bond of P500,000 imposed by the CA on Binay, has not been paid.

This was disputed by the lawyers of the Makati Mayor who told the Tribune last night that the bond has been paid, and the receipt of payment was even shown.

Despite this proof of payment, the policemen insisted on serving the suspension order to Mayor Binay.

The Vice Mayor, who is a Liberal Party member, was also quickly sworn in and as of press time, was holding office as acting Mayor in the old Makati City Hall Building. He was quoted as saying that he will block the CA’s TRO.

Hours after Roxas sent at least four battalions to serve the warrant to Binay, and quickly swearing in the Vice Mayor, the CA issued a TRO for 60 days, preventing Roxas and the Ombudsman from suspending Binay.

Roxas had sent a contingent of heavily armed policemen to Makati City Hall earlier in the day and prevented regular business in the city hall, which governs the country’s premier business district, under the pretext of serving the suspension order.



SCREENGRAB: THOUSANDS OF HEAVILY ARMED COPS AND SAF FORCES SENT BY ROXAS TO MAYOR JUNJUN'S OFFICE BUILDING.....

The mayor is the son of vice president Jejomar Binay who ran and won against Roxas in the last elections and who has consistently topped polls for hopefuls in next year’s presidential elections.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- Morales earlier placed the Mayor under preventive suspension for six months while the graft case filed against him for his alleged involvement in the overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II is being investigated.

The draconian order virtually placed the City Hall’s operations at a standstill as it included all key officials of the city.

In a five-page resolution by Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr, the CA’s Sixth Division granted Binay’s plea for the issuance of the TRO to stop his suspension from office.

The appellate court said the issues raised by Binay in his plea for TRO as “serious,” which warranted the grant of immediate relief.

“In view of the seriousness of the issues raised in the petition for certiorari and the possible repercussions on the electorate who will unquestionably be affected by suspension of their elective official, the Court resolves to grant petitioner’s prayer for a temporary restraining order for a period of 60 days from notice hereof, conditioned upon the posting by petitioner of a bond in the amount of five hundred thousand pesos, (P500,000),” the CA said.

The CA explained that the Supreme Court held in Garcia v. Court of Appeals that “suspension from office of an elective official, whether as a preventive measure or as a penalty will undeservedly deprive the electorate of the services of the person they have cconscientiously chosen and voted into office.”

It further noted that the High Tribunal found serious and urgent the question of whether the alleged acts were committed in the previous term of office of petitioner.

“This is because if it were established that the acts subject of the administrative complaint were indeed committed during petitioner’s prior term, then following the settled jurisprudence, he can no longer be administratively charged,” the CA pointed out.

The CA also noted that the SC declared in resolving the case that it would have been more prudent on the part of the appellate court, on account of the extreme urgency of the matter and the seriousness of the issues raised in the certiorari petition, to issue a TRO while it awaits the respective comments of the respondents and while it is still conntemplating whether to issue a writ of preliminary injunction or not.

The CA has set the hearing on the application for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on March 30 and March 31.

It also directed respondents Morales and the Department of Interior and Local Government to file their comments on the petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days.

Binay accused respondent Ombudsman Morales of acting with grave abuse of discretion in ordering his suspension despite the fact that the evidence of guilt against him is not strong, in violation of Section 24 of Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act and Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman).

He pointed out that the Makati Cty Hall Building II involved five construction phases with Phases I and II undertaken before he was elected as mayor in 2010.

On the other hand, Phase III to V were undertaken during his first tem as mayor.

Thus, he said, he cannot be held accountable for any alleged anomaly involving Phase I and Phase II of the project as he was not yet the elected mayor.

With respect to Phase III to V, which transpired during his first term from 2010-2013, Binay said the Ombudsman can no longer hold him administratively accountable for such since his re-election for a second term rendered the case against him moot and academic.

After the CA granted Binay his TRO, the Makati Mayor, after first hailing the decision of the CA granting the 60 day TRO on the suspension order that ended the five day tension filled City Hall Monday early afternoon, he told his supporters who held vigil for days, that they will all have to go back to work.

He thanked the appellate court’s Sixth Division for granting his petition for certiorari that has effectively canceled the suspension order served by the DILG at Makati City Hall a few hours earlier.

Mayor Binay accompanied by his lawyer headed by UNA party official lawyer JV Bautista addressed the huge crowd of supporters who did not leave starting the first day when the said suspension order was about to served and who firmly stood by him since Wednesday.

Binay showed the copy of the TRO and urged his supporters to go back to their places and show the country that “we in Makati are one.”

