MANILA (Mabuhay) -– Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from a proposal to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Ang prosesong ito ay tungkulin at kapangyarihan ng House of Representatives at ipapaubaya na lang natin sa kanila kung ano ang gagawin dito,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said during a Palace press briefing.
(This process is within the task and powers of the House of Representatives so let us leave it to them to decide on the matter.)
Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Monday said Binay should be impeached because of the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building.
Meanwhile, Binay may not be impeached for an allegedly overpriced building because the allegations supposedly happened when he was Makati mayor, which is not an impeachable officer, a Liberal Party stalwart said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas said in one of his legal opinion, Vice President Binay was only a mayor when the allegedly overpriced Makati building was built.
Under the rules, impeachable officers only include the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, and members of constitutional commissions.
The last officer to be impeached is ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona over false declarations of wealth.
“We are all advocates of the law. There is one legal opinion that he’s still an impeachable officer, there is also another that the alleged offense was committed at the time he was not an impeachable officer,” Treñas said.
Binay and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., face a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for the allegedly overpriced building.
The building was worth P2.3 billion but complainants said according to National Statistics Office data, the cost should have only been P245.6 million.
The Senate, led by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, is conducting a probe on the alleged overpricing. Both Cayetano and Trillanes, just like Vice President Binay, have openly expressed their intention to run for President in the 2016 elections.
Treñas said impeaching the Vice President is only a waste of time and Congress should instead focus on the budget and other pertinent laws such as the Bangsamoro basic law, freedom of information bill, and the anti-political dynasty bill.
For his part, Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez said the Senate probe appears to be politically-motivated, especially as the purported offense was brought up seven years after it was allegedly committed.
He said the proper forum should be in the courts and that the Senate should just leave the investigation to the Ombudsman.
“There’s too much politics involved. Seven years later and you’re going to bring it up. Isn’t there a political color on this?” said Benitez, who is also from the Liberal Party.
Calls for Binay’s impeachment were echoed by Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who said that he would rather have an impeachment process so that the Vice President position “can be cleansed.” (MNS)