Senator Teofisto Guingona, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, shows his letter addressed to Sen. Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III informing him to decide on the jurisdictional challenge of Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay regarding the investigation on the alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II project.(MNS photo)

Senator Teofisto Guingona, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, shows his letter addressed to Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III informing him to decide on the jurisdictional challenge of Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay regarding the investigation on the alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Building II project.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The two executives of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) booted out in the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee’s hearing on October 30 called Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano “a coward” on Thursday and dared him to be “man enough” to file criminal charges against them if he thinks their interruption of the probe was a criminal offense.

UNA interim president and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said he and interim secretary general Atty. JV Bautista will not apologize to the subpanel for appearing unexpected during the October 30 hearing because they have been authorized by Vice President Jejomar Binay to speak on his behalf.

“My challenge to Sen. Cayetano is for him to be man enough (magpakalalaki siya)! File a criminal offense against Atty. JV and me. We won’t apologize for our actions because we believe we didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t forgive us; we’re not asking for an apology,” Tiangco said.

Addressing the tabloid reporters in the Senate conference room, Bautista said: “This would make a good headline for tomorrow: ‘Cayetano, a coward! ‘Be man enough!’ (Cayetano, duwag. Magpakalalaki  ka!)”

Tiangco and Bautista held a press briefing in a Senate conference room after they were barred by the Senate blue ribbon committee from reading Binay’s prepared statement explaining his absence at Thursday’s hearing, which was organized specially for him.

Committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III said he was outvoted when the panel deliberated on the request of the Vice President’s camp.

Tiangco said the presence of only four senators in the mother committee’s hearing – which should ideally be attended by the majority of its 18 members – further proves the hearing is held “purely for politics’” sake.

‘We’re not welcome’

Bautista expressed disbelief that Cayetano is a lawyer “because of the shortcuts he’s been doing” in the hearing. The UNA official also scored the lawmaker for saying in an October 8 hearing that the Vice President’s camp is welcome to submit evidence and send witnesses to testify on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II.

Si Cayetano, welcome nang welcome pero noong dumating kami, hindi na kami welcome. Ano ba ang kinatatakutan niya? That I will prove him wrong? I’ll prove him wrong if they give us the opportunity,” he said.

Bautista and Tiangco were both barred by Cayetano from speaking at the October 30 hearing despite their manifestation that they be allowed to make a presentation, saying they were not invited as resource persons or witnesses.

But Tiangco said Cayetano lied when he said they cannot produce any authorization letter to speak on the Vice President’s behalf since he never asked them for the document on the record.

“You can check the transcripts, nowhere did he (Cayetano) asked us for those documents.” Tiangco said. “It would have been logical for him to ask for those documents on the record, but he did not.” (MNS)