The Senate order to arrest Mayor Junjun Binay comes at a time when the country is in deep national mourning over the massacre of so many of our police heroes. It comes at a time when the people await complete and transparent explanation from its leaders on the true circumstances why our bravest and most patriotic sons in the police force were recklessly sent to the slaughterhouse and murdered like animals. It comes at a time when the highest officials of our nation face accounting of their active participation and liability in these tragic loss of so many young and promising lives.
At a time when the investigative resources and powers of the government should be rightfully summoned and devoted to uncovering what happened in this massacre, it saddens me to notice the deafening silence of the Senate leadership on the need for a Senate investigation, even after the President himself and police generals have admitted reckless lapses committed in sending our police martyrs to certain death.
At a time when the undivided attention of the people should be left concentrated on this national tragedy because it crucially comes in the midst of pending deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law — this tragedy is presenting itself as the litmus test for the Senate to investigate the MILF’s true commitment to real peace — the Senate has chosen to divert the people’s attention to an overly-drawn and extended investigation on Mayor Binay.
By ordering the arrest of Mayor Binay at this time, the Senate has inevitably chosen to divide the people’s crucial attention and deflect full public scrutiny and accountability of our leaders and the MILF on the national tragedy that has left grieving parents, anguished widows, and wretched orphans.
In choosing to divert public attention on an arrested Mayor Binay, the Senate has even disregarded basic rules and has chosen to ignore Supreme Court admonitions on the indispensability of a quorum. With only three Senators out of a total membership of 20 Senators in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the mere three-members declared that they had the quorum to unilaterally act for the 20-member Blue Ribbon Committee and issue an arrest order on Mayor Binay. This is a blatant violation of the most basic tenet of legislative bodies. How low can the Senate get in twisting the definition of a quorum just to deflect attention from the most pressing issue of the day? If the Senate can redefine quorum to merely require three members out of a total of 20, what will prevent them from declaring that a mere single Senator will constitute a quorum who can order the arrest of any Juan, Pedro, or Mario?
As the accusations against Mayor Binay have repeatedly been branded as criminal anomalies by the Senators themselves, the accusations should be rightfully ventilated in the judicial branch of government, and not used as a circus for media mileage and political assassination in the Senate.
I call upon the Senate to submit to the judiciary all the evidence it has against Mayor Binay and let the judiciary perform it rightful duty to assess responsibility, find liability and impose penalties. Unlike the judiciary which is mandated to find guilt or innocence, no matter how long drawn the Senate conducts any investigation, the Senate has no power to impose sanctions and penalties resulting from its findings.
I call upon the Senate to correctly make use of its “investigation in aid of legislation” powers by summoning the leaders of the executive and military branches of government, and even the MILF, who were involved — regardless of their standing as allies of the Senate leadership — in the Mamapasano massacre. This will be the correct use of the investigative powers of the senate “in aid of legislation” in connection with the pending Bangsamoro Basic Law.