Binay impeachment threat is real, UNA insists

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – For the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the threat of the impeachment of Vice President Jejomar Binay is real.

UNA president Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the Office of the Ombudsman indicated this in its resolution suspending Makati Mayor Junjun Binay over corruption allegations in Makati City.

The younger Binay was suspended last week.

In the complaint-affidavit filed by the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman, it included the vice-president as “then city mayor and current vice-president of the Philippines, for purposes of determining sufficiency of evidence that would warrant filing of impeachment complaint pursuant to section 22 of Republic Act (RA) No. 6770 and/or for other actions deemed appropriate under the circumstances.”

“I think galing yu’n doon sa order ng Ombudsman kasi latest suspension ni Mayor Binay, kung babasahin order of the Ombudsman, isa sa mga kasama sa accused si VP Binay, si Mayor Junjun at department heads, may prayer for preventive suspension,” Tiangco said Monday.

“Doon kay VP Binay, ang nakasulat, possible filing of impeachment charges. Doon yu’n nakuha,” he added.

“Mangyayari doon, ibig sabihin for filing, based on the reply of VP Binay sa order for him to reply, Ombudsman will study if they will recommend filing of impeachment charges.”

Tiangco elaborated, “‘Di ba nasa stage na ng preliminary investigation kay mayor, na preventive suspension siya, which was prayer of investigating committee but in same order, nakasulat specifically kay VP Binay for possible filing of impeachment. Ibig sabihin, based on his reply, Ombudsman will make a recommendation if impeachable offense; whether they can file impeachment.”

Tiangco added, “It’s safe to say, strategy is [to] get him out at all costs. Anyone can file. It’s purely political matter, basta makakuha ka ng 1/3 signatures ng HOR (House of Representatives). P’wede na i-akyat sa Senado yan. Pagsasama-samaahin mo iyan, plus fact they want to get Binay out of race.”

Tiangco said the Liberal Party (LP) alone has more than the required number to impeach, making this a cause for concern to UNA.

But in a text message, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said, “he’ll say anything for publicity. In my opinion, none. Just trying to paint himself as being persecuted. Could instruct one of his men to file, pero hanggang dun lang.”

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, an ally of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, and a staunch Binay critic, kept his distance.

“Palagay ko po bunga lang yan ng imahinasyon ni VP Binay. Wala pong punto para mag-file ng impeachment sapagkat kulang requirement na isang taon bago maghalalan. Sa kampo ng LP o ako po wala kaming kabalak-balak na magsampa ng impeachment. Alam namin madismiss due to technicalities,” Erice explained.

For Erice, Binay could be talking of an “impeach-me” scenario. “Baka si VP Binay, balak ipa-impeach sarili niya para pagdating halalan, sasabihin dismiss impeachment due to technicalities. Wala pong batayan dahil kulang na po. Sa Pangulo po, hindi na pwede mag-file ng impeachment one year before elections.”

Erice said he also will not endorse any complaint. “Hindi po dahil wala na pong panahon para isulong po. Ito na huling taon ng sesyon dapat ‘di na maabala pa dahil napakaraming mas mahahalagang legisilative proposals. Kanya lang ‘yan imagination. Marami na naglalaro. Kasi pag may nag-file, ma-dismiss, pwede gamitin ito sa kampanya.”

Tiangco, however, rebutted Erice, “‘Di naman kami ganu’n. ‘Di namin style yun. Kahit gaano kahina yun, basta nakakuha ng 1/3 signature diretso sa Senado, ‘di pag uusapan anong merito. Bakit naman namin gagawin sa sarili namin iyan sa dami ng bad publicity, gagawa pa ba kami ng bagay na sisiraan namin sarili naming kandidato?”

An impeachment complaint may be filed by a congressman or by a private citizen, if endorsed by a congressman.

Erice also kept the administration party’s distance from the alleged plot to detain Binay. “Walang kapangyarihan (ang) Kongreso at LP. Tanging p’wede magdesisyon niyan ay korte sa pamamagitan ng Sandiganbayan. There are already cases filed against the VP in relation to the Makati parking building and Makati Scence High School. Palagay ko, mahaba amg proseso pagdating sa criminal aspect,” explained Erice.

Staving off accusations that the Binay camp is being persecuted, Erice said, “Ngayon ko lang po, tingin ko as Aquino admin privilege, si Binay may anak na senador, conggresswoman, anak na mayor, siya ay VP, inappoint na Cabinet secretary, hinihingi niya sa Pangulong Aquino, adviser to OFWs, binigay sa kaniya yung Coconut Palace. Maraming ibinigay sa kanya bilang paggalang sa mandato.”

Tiangco, however, said, “‘Yung paggamit ng Coconut Palace, nakabuti sa gobyerno. Instead uupa sa private offices, pera ng gobyerno ibabayad sa pribadong korporasyon, dito nakamenos gobyerno. Anong pribilehiyo (ang) napunta kay VP Binay? Nakamenos gobyerno ng upa.”

“‘Yung pag appoint sa Cabinet offices, ginampanan ni VP Binay ng maayos sa OFW, pagiging head ng housing,” he added.

“It’s never a privilege; it’s a duty. ’Di naman pwedeng, nagulat nga ako, bakit tintingnan na priblehiyo. Dapat responsbilidad na dapat gampanan at dapat gawin ng mahusay,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco also sought to justify why Binay only quit the Cabinet after five years. “Sinasabi ko nga, ibang tao sinasabi nila iyung tungkol sa resignation, parang mag-asawa, battered wife, inaabusong asawa kaya tiisin pang-aabuso pero may hangganan sa ‘di pagsuporta sa anak niya. Ganyan kaso ni VP Binay. ‘Di issue sa kanya na ‘di siya trinato nang mayaos sa Gabinete, pero pagbalewala sa mahihirap may hangganan.”

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