Finally, Roxas drops hammer on Binays
FACED WITH the admonition from Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay had to reluctantly vacate his luxurious office at the 21st floor of the Makati City Hall.
For the first time, a suspension order against the Binays has been successfully carried out. For the first time in almost three decades, the Makati mayor’s office is not in the hands of a Binay. For the first time in the history of the Binay dynasty, someone was able to drop the hammer on the Binays and they blinked. That someone is Mar Roxas.
It immediately became obvious why the Binays did not want to leave City Hall. The records that could show the shenanigans they allegedly did during the decades they controlled Makati are kept there. The first of these, discovered a few days ago, reportedly shows that Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, longtime secretary and alleged dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, continued to receive her salary even as she has been in hiding for six months now. Furthermore, Baloloy also got her retirement benefits, including leave credits—which must have totaled tens of millions of pesos—two days before Mayor Binay stepped down from City Hall. All of these would still be hidden had the Binays continued to control City Hall.
People cheered Roxas when he finally shed his public image of reticence and offered a few choice words of advice last Tuesday to Mayor Binay.
“Hindi po pag-aari ninyo ang Makati, Mayor Binay. Walang naghahari dito kundi batas. Batas po ang pinatutupad ng DILG (You don’t own Makati, Mayor Binay. There is no king here but the law. The DILG will enforce the law),” Roxas told Binay.
“Si Mayor Binay, espesyal lang siya sa tatay niya. Hindi siya espesyal sa batas (Mayor Binay is special only to his father. He is not special to the law).”
Although Roxas is not known for such words, it was still a glimpse of the man he could be if he becomes president. He will fight for the rule of law. Unlike the Binays who resort to mob rule every time they have problems with the law.
It also showed what kind of government we will have if, God forbid, Vice President Binay becomes president. Television footage showed him bullying the policemen sent to Makati to ensure peace and order during the serving of the Ombudsman’s suspension order on his son. Television also showed the Binay mob hurling chairs at the law enforcers. It showed the VP, who wants to become president and who should be the first to obey the law, instead disobeying it and throwing his weight around.
It was not the first time the Binays have had such troubles. VP Binay, when he was still mayor of Makati, was ordered suspended during the Arroyo presidency. His stock answer to such attempts was, “So, sue me.”
This time both father and son are facing a slew of charges for plunder and graft. Of course the Binays are crying “political persecution.” Is it?
The Binays had been thumbing their noses at the authorities and flouting the law. For instance, the Binays tussled Monday night with police officers who were to provide security for DILG officials sent to serve the suspension order on Mayor Binay, even bullying Senior Supt. Elmer Jamias, deputy director of the Southern Police District.
Of course the elder Binay denies this. But it is his tough luck that the incident was recorded by television cameras. In fact, it was the television footage seen by millions of people which forced Mayor Binay to step down in order to assuage the anger of the people.
What is ironic here is that less than two decades ago, the elder Binay heaped praises on the same police officer and wished there were more of him. “I wish we can clone you,” he said of Jamias.
The reaction from the public to Roxas’ admonition was near universal. It was time that Roxas read the Binays the riot act. High time Roxas took off his kid gloves and dropped the hammer. Let’s have more of the same from Roxas who wouldn’t act so if he were not sure of his facts.
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It’s that season again when the epal are polluting the environment and the airwaves. Advertisements and commercials disguised as “infomercials” and posters saying “Congratulations, graduates,” “Happy Fiesta,” “Happy Birthday, Ka Erdie,” and other epal with the politician’s name and photograph are mushrooming everywhere. Public funds are being spent for these.
The Commission on Elections does not sanction incumbent government officials in the absence of a law penalizing premature campaigning. However, election lawyer
Romulo Macalintal said that the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman could pursue criminal actions against them under Republic Act No. 3019 for “entering into contracts or transactions grossly disadvantageous to the government.”
Presidential Decree No. 1443 or the State Audit Code of the Philippines declares that all resources of the government shall be safeguarded from waste and that the COA is mandated to disallow “unnecessary, excessive or extravagant or unconscionable expenditure” of public funds.
The Supreme Court has ruled that “unnecessary” expenditure are those which are “not dictated by the demands of good government” or such expenses that “could be dispensed with without loss or damage to property.”
Macalintal said it would not be difficult to prosecute such cases since the facts cannot be disputed; there are records of the transactions with media (print, radio, television) outfits and the epal are plainly visible.
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To the fans of Margaux Salcedo asking for her next show, it will be at the Hyatt Hotel in the City of Dreams on July 11, a Saturday, not at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel. She will return to the Tap Room soon after that. Her performance at Hyatt was upon the request of jazz singer Sandra Javier who is in charge of the Jazz Nights at the latter hotel.