Binay non-committal on attendance to Senate probe

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Friday, August 22, 2014

VICE President Jejomar Binay declined to confirm if he will attend in the ongoing Senate investigation on the alleged overpriced construction of a Makati City government building, which is the subject of a plunder complaint against him.

"Let's see what will be the next developments," he said in a chance interview on Thursday, noting he has been busy attending to the government's housing projects for the poor in the provinces.

President Benigno Aquino III and Binay are normally excused from attending congressional hearings out of respect to their offices.

Binay's son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr., had dispelled allegations that the 11-storey parking building was overpriced by around P2 billion.

The younger Binay told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Wednesday that the project was aboveboard, citing an initial report of the Commission on Audit (COA) in February that found no irregularity in the contract price for the five phases of the project.

He said the plunder complaints against him, his father and some members of the Makati City Council at the Office of the Ombudsman are politically motivated.

Binay, who ruled Makati for two decades, also admitted he is saddened by the attempt of his potential foes in the 2016 presidential elections to discredit him for selfish ends.

"The political motive behind this investigation is so clear," he said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, author of Senate Resolution 826, had said ferreting out the truth in this issue is important, as it involves Binay, "a potential president of the country."

"So it is high time that we investigate this so that the public will know if these allegations are true. On our part as legislators, we are more interested in looking at possible loopholes in the procurement law so that we can legislate remedial measures so this won't happen again," Trillanes, party mate of Binay critic Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, said.

The next hearing will be on Tuesday, August 26. (Sunnex)

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