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to the thousands of residents whose unwavering support has been our source of strength and courage all this time. To show our gratitude, we in the city government will immediately get back to our duties and resume our normal operations and services for the benefit of the people of Makati,” Binay said.

Earlier today at around 4am, some 2,500 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), including commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF), swooped down on City Hall and barricaded all entrances, effectively disrupting its operations and services. At around 8am, the policemen escorted representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) who posted the suspension order in front of City Hall.

In a statement to the media, the Mayor hit Roxas for using the PNP for selfish political ends. “We understand and sympathize with the members of the PNP and the SAF. They are being used as pawns in political maneuvering. We know full well that DILG Secretary Mar Roxas is behind these moves,” Binay said.

“Secretary Roxas claims they are just doing their job. We do understand this. But we also know of many instances when the DILG allowed the entire legal process due course on cases involving partymates in the Liberal Party,” Binay said.

Meanwhile, the mayor apologized to the public for the disruption of services at City Hall, clarifying that the closure of offices was not the decision of the city government. City Hall offices are supposed to be open today, he said.

City government employees reporting to work earlier yesterday were barred from entering City Hall grounds by flanks of PNP personnel through the usual entry points from J.P. Rizal Street. Many were forced to go around side streets to reach the City Hall Quadrangle where thousands of supporters of Mayor Binay gathered.

A few hours earlier, Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Pena Jr. Monday morning was sworn in as acting Mayor at the Barangay Poblacion after the DILG served Makati Mayor Binay’s suspension order it had posted outside the Makati City Hall.

Peña, who was sworn in around 9:40 a.m., said he will temporarily hold office at the old Makati City Hall.

But upon learning that the TRO had been issued, Peña said he will comply with the law and vowed to return to his Vice Mayor post and continue serving his constituents, but also stated that he will be fighting the TRO issued by the CA.

Binay in an interview said he had a mixed feelings over what happened yesterday, explaining that on the one hand he is thankful that the CA had granted his petition for certiorari and granted a relief on issuing TRO while on the other hand he feels sad that he could not attend the graduation of his daughter yesterday.
With Mario J Mallari and Pat C. Santos


PHILSTAR

Junjun Binay to DILG: Stop 'quasi-martial law' in Makati By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated March 17, 2015 - 11:21am


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay questioned the Department of the Interior and Local Government for insisting that Vice Mayor Romulo Peña perform his duties as acting mayor despite the Court of Appeal's ruling on Binay's suspension order. AP

MANILA, Philippines - Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay on Tuesday slammed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for not following the Court of Appeal's temporary restraining order on the mayor's suspension order.

The DILG insisted that Vice Mayor Romulo Peña perform his functions as acting mayor of Makati City.

Binay questioned the DILG's interpretation of the Ombudsman's six-month suspension order in connection with the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall parking building.

According to Binay, the DILG was only tasked to serve the suspension order.

"Kung meron man po silang mga katanungan itanong po nila ito sa korte. Wag po silang sila-sila lang mismo ang nag-iinterpret ng ruling ng Court of Appeals," Binay said in a press conference.

The Makati Mayor also called on the DILG to stop the "quasi-martial law" in the city.

"Ang nakakalungkot ay parang may martial law dito sa Makati... Kailangan ho bang umikot-ikot si Col. Jamias na pinalilibutan ng mga pulis na may dalang armalite?"

Binay said that it was unnecessary to deploy police officers and called on the agency to respect the ruling of the Court of Apepals.

Peña, who took an oath yesterday as acting mayor of Makati, is also set to perform his duties as mayor alongside Binay who insists that the suspension order was illegal.

Binay reiterated that Peña's oath-taking was not just a defiance of the court's ruling but also a defiance of the Makati citizens' will.

"Ako po ang nahalal overwhelmingly noong eleksyon. Ako po ang pinili ng mga taga-Makati na pamunuan po sila," Binay said.

The Makati Mayor will hold a meeting with the city's department heads within the day, noting that "everything is normal." ..


INQUIRER

Ombudsman hits Mayor Binay’s ‘hakot’ system, stands firm on suspension Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ INQUIRER.net 4:17 PM | Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday insisted on the imposition of their preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Junjun Binay as he faced a malversation probe, saying the temporary restraining order (TRO) Binay secured from the court was moot and academic.

The Ombudsman also scored Binay’s so-called “hakot” system, or practice of gathering and paying off people to camp out to support a politician during times of political turmoil.

