VP Binay, son no-show at Senate hearing

Vice President Jejomar Binay as he receives the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor from Ninoy Aquino Movement Chairman Heherson Alvarez during the 31st death anniversary of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Thursday (August 21, 2014) in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

Vice President Jejomar Binay as he receives the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor from Ninoy Aquino Movement Chairman Heherson Alvarez during the 31st death anniversary of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Thursday (August 21, 2014) in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday excused himself from attending the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the alleged overpriced construction of Makati City Hall Building II.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the subcommittee, said they received a letter from the VP Binay and they will respect his decision.

“We will respect the decision of the Vice President not to attend the hearing,” he said.

The letter indicated Binay’s schedule for Thursday morning was full.

At 9:30 a.m. he welcomed informal settler families previously living in danger zones to their new homes in Paradise Heights at the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project, Balut, Tondo Manila.

At 11:30 a.m., he will speak at the Philippine Homestyle Congress at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Earlier in the day, the Vice President’s son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. said he would not attend the Senate subcommittee hearing.

Saying the Senate has prejudged him and his family, Mayor Binay also said he is questioning the authority of the blue ribbon subcommittee to summon him to its hearing.

(N)agdesisyon ako na panahon na para liwanagin at kwestyunin ang hurisdiksyon ng subcommittee at (Senate) blue ribbon committee mismo. May hinanda akong liham… aking hinahamon ang hurisdiksyon ng subcommittee at blue ribbon committee. Naaayon ito sa patakaran ng Senado at aking karapatan bilang mamamayan,” he said in a press briefing, parts of which were aired on dzBB radio.

Hanggang maresolba ang issue na ito karapatan ko na pansamantalang hindi dumalo sa pandinig sa Senado,” he said.

The blue ribbon subcommittee is conducting hearings on the alleged overpricing of the construction of the 11-storey Makati City Hall Building II, which according to one witness was overpriced by 300 percent or about P2 billion.

VP Binay, who was the city mayor during the construction of the building in 2007 and his son Mayor Junjun Binay, who was a councilor at the time, are facing plunder and graft charges over the building row. (MNS)

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