MANILA, Oct 7 (Mabuhay) – Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III on Tuesday upheld the power of the subcommittee probing the Makati City Hall Building 2 to rule on a jurisdictional challenge filed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-jun” Binay Jr.
However, Guingona said in a brief press conference, the committee was treating the Binay manifestation as a “motion for reconsideration” and was therefore throwing this back to the subcommittee chaired by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, for a final ruling.
Until the Pimentel subcommittee resolves the issue “with finality,” further hearings should be held in abeyance, Guingona said.
Guingona cited Sec. 20 of the Rules of the Senate, governing inquiries in aid of legislation, as the basis for his decision.
It was unclear whether he consulted any of the members of the Blue Ribbon committee before deciding to uphold the unilateral act of Senator Pimentel to throw out on the spot the jurisdictional challenge when it was filed by Mayor Binay’s lawyer, Claro Certeza.
The mayor’s sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, who is a member of the Blue Ribbon mother committee, had said at the weekend that at the very least, Guingona should call a meeting of the members of the panel and take a vote on whether or not to allow just the subcommittee rule on a jurisdictional challenge, or to let the mother committee rule on the matter.
Last week, Certeza re-filed the manifestation of Mayor Binay with a motion to stop further proceedings on the inquiry, which was based on a resolution to look into alleged overpricing in the construction of what is also known as the Makati City “parking building.”
Per Section 20, Guingona said, the “subcommittee may perform any and all acts which the committee as a whole is authorized to do and perform, except the power to punish for contempt.”
The letter-request of the Makati mayor “is being treated as a motion for reconsideration …We are liberally interpreting the rules in their favor so as to provide them further leeway. Therefore, we are returning it to the subcommittee to rule on the motion for reconsideration.”
And, Guingona added, “until the jurisdictional challenge is resolved by the subcommittee with finality … the holding of further hearings should be held in abeyance.”(MNS)