With so-called supporters on his back, Mayor Binay, the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, has defied the six-month suspension order as he holed himself up at the Makati City Hall before the issuance of the TRO.

“Ombudsman Morales denounces the alarming practice of suspended public officials encouraging the massing of people who obstruct or hinder the proper exercise of the functions of the office,” Morales’ statement read.

Morales also said the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals resolution granting Binay’s request for a TRO was “silent” on what it seeks to restrain.

Morales said long before the TRO was granted, the Department of Interior and Local Government was already able to serve the suspension order against Binay.

The Ombudsman also said Mayor Binay’s replacement Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. had already been sworn in as acting Makati mayor before the issuance of a TRO.

The Ombudsman has yet to receive a copy of the TRO, but it has received a copy of the resolution granting Binay’s request.

In the DILG’s Compliance Report submitted by DILG NCR Director Renato Brion to the Ombudsman, the DILG served the suspension order around 8:30 a.m. on March 16, while Peña was sworn in 9:47 a.m.


THERE YOU GO Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay answers questions from the media during a press conference at Makati City Hall, where he has holed up since Wednesday night. EDWIN BACASMAS

The Ombudsman suspended Mayor Binay and 20 others without pay for six months as they faced graft, malversation and falsification of documents in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building.

Binay was suspended from office as he may use his position to frustrate witnesses or tamper with evidence, the Ombudsman said.

The suspension order was imposed as the Ombudsman was set to start its preliminary investigation on Mayor Binay’s father Vice President Jejomar Binay, Mayor Binay and 22 others for malversation, falsification, graft and violation of the procurement law in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building.

Vice President Binay was not ordered suspended because he was not included in the administrative complaint.

Besides the criminal charges, the respondents except for VP Binay face the administrative raps for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The Ombudsman Special Panel of Investigators had filed its complaint against the respondents for the alleged overpricing of the parking building which started construction in 2007 when Vice President Binay was mayor.

According to the Ombudsman, the preliminary investigation will look into the alleged irregularities in the procurement and award for the design and architectural services as well as the construction of the parking building built along F. Zobel street.

The complaint said the respondents awarded the P11.9-million contract for the design and architectural services to Mana Architecture and Interior Design Company without public bidding.

It also said that payment for the contract was released to Mana even without the deliverables made.

The first two phases of the construction of the building also proceeded without a detailed engineering plan, contrary to procurement rules, the complaint said.

Meanwhile, Hilmarc Construction, the contractor allegedly behind the overpriced construction, was purportedly awarded with the contract despite irregularities and use of falsified documents, the complaint said.

The complaint also said there were two losing bidders in the contract. But as it turns out, one of the bidders denies participation while the other is nonexistent.

Besides Mayor Binay, suspended from their government posts are former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra, city legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, city budget officer Lorenza Amores, former central planning management office (cpmo) chief Virginia Hernandez, former city engineer Mario Badillo, former city accountant Leonila Querijero, former acting city accountant Raydes Pestaño, city accountant Cecilio Lim III, acting city accountant Eleno Mendoza, city treasurer Nelia Barlis, CPMO engineers Arnel Cadangan, Emerito Magat and Connie Consulta, CPMO chief Line dela Peña, bids and awards committee (bac) secretariat heads Giovanni Condes and Manolito Uyaco, technical working group (TWG) chair Rodel Nayve, BAC member Ulysses Orienza, general services department (GSD) OIC Gerardo San Gabriel, and GSD staff member Norman Flores.

The Ombudsman probe stemmed from a plunder complaint filed by Renato Bondal and Nicholas Enciso VI.

According to the plunder complaint, the construction of the building worth P1.56 billion was overpriced, citing National Statistics Office construction data which amount the average cost of the building that year at P245.6 million only.


INQUIRER

CA TRO on Binay suspension has no legal effect, says De Lima Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 7:03 PM | Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has said the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against the implementation of the six-month suspension order on Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay had no legal effect because it was already moot and academic.

In her four-page legal opinion, De Lima said Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña could continue as acting mayor because he was not covered by the 60-day restraining order by the Court of Appeals.

De Lima issued the legal opinion upon the request of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

De Lima explained that the suspension order by the Ombudsman was implemented on March 16 at 8:24 a.m. by posting a copy of the order at the entrance of the Makati City Hall. Also, the Ombudsman notice was personally served at 9:47 a.m. on the same date followed by Peña taking his oath as acting mayor.

Then, the Court of Appeals TRO was received by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at 3:09 p.m.

