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COURT OF APPEALS JUNKS OMBUDSMAN PLEA TO OUST JUNJUN BINAY


MORALES: 
It’s Binay 2 , Ombudsman 0 at the Court of Appeals which turned down the Ombudsman’s plea to allow it to press on with its preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay. The appellate court’s sixth division denied yesterday the motion of the Ombudsman through the Office of the Solicitor General seeking the suspension of the CA proceedings due to its petition filed in the Supreme Court last week. Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo cited judicial courtesy since any further action of the CA would preempt the ruling of the High Court of their petition, which questioned the CA’s temporary restraining order on the suspension against Mayor Binay.
Unimpressed, Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr., chair of the CA’s Sixth Division, denied the OSG’s motion in open court hearing, citing Section 7, Rules 65 of the Rules of Court, which provides that any petition in a higher court “shall not interrupt the course of the principal case” in the absence of a halt order. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP Binay, Mayor Junjun hold boodle fight with barangay captains at city hall


Photos tweeted by radio dzBB's James Agustin showed the father and son taking part in the feast. The photos also showed a long line of food prepared for the barangay captains.  Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday evening joined his son, suspended Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, in a boodle fight with barangay captains at the Makati City Hall. Mayor Binay had been slapped with a six-month preventive suspension by the Ombudsman over alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II. He has, however, stayed in office, saying a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals takes precedence. The Department of the Interior and Local Government has designated Vice Mayor Kid Peña as acting mayor. It said the TRO was issued after the suspension order had already been served on Binay, who was ordered suspended over a graft complaint in relation to the alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II. The Binays have dismissed the allegations against them as politically motivatedTHIS IS THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO: CA slams solicitors’ failure to brief Mar and Morales on suspension in Makati


THE Court of Appeals rebuked state lawyers for failing to properly advise Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on the preventive suspension they served on Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. 
During the CA hearing on the contempt charges Binay filed against Morales and Roxas, magistrates of the appellate court grilled Senior State Solicitor Raymund Rigodon for arguing that the temporary restraining order the CA filed against the suspension was invalid.  Justices of the CA Sixth Division grilled Senior State Solicitor Raymund Rigodon after he claimed that Morales and Roxas could not be held in contempt for ignoring the TRO, issued last March 16, because the court order was supposedly invalid.  Associate Justice Francisco Acosta asked Rigodon what his grounds for arguing that the court order was already moot because it was issued after the notice of Binay’s six-month suspension was served, but Rigodon failed to answer and instead asked for more time to prepare an answer. READ ON...

ALSO: De Lima, Peña told to explain TRO defiance


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA  
The 6th Division of the Court of Appeals Sixth Division on Tuesday ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña to explain within three days why they should not be cited for contempt for stopping the implementation of an injunction it issued against the suspension of Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
De Lima and Peña were among the principal respondents in the indirect contempt charges filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd for not honoring the May 16 temporary restraining order (TRO). Associate Justice Jose Reyes, chairman of the 6th Division, said Peña was included when he took over as acting mayor of Makati after the suspension order was served on Binay by the Department of Interior and Local Government. The Binay camp said Peña’s act was tantamount to defiance of the TRO. READ MORE...

ALSO: Junjun Binay convenes Makati disaster council for 'Chedeng'


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay. Philstar.com/File photo
MANILA, Philippines — Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay on Wednesday convened the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to prepare the city for the landfall of typhoon "Chedeng."  Chedeng is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday and hit Luzon. Binay ordered an immediate inventory of existing equipment, facilities and supplies that would be needed when Chedeng affects the country. Binay also ordered the city's C3, or command center, to regularly update the council members on developments about the typhoon. "We are already aware that Chedeng has transformed into a super typhoon. We should therefore prepare for the worst case scenario and make the necessary emergency purchases," Binay said. Binay also ordered the creation of a command post at the ground floor of the Makati City Hall Building 2 where computer workstations will be installed, and where members of the council will hold office during the monitoring phase of Chedeng's arrival. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP Binay joins devotees in Lucban ‘healing church’


