Last week, there were two important events that happened in our country that could help shape the direction in the forthcoming 2016 National and Local Elections.
The first one was the Ombudsman’s order to suspend Makati City’s Mayor Junjun Binay for his alleged involvement in the Makati Carpark Building Scam that has been investigated for the past few months by the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee. The next one for the release of the Board of Inquiry’s findings with regard to the Mamasapano Massacre that killed 44 of our valiant PNP-SAF Troopers.
BINAY'S HISTORY OF ARROGANCE
As expected, Mayor Binay has refused to follow the Ombudsman’s order for him to step down from his position for a period of 60 days while the Ombudsman conducts its own investigation on the alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall’s Carpark building. The preventive suspension was ordered by the Ombudsman to ensure that the investigation that they will conduct will be free of bias and will not be unduly influenced by the accused parties. Binay has even mustered many of his constituents to rally outside of his office to ensure that he is protected from those who will try to enforce the law.
This attitude of being above the law is no longer surprising given that it wasn’t too long ago when Binay also pushed his weight around in a posh village in Makati so he could pass through a village gate that was already closed for security reasons and as per the rules and regulations of the village. In a video of that incident, Binay was even heard taunting the village’s security personnel saying, “Hindi niyo ba ako kilala? (Don’t you know who I am?)”.
This is also in stark contrast to Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile who immediately surrendered upon knowing about the warrant of arrest that has been issued by the Sandiganbayan.
Is Binay now saying that he not covered by the same law that covers nationally elected officials and ordinary Filipino citizens? Apparently, his actions speak louder than words.
ROXAS’ UNSEEN HAND IN SUSPENSION?
Binay’s reason for not following the Ombudsman’s orders is because he believes that this was perpetuated for politics sake by DILG Sec. Mar Roxas. If we will recall, Sec. Roxas and Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay ran against each other in the last 2010 elections.
This argument can be considered if it was Sec. Roxas who released the suspension order given that the DILG also has a mandate to oversee all local government units but as Binay knows, it was the Office of the Ombudsman who signed his suspension order and not the DILG. To even claim that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, a former Justice of the Supreme Court and a known woman of integrity would allow herself to compromise her values and be unduly in influenced by Sec. Roxas seems farfetched.
APPEAL TO PNOY ON BOI REPORT
On another note, I am very happy with the results of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) Investigation on what really transpired in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25,2015. The report was done after hearing several witnesses as well as the groups that took part in the alleged misencounter.
My initial assessment is that it was impartial and did not spare those who really had a hand in the tragic incident even the highest officials of our country. Hopefully, this can help the whole country especially the families of those who died in healing and moving on from this tragic incident.
My wish is that President Noynoy Aquino would accept the report in its entirety, admit his own shortcomings and not protect his good friend, former PNP Chief Allan Purisima from being held accountable for his actions.
If one would recall in 2010, he disregarded the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) to charge his good friend, former DILG Usec. Rico Puno for the 2010 Luneta Bus Hostage crisis that led to our country being blacklisted by Hong Kong and China. He set aside the recommendations of the IIRC and spared Puno who was then put in charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from any liability.
These actions have already led some groups to conclude that his “Daang Matuwid” campaign is only applicable to his political enemies and not to his closest friends and allies.
I surely hope that for the sake our country’s future, he has learned from these experiences and ensure that proper, impartial accountability is given to all even to his closest and dearest friends.
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Harvey S. Keh is the Executive Director of the Institute of Governance and Strategic Partnerships and the Executive Director of the Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.