“We are of the opinion that the temporary restraining order of the Court of Appeals is without legal force and effect because it is already moot and academic, the acts sought to be restrained having already been performed and accomplished,” De Lima said.

“The TRO issued by the CA is a temporary injunction, not a preliminary mandatory injunction. As such, it cannot apply to acts already accomplished such as the issuance of the Ombudsman joint order and its implementation by the DILG,” she added.

She pointed out that it had been an established principle that when the event sought to be prevented by the injunction had already happened, “nothing more could be done.”

“There is no longer any act that the Ombudsman or the DILG can restrain themselves from performing, all acts with regard to the implementation of the joint order already having been accomplished. There can therefore be no violation of the TRO, since the acts it sought to restrain have already been performed before the TRO,” she said.

With regard to Peña, De Lima said he could continue his duties as acting mayor since he was not part of the petition filed at the appeals court nor he was covered by the restraining order it issued.

“It is also our considered opinion that Vice Mayor Peña, having taken his oath as acting mayor of Makati, may continue to dispense the duties and exercise the powers of said office without being bound by the CA’s TRO since he is not included as a party respondent in said case,” De Lima said.


TRIBUNE

Legal experts blast Leila’s invalid TRO claim  Written by Tribune Wires  Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00  By Benjamin B. Pulta,Charlie V. Manalo and Alvin Murcia

Justice Chief Leila de Lima, who holds on to her “legal” opinion of the invalid temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the appellate court in favor of the petition of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay has been slammed by legal experts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

De Lima insisted that the suspension order against the Vice President’s son remains in effect and Vice Mayor Romulo Peña should continue to serve as acting mayor despite the TRO.

De Lima said the TRO was already “moot and academic” since the act it intended to restrain was the implementation of the six-month suspension order against the mayor, which was carried out by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) three hours before the CA issued the order.

IBP national president Vicente Joyas however said the CA’s TRO effectively brought back the status quo prior to the implementation of the suspension, saying it has the same effect of a status quo ante order.

Joyas said the TRO was clearly intended as “immediate remedy” for the petitioner – in this case, Mayor Binay. He added that only a mandatory injunction cannot be issued immediately without a proper hearing.

“It is not for a Cabinet official to make such an opinion. Prudence dictates that the parties should instead seek clarification from the court, rather than forcing the issue without giving the court a chance to interpret its order,” he stressed.

Other legal experts also lashed out at De Lima for issuing her opinion.

Joyas said not only is De Lima not authorized to issue an opinion on an order issued by the court, but that she had also erred in her interpretation of the law.

The DoJ chief was slo refuted by Amado Valdez, president of the Philippine Chapter of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL), saying it was the Justice Secretary’s opinion that has no legal effect.

“The TRO must be reasonably interpreted in Binay’s favor. You cannot deprive an affected official of his position by merely taking an oath. The TRO is an effective remedy,” said Valdez.

“De Lima’s opinion is not binding,” Valdez stressed.

One of the counsels of former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona, lawyer Tranquil Salvador, also argued against De Lima and Chief Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ opinions saying the TRO had no effect as the suspension order had not been served correctly and legally.

This position of De Lima and Carpio-Morales is being contested by legal luminaries as they insist the TRO is restraining not the suspension order but the suspension itself.

Salvador said that even if the arguments of both De Lima and Carpio-Morales are accurate, the issue would fall on whether the suspension order had been rightfully served according to what the law provides.

“According to Rule 13 Section 9 of the Rules of Court, there are two ways to serve a resolution.
 First is through personal service which means the resolution would have to be personally served to the subject person, and second, through registered mail,” Salvador explained.

“There is no provision anywhere in the law, not even in our jurisprudence, which states that a resolution or order may be served simply by posting it anywhere,” the lawyer stressed citing two instances when the SC ruled on the matter- the case between the FEU-NMRF and the FEU-NMRF-AMW, a labor case and that of former Caloocan City Mayor Recom Echiverri wherein the order was simply posted somewhere and not properly served.

“Therefore, what I am saying is that if the suspension order has not been served correctly, such has not been implemented. There is then no suspension.

Valdez stressed that the TRO “must be reasonably interpreted in (Binay’s) favor.”

Agabin, for his part, said the TRO is “effective” and that De Lima’s opinion was “not binding.”

But De Lima claimed that “The status quo that the TRO preserved was the oath taking of the vice mayor as acting mayor. That is the status quo. That is the situation now,” she stressed.

“Since (Peña) was able to take his oath, therefore his assumption of office was legitimate so the DILG must make sure he should perform his actions as acting mayor,” she pointed out.