One of the favorite places that people want to go during vacation especially holy week is the Station of the Cross at The Kamay ni Hesus Shrine (hand of Jesus Shrine) in Lucban, Quezon. Below this post you will find easy way on How to get to "Kamay ni Hesus Shrine" in Lucban Quezon. The magnificent statue of Jesus Christ standing on the top of hill that was carved in an ascending order to create the 14-stations of the cross makes the tourist destination in Lucban Quezon during summer vacation and celebration of holy week.
LUCBAN, Quezon – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Maundy Thursday afternoon joined the annual throng of devotees to the “Kamay ni Hesus” (KNH) shrine here, popular ‘healing’ priest Fr. Joey Faller said Friday. Faller said Binay spent some moments inside the KNH “healing church”. The Vice President later mingled with devotees inside the complex for about an hour before he left, the priest said. “Vice President Binay was so at home with the devotees. He gladly joined the pilgrims in their ‘wefies’ (group photo shoot),” Faller said. The religious compound kept its gate open all day and all night on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. On regular days, the shrine is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only. READ MORE...

ALSO VP Binay’s Holy Week destination: Mt. Banahaw


KAMAY NI HESUS Devotees at the Kamay ni Hesus shrine in Lucban, Quezon on Good Friday touch the glass coffin of Santo Señor Sepulcro (The Dead Christ) and recite prayers for atonement of sins and request for favors. DELFIN T.MALLARI JR./Inquirer Southern Luzon 
LUCENA CITY — Vice President Jejomar Binay on Maundy Thursday joined the annual trek of Lenten pilgrims to Mount Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon, police said. Insp. Madonna Abang, Dolores police chief, said Binay arrived in the town around 9:45 a.m. and motored directly to the compound of the religious cult “Suprema Dela Iglesia Del Ciudad Mystica De Dios” in the village of Sta. Lucia located at the base of Banahaw. Binay paid homage to the religious sect founder Suprema Isabel Suarez, said Abang who also accompanied the Vice President. “Vice President Binay ate lunch in the company of sect leaders,” Abang said in a phone interview. During Holy Week for the past several years, the Vice President never failed to visit Banahaw, known as a “mystical mountain”. Many religious believers trek the mountain to experience something divine, particularly during the Lenten season, as they believe it is inhabited by heavenly spirits. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

CA junks OMB plea to oust Binay Jr.


COURT OF APPEALS

MANILA, APRIL 6, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Tuesday, 31 March 2015 -  It’s Binay 2 , Ombudsman 0 at the Court of Appeals which turned down the Ombudsman’s plea to allow it to press on with its preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.

The appellate court’s sixth division denied yesterday the motion of the Ombudsman through the Office of the Solicitor General seeking the suspension of the CA proceedings due to its petition filed in the Supreme Court last week.

Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo cited judicial courtesy since any further action of the CA would preempt the ruling of the High Court of their petition, which questioned the CA’s temporary restraining order on the suspension against Mayor Binay.

Unimpressed, Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr., chair of the CA’s Sixth Division, denied the OSG’s motion in open court hearing, citing Section 7, Rules 65 of the Rules of Court, which provides that any petition in a higher court “shall not interrupt the course of the principal case” in the absence of a halt order.

The magistrate also told Ocampo that failure to proceed with the case could be a ground for an administrative charge against them.

“Judicial courtesy must be applied with prudence and caution,” Reyes stressed.

The CA justices also questioned Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera for questioning the jurisdiction of the appellate court and insisting on the non-applicability of the principle of condonation in the case.

Mosquera countered the claim of Binay lawyers led by Claro Certeza that the alleged acts covered by the Ombudsman probe were committed during the mayor’s previous term and had already been condoned by his re-election in the 2013 polls.

He argued that condonation should be determined in full-blown administrative proceedings of the anti-graft office and that Mayor Binay should have just raised the issue by appealing the six-month preventive suspension order before elevating the case to the CA.

He added that the suspension is a preventive measure to protect the integrity of the Ombudsman’s investigation and make sure that the official would not use his powers to tamper with evidence and influence potential witnesses.

But Associate Justice Francisco Acosta told the Ombudsman official that the application of condonation does not need investigation as it simply requires determination of dates of elections and acts allegedly committed.

“If condonation needs finding of administrative liability, then there should be no preventive suspension yet,” the justice pointed out in rebutting Mosquera’s argument.

Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta Jr., for his part, lectured Mosquera on jurisprudence on the jurisdiction of the CA on actions of the Ombudsman.

