BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Stop the inquiry and send the case to the Ombudsman.
Senator Miriam Santiago said the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee should now submit to the anti-graft body evidence against Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged corruption and hidden wealth.
The subcommittee has been conducting an investigation since August into allegations of Binay’s overpricing in the construction of the 11-storey P2.7 billion Makati City Parking Building II when Binay was Makati City mayor and his alleged ownership of the 350-hectare Hacienda Binay in Rosario, Batangas.
The subcommittee has already gathered enough evidence and can close its hearing and endorse the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman, Santiago said.
Santiago made the statement on November 6 after Binay failed to attend the hearing set on the day by the Blue Ribbon mother committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
Binay had refused to attend the hearings by the subcommittee chaired by Senator Koko Pimentel with Senator Peter Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes as members, describing them as a “political circus” and “demolition job” aimed at derailing his 2016 presidential bid.
Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will field Binay as its presidential candidate in 2016. Binay would be up against Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino.
Guingona scheduled the November 6 hearing after Binay said he would only face his inquisitors in a hearing by the mother committee.
The Binay probe stemmed from a resolution authored by Trillanes on complaints of overpricing in the Makati City Parking Building II filed by former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
The subcommittee had expanded its investigation into Binay’s alleged ownership of Hacienda Binay also on allegations of Mercado, a former political ally of Binay who turned whistleblower to expose the Vice President’s alleged corrupt dealings and undeclared properties.
Santiago said the subcommittee has done its job of gathering evidence on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Parking Building II and on Hacienda Binay and must now allow the Ombudsman to look into the evidence presented before the Blue Ribbon subcommittee which are admissible in court.