She suggested that the camp of Mayor Binay could still seek other available remedies before the CA, but explained that any possible action of the court should first undergo hearing with both sides presenting their cases.

“I don’t want to say what legal remedies they can avail of although in my letter I said they should go back to the Court of Appeals and secure the proper order. But any order now that must come out of the Court of Appeals has to be first hear or set for hearing and should not be an ex parte,” she explained.

“So any other order that the petitioner would seek cannot be just granted by the CA without hearing both sides, particularly the respondents (DILG and Ombudsman) through the Solgen (Solicitor General),” she added.

It was also pointed out in a column that even as the Ombudsman gave Binay 10 days to answer, which would be March 20, the suspension order was already posted, thereby denying yet again the Makati Mayor’s right to reply to the preliminary probe.

The embattaled Makati City Mayor is still the local chief executive of Makati City.

This is the opinion of former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. when asked to comment on the current stand off at the Makati City due to the suspension of Binay by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Parking Building.

Pimentel, who is the father of the Local Government code, said the swearing of Makati Vice Mayor Peña as acting mayor cannot supersede the order of the Court of Appeals that has an effect of a status quo, meaning Binay is still the mayor.

The veteran senator said that in order to resolve the current situation on who is the mayor, both camps should go to the Supreme court.

Likewise, Pimentel urged all the parties involved in the six-month suspension of Binay to respect the decision of the CA, granting a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) for Binay which will stop the Ombudsman to implement the suspension against the local chief executive over corruption allegations.

Pimentel said the rule of law should prevail which means that the TRO order issued by the court has to be respected to prevent any political trouble.

He said for him the rule of law should be upheld at all times and basically that is the objective of Mayor Binay to maintain the status quo and the court to settle the issued whether who is right or wrong.

He, however, said that there are some refinements with regard to the issuance of the TRO, stressing that it would be availed once there is an another development of the case which will be stopped by the TRO.

He said the TRO is meant to maintain law and order and any act that would prevent the maintenance of that should be ignored.

The former senator reiterated that the public should be informed about the orders being issued by the executive department.

The so-called acting mayor, Peña, may claim to be holding office, but his councilors aren’t heeding him, as they have declared Binay as the true Makati Mayor.

Members of the Makati City Council yesterday declared that Mayor Binay is the mayor of Makati.

Speaking on behalf of the council in a press conference today, Councilor Maria Alethea Casal-Uy said the City Council respects the rule of law and abides by the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals.

“Based on the TRO, Mayor Jun Binay is still the Mayor of Makati. We support his stand of carrying on with his duties as chief executive, and we also intend to continue doing our part as legislators,” Casal-Uy said.

Casal-Uy said the city councilors want to inform the public, especially Makati residents, that the City Council is doing “business as usual” and performing the mandate given to them by the people of Makati as legislators.

“We will continue to make laws and policies for the benefit of the people of Makati. We are here because we believe that the rule of law should prevail, and the order of the Court of Appeals must be obeyed. This is why we in the City Council of Makati are abiding by the TRO issued by the CA,” Casal-Uy said.

The city councilor also debunked a statement reportedly made by Vice Mayor Peña that the burden of preventing violence from erupting lies with Mayor Binay, who should leave City Hall.

“Who is to blame? Him or the Mayor? ” she asked. She reiterated that the council will stick to the rule of law as they believe that orders coming from the court should be obeyed.

Casal-Uy also disclosed that they were holding a session at 4pm. She confirmed that the vice mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council, and that they expected him to attend the session. However, she said that if he will be unable to attend, he will be marked absent, and Councilor Nelson Pasia as speaker pro-tempore will act as the presiding officer.

In response to a reporter’s question about the possibility of Peña signing an ordinance as acting mayor, Casal-Uy clarified that the mayor is not part of the City Council, and that the mayor only signs after an ordinance or resolution has been approved by the City Council.

All the members of the City Council were present at the press meeting, except for two who were out of town.

Present were Councilors Casal-Uy, Israel Cruzado, Manuel Monsour del Rosario III, Maria Theresa de Lara, Ferdinand Eusebio, Virgilio Hilario, Henry Jacome, Arnold Magpantay, Leonardo Magpantay, Romeo Medina, Nelson Pasia, Vincent Sese, Mary Ruth Tolentino, Ma. Concepcion Yabut, and Liga president Ma. Arlene Ortega. Unable to attend were Councilors Tosca Camille Puno-Ramos and Nemesio Yabut, Jr.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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