The debate centered on the issue of whether or not the alleged offenses committed by Mayor Binay could be covered by the condonation principle.

Mosquera claimed that the ongoing Ombudsman probe covers two checks for payment of builders of the Makati City Hall building 2 and an P11-million contract for the architectural design of the building signed by Mayor Binay in his current term, which therefore cannot be considered condoned.

Certeza argued that such acts should still be covered by the condonation rule since they emanated from contracts originally forged even before Mayor Binay was elected to the top City Hall post.

Citing precedents, he argued that the determination of liabilities should be based on when the contracts were inked.

He explained that Mayor Binay just signed the checks for payment of the developers as a matter of obligation.

“The mayor has no choice but to pay because it is the obligation of the city government to the contractors. He signed the checks as part of the implementation of the existing contracts,” the lawyer further pointed out.

At the end of the three-hour hearing at 5 p.m., the CA submitted for resolution the prayer of petition for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction that would extend for an indefinite period the TRO it earlier issued on the suspension order.

Certeza also asked the court to clarify the effectivity of its TRO, citing confusion in the City Hall where Mayor Binay and Vice Mayor Romulo Peña are both serving as mayors, which he said could be potential source of violence.

He specifically urged the CA to reiterate the issuance of its halt order.

Earlier, the government lost its plea for the hearings at the Court of Appeals to be suspended as the CA yesterday thumbed down the motion of the OSG seeking to suspend the hearing of the petition filed by suspended Makati City Mayor Binay.

Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo told the CA Sixth Division that the hearing should be suspended out of “judicial courtesy” since the petition of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) questioning the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the CA against the “immediately executory” six-month preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman against Binay is still pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

“We filed a motion to suspend proceedings on the grounds of judicial courtesy, considering last week, March 25, respondent Ombudsman filed a petition for certiori before the honorable Supreme Court,” Ocampo told the CA justices from the Sixth Division.

“While the SC has not issued a TRO (temporary restraining order), we respectfully invoke the limited and qualified application of the doctrine of judicial courtesy,” he added.

The OSG expressed apprehension that the case before the SC may be declared as “moot and academic” if the court proceedings at the CA would continue.

In response, Certeza opposed the solicitor general’s request, saying, “There is no basis for this honorable tribunal to suspend proceedings.” He cited Rule 65, Section 7 of the Rules of Court.


GMA NEWS TV

VP Binay, Mayor Junjun hold boodle fight with barangay captains at city hall March 29, 2015 8:43pm


Photos tweeted by radio dzBB's James Agustin showed the father and son taking part in the feast. The photos also showed a long line of food prepared for the barangay captains.

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday evening joined his son, suspended Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, in a boodle fight with barangay captains at the Makati City Hall.

Mayor Binay had been slapped with a six-month preventive suspension by the Ombudsman over alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II.

He has, however, stayed in office, saying a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals takes precedence.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has designated Vice Mayor Kid Peña as acting mayor. It said the TRO was issued after the suspension order had already been served on Binay, who was ordered suspended over a graft complaint in relation to the alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II.

The Binays have dismissed the allegations against them as politically motivated. — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

CA slams solicitors’ failure to brief Mar and Morales on suspension By Rey E. Requejo | Apr. 01, 2015 at 12:01am



THE Court of Appeals rebuked state lawyers for failing to properly advise Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on the preventive suspension they served on Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.

During the CA hearing on the contempt charges Binay filed against Morales and Roxas, magistrates of the appellate court grilled Senior State Solicitor Raymund Rigodon for arguing that the temporary restraining order the CA filed against the suspension was invalid.

Justices of the CA Sixth Division grilled Senior State Solicitor Raymund Rigodon after he claimed that Morales and Roxas could not be held in contempt for ignoring the TRO, issued last March 16, because the court order was supposedly invalid.

Associate Justice Francisco Acosta asked Rigodon what his grounds for arguing that the court order was already moot because it was issued after the notice of Binay’s six-month suspension was served, but Rigodon failed to answer and instead asked for more time to prepare an answer.

READ ON...
Acosta also challenged Rigodon to cite any jurisprudence to support the argument that the CA has no power to issue a TRO on the preventive suspension orders of the Ombudsman, but Rigodon could not provide a single court ruling.

