MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay said he declined the invitation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to attend a probe since it will set a bad precedent.
Binay flew to Cebu Thursday morning. He was scheduled to visit Toledo City later. Other activities lined up for the vice president include a visit to a mining company and a meeting with a mayor in Cebu.
In a letter to Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Binay said: “This will set a bad precedent, where the Vice President, the second highest official of the land, can be summoned to a hearing by some senators.”
He said he initially wanted to go to the hearing but the behavior of Senators Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV changed his mind.
“You assured me in your letter that if I were to show up in the Senate, I will be accorded a fair hearing and I will be given the respect that befits my position as Vice President of the Republic.”
“However, recent events, especially the behavior of Senators Trillanes and Cayetano, gave me reason to doubt such an assurance,” Binay wrote.
He cited, for example, the refusal of the senators to recognize his representatives in the October 30 hearing.
He also noted the Senate leadership failed to call the attention of the bullying of some of its members.
“They continue to demonstrate this in their continued bullying, debasement, suppression and intimidation of ordinary people whose testimonies contradict their conclusion,” he said.
He said the senators continue to violate due process and individual rights, treating resource persons like “criminals.”
“I am saddened that all this time, not once have the leaders of the Senate took notice, reminded, or called the attention of the senators for their wanton disregard of individual rights and of the law. Those invited to the hearings are ‘resource persons in aid of legislation,’ in other words, they were invited to help craft laws, as contained in the resolution. But they have been treated like criminals,” Binay said.
He said he cannot accept the assurance from the likes of Trillanes that he will be accorded respect.
Yesterday, Trillanes was quoted as saying: “We will make sure that he stays there, he sits there for at least six hours and that’s being generous kasi madami kaming itatanong sa kanya. He should clear his schedule, he should cancel his appointments, talagang marami s’yang ipapaliwanag.”
Binay said: “If these senators were not even admonished in the past eleven hearings, and if my authorized representatives were treated like criminals, I see no assurance that I will be given the chance to speak freely, that my rights will be recognized, or that the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines will be accorded the respect it deserves.”
Nonetheless, Binay submitted an affidavit to the mother committee.
The affidavit “contains a detailed response to the baseless accusations and lies of our political rivals, and the apparent bias for my detractors and efforts to malign me by members of the Senate subcommittee on matters related to the contents of Resolution 826. I hope this will be included in the records of the Senate,” he said. (MNS)