Chiz: Reconcile Binay, Cayetano first before holding ethics complaint hearing

The Senate ethics and privilege committee should attempt to mend relations between Senators Nancy Binay and Alan Peter Cayetano first before holding a hearing, Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Wednesday.

In a chance interview on Wednesday, Escudero noted that the committee on ethics and privileges, chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino, has yet to reorganize following the change of leadership in the chamber.

While the panel is organizing itself, Escudero said, it is the responsibility of the chairman to try to mediate between the two before holding formal deliberations on the complaint filed by Binay against Cayetano.

“Nasa sa kanya kung kailan i-organize ‘yung kumite at i-schedule ‘yung mga pagdinig, pero siyempre magiging pangunahing layunin niya muna bago magkaroon ng pagdinig diyan ay subukan, subukin na mapagkasundo, maayos ito nang hindi na kailangan dumaan pa sa pagdinig o desisyon o pagpapasya ng Committee on ethics,” Escudero said.

(It is up to the chairman to organize the committee and schedule a hearing on the complaint, but the first objective of the chairman is to try to reconcile his colleagues so there will be no need for a hearing or a decision from the Committee on ethics.)

On Monday, Binay filed an ethics complaint against Cayetano over his “unparliamentary conduct” during last week’s inquiry on the cost of the New Senate Building (NSB).

During the said hearing, Cayetano called Binay “marites,” a popular slang among Filipinos for rumor-mongerer; told her “Nabuang ka na, ‘day (You’ve gone crazy);” and accused her of disturbing the Senate hearing.

The Senate committee on accounts, currently chaired by Cayetano and formerly headed by Binay, will continue the inquiry on Wednesday.

Escudero appealed to Binay and Cayetano to stay calm, hoping that the trading of barbs in the last hearing would not happen again on Wednesday.

“‘Yung nangyari noong nagdaang hearing sana hindi na mangyari muli. Sana manalig ang pagiging kalma sa panig at parte ng dalawa naming kasamahan dito sa Senado,” he said.

(I hope there would not be a repeat of what happened in the last hearing. I hope both of them will remain calm.)

Despite the appeal, Escudero finds it unnecessary to talk with his two colleagues, citing their years of experience in the Senate.

“Mag-12 taon na si Senator Nancy dito sa Senado, mag-15 taon na si Senator Alan dito sa Senado. Mga beterano na maituturing ang dalawang senador at alam na nila kung ano ang dapat at nararapat at sana kung hanggang kaya, kayang iwasan,” he stressed.

(Senator Nancy has been in the Senate for 12 years already while Senator Alan has been a senator for 15 years. They are both considered veteran senators and they know what is right and appropriate. I hope they will avoid a repeat of last week’s hearing.)

Cayetano launched the inquiry into the new Senate building after Escudero ordered a review on the cost of its construction, noting that funding has already reached P23 billion.

Binay, who walked out from last week’s hearing, has denied that the cost has reached P23 billion, but only P21 billion.

Cayetano, for his part, insisted that the cost is P23 billion as this includes the P1.6 billion spent for land acquisition. — VDV, GMA Integrated News

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