When Rigodon argued that the DILG should have not been impleaded in the contempt case as the agency enjoys state immunity from suits, Acosta rebuffed him and said it was Roxas who was being charged of contempt and not the DILG as an agency.

“It is your interpretation that TRO is invalid, that’s why you did not properly advice your client?” Acosta stressed.

CA’s Sixth Division chairman, Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr. sided with Acosta’s view and told Rigodon that “as a lawyer you could have been prudent in giving advice to your client.”

Reyes also scrutinized the legal opinion of Morales that the TRO was already moot and unenforceable, which he believes “could have also triggered the defiance (of the TRO).”

Reyes also questioned the motive of the manifestation filed with the court last March 17, which espoused the Ombudsman’s legal opinion, included a conclusion that the TRO was moot.

The justice made the same comment on the similar legal opinion of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima.

For his part, Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta Jr. grilled Rigodon why he did not advise Roxas to seek clarification from the court instead of asking for De Lima’s opinion.

“Why did it not aver with the public respondents to ask the court to clarify the parameters of the TRO?” he asked.

In the three-hour hearing, Binay’s lawyer Claro Certeza prodded the CA justice to cite the officials in contempt for their alleged “contumacious” acts in defiance of the TRO.

Binay’s lawyer stressed that Morales and De Lima both advanced their view that the TRO was moot and unenforceable and complained that Roxas even ordered the police to defy the court order while Peña continues to act as acting mayor despite the TRO.

“Contempt is proper under the circumstances because there’s clearly a defiance of the order. The Ombudsman and Secretary of Justice should be respectful of the law being lawyers that they are. But sadly these two are the ones directly encouraging the defiance,” Certeza lamented.

However, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera, who represented Morales, argued that the Ombudsman could not be cited for contempt since she could only be held criminally liable via impeachment proceedings as provided in the Constitution.

Mosquera added that Morales just issued a legal opinion, which is part of her duty and cannot be considered a contumacious act against the court.

De Lima is also a respondent in the contempt case but did not have representation in the hearing. She was given by the CA a non-extendible period of three days to submit her comment along with Vice Mayor Romulo Peña, who was also not represented.

Nonetheless, the CA required all parties to submit their respective comments, after which, the petition for contempt is deemed submitted for resolution.

When Certeza sought the CA to issue a clarification and reiterate the TRO, Justice Reyes told the Binay’s camp to just wait for the court’s resolution.

While the CA did not give definite deadline, Justice Reyes hinted out that that the ruling will be out “soon.”

The appellate court held the hearing after it granted the plea of Binay for TRO to stop the preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman against him for his role in the alleged anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall building 2.

The CA also tackled the petition for contempt filed by the embattled son of Vice President Jejomar Binay against Carpio – Morales, Roxas, de Lima and Vice Mayor Kid Peña for allegedly “acting in unison in defying (the TRO).”

The Makati City mayor has impleaded Morales and De Lima in the contempt petition after they issued identical opinions that the TRO was moot and academic since it was issued three hours after the suspension was already served and Vice Mayor Peña already took his oath as acting mayor.

Roxas and Peña used their legal opinion as basis for insisting on the effectivity of the suspension order against Binay.

The Ombudsman earlier assailed the CA’s TRO against the suspension of Binay, saying it was already moot and academic, and brought the case before the Supreme Court.

The anti-graft body sought the issuance of TRO to stop the CA’s halt order and stop it from hearing the case.

The SC immediately tackled the petition of Morales - a retired member of the high court - in a special session last Thursday, but deferred ruling on her urgent plea. Instead, the high tribunal required the CA and Mayor Binay to comment on the petition not later than April 6, a day before the justices start their annual summer session in Baguio City.

In issuing the 60-day TRO, the CA cited as basis “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.”

Apart from TRO and writ of preliminary injunction, Binay has asked the appellate court in his petition to also nullify the assailed Ombudsman order after hearing.

Binay claimed that the anti-graft office committed grave abuse of discretion and violated his rights when it “whimsically and capriciously disregarded and violated the foregoing established laws and jurisprudence.”

Petitioner stressed that his signature would not suffice as proof of his alleged involvement in the anomaly, citing a 1995 Supreme Court ruling in Sabiniano vs. CA which stated that a mere signature or approval appearing on a voucher is not enough to sustain a finding of conspiracy among public officials and employees.

The malversation of public funds, graft and falsification charges were filed in July 2014 by lawyer Renato Bondal, who claimed that the construction of the building was overpriced by P862 million. The complaint cited as proof Binay’s signatures that appeared in a disbursement voucher and on the award and purchase/contract for the project.


MANILA TIMES

De Lima, Peña told to explain TRO defiance March 31, 2015 11:02 pm


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

The 6th Division of the Court of Appeals Sixth Division on Tuesday ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña to explain within three days why they should not be cited for contempt for stopping the implementation of an injunction it issued against the suspension of Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.

De Lima and Peña were among the principal respondents in the indirect contempt charges filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd for not honoring the May 16 temporary restraining order (TRO).

Associate Justice Jose Reyes, chairman of the 6th Division, said Peña was included when he took over as acting mayor of Makati after the suspension order was served on Binay by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The Binay camp said Peña’s act was tantamount to defiance of the TRO.

READ MORE...
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera and Solicitor Raymund Rigodon argued that the preventive suspension order was officially served on and duly received on March 11 or five days prior to the issuance of the 60-day TRO.

Mosquera and Rigodon said the TRO was moot and academic since the suspension order was served earlier than the issuance of TRO. Reyes said the division will rule on Binay’s petition immediately after receiving the comments of de Lima and Peña. JAIME R. PILAPIL


PHILSTAR

Junjun Binay convenes Makati disaster council for 'Chedeng' By Mike Frialde (philstar.com) | Updated April 1, 2015 - 7:10pm


Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay on Wednesday convened the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to prepare the city for the landfall of typhoon "Chedeng."

Chedeng is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday and hit Luzon.

Binay ordered an immediate inventory of existing equipment, facilities and supplies that would be needed when Chedeng affects the country.

Binay also ordered the city's C3, or command center, to regularly update the council members on developments about the typhoon.

"We are already aware that Chedeng has transformed into a super typhoon. We should therefore prepare for the worst case scenario and make the necessary emergency purchases," Binay said.

Binay also ordered the creation of a command post at the ground floor of the Makati City Hall Building 2 where computer workstations will be installed, and where members of the council will hold office during the monitoring phase of Chedeng's arrival.

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He also instructed the Liga ng mga Barangay to notify barangay captains to immediately prepare their evacuation centers and inform residents to get ready for the typhoon.

Attending the MDRRMC meeting were Makati City Councilors Marie Alethea Casal-Uy (city council spokesperson) and Israel Cruzado (committee chair on DRRM), Acting City Administrator Vissia Marie Aldon, DRRM senior consultant Atty. Violeta Seva, and members of the council from offices and departments of the city government and national agencies.

As part of the preparations, supplies and vehicles will be positioned at the city hall grounds, together with water refilling and water treatment facilities.

Binay reminded the concerned offices to check the current status of fuel supply, including that of gasoline stations, where the city government has an agreement for emergency purchases.

The social welfare agency reported that at present, there are pre-packed goods ready for distribution to 7,900 families. The stock goods in its storage facility that can be repacked are sufficient for 20,000 or more families.

The city government will also attend the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council emergency meeting at 4 p.m. at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority office in Makati to discuss Chedeng's status and arrival, as well as preparations.

Makati residents may call emergency 168 for any inquiries and assistance needed. Other PLDT telephone nos. connected with 168 that may be contacted even by those outside Makati are 870-1920, 870-1923, 870-1926, and 870-1929.

Information can also be accessed at @MakatiInfo, @MakatiTraffic and MyMakati Twitter Account.


INQUIRER

VP Binay joins devotees in Lucban ‘healing church’ Delfin T. Mallari Jr. @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:53 PM | Friday, April 3rd, 2015


One of the favorite places that people want to go during vacation especially holy week is the Station of the Cross at The Kamay ni Hesus Shrine (hand of Jesus Shrine) in Lucban, Quezon. Below this post you will find easy way on How to get to "Kamay ni Hesus Shrine" in Lucban Quezon. The magnificent statue of Jesus Christ standing on the top of hill that was carved in an ascending order to create the 14-stations of the cross makes the tourist destination in Lucban Quezon during summer vacation and celebration of holy week.

LUCBAN, Quezon – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Maundy Thursday afternoon joined the annual throng of devotees to the “Kamay ni Hesus” (KNH) shrine here, popular ‘healing’ priest Fr. Joey Faller said Friday.

Faller said Binay spent some moments inside the KNH “healing church”.

The Vice President later mingled with devotees inside the complex for about an hour before he left, the priest said.

“Vice President Binay was so at home with the devotees. He gladly joined the pilgrims in their ‘wefies’ (group photo shoot),” Faller said.

The religious compound kept its gate open all day and all night on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. On regular days, the shrine is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only.

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When asked if Binay asked for a special prayer from the charismatic healing priest, quoting the Vice President, Faller said: “Kung anuman ang kalooban ng Diyos ay maganap at makayanan niya ang hinihingi ng Diyos at mga tao.”

(That the will of the Lord will be done, and that he will be able to do what God and the people ask of him.)

Binay has long declared his intention to run as President in the coming 2016 election under the banner of the political opposition.

Faller said he was surprised to learn that Binay will again visit the shrine. He said he only learned of Binay’s visit Tuesday night.

“Though Maundy Thursday last year, the Vice President was also here,” the priest said in an interview here.

The Vice President arrived at the shrine in the company of Quezon Governor David Suarez and unseated Laguna Governor ER Ejercito, the priest said.

President Aquino has yet to visit the shrine, Faller said.

The five-hectare shrine located in the village of Tinamnam at the foot of mystical Mount Banahaw is one of the popular Holy Week destinations in the country.

Faller, believed by pilgrims to possess a gift from God to cure the sick, is the administrator of the shrine which is under the supervision of the Diocese of Lucena.

Before his Lucban pilgrimage, Binay also joined the annual trek of Lenten pilgrims to Mount Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon on Thursday morning.

Binay paid homage to Isabel Suarez, founder of the religious cult “Suprema Dela Iglesia Del Ciudad Mystica De Dios” in the village of Sta. Lucia located at the base of Banahaw.


INQUIRER

VP Binay’s Holy Week destination: Mt. Banahaw
April 2, 2015 Thursday


KAMAY NI HESUS Devotees at the Kamay ni Hesus shrine in Lucban, Quezon on Good Friday touch the glass coffin of Santo Señor Sepulcro (The Dead Christ) and recite prayers for atonement of sins and request for favors. DELFIN T.MALLARI JR./Inquirer Southern Luzon

LUCENA CITY — Vice President Jejomar Binay on Maundy Thursday joined the annual trek of Lenten pilgrims to Mount Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon, police said.

Insp. Madonna Abang, Dolores police chief, said Binay arrived in the town around 9:45 a.m. and motored directly to the compound of the religious cult “Suprema Dela Iglesia Del Ciudad Mystica De Dios” in the village of Sta. Lucia located at the base of Banahaw.

Binay paid homage to the religious sect founder Suprema Isabel Suarez, said Abang who also accompanied the Vice President.

“Vice President Binay ate lunch in the company of sect leaders,” Abang said in a phone interview.

During Holy Week for the past several years, the Vice President never failed to visit Banahaw, known as a “mystical mountain”.

Many religious believers trek the mountain to experience something divine, particularly during the Lenten season, as they believe it is inhabited by heavenly spirits.

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The Vice President left Dolores after one hour for his next visit at the “Kamay ni Hesus” shrine in Lucban town, another popular Holy Week destination among Filipino Catholics, police said.

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), a multisectoral government body tasked with monitoring state-declared protected areas, closed the mountain peak in 2004, citing the deterioration of Banahaw’s environment and vegetation due to abuse and tons of garbage left behind by trekkers.

The peak will remain close to the public until February 2016.

Visitors will only have access to several government-allowed areas at the base of the mountain in Sta. Lucia and neighboring village of Kinabuhayan.

The open areas have been declared as “multiple use zone,” for praying, camping and nature-tripping. The zone is open to the public throughout the year.

But despite the prohibition, devotees and adventure seekers have continued to sneak to the peak prompting authorities to ask help from volunteers, police and Army soldiers to implement the off-limits order during Holy Week.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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