It looks like the Makati City two-mayor brouhaha is getting nowhere and the contentious issue is not only giving the nation’s premier city a bad name, but it does not speak well also of the leaders of the executive branch of government.
With the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) carrying out the Ombudsman’s order to preventively suspend Makati Mayor Junjun Binay for six months in connection with a complaint that he together with several city government officials were involved in the anomalous bidding and construction of the Makati City Hall Building II, a strong message was being sent that corruption was no longer tolerated in government.
It went well, even as Binay made the city hall his home for days while his avid supporters made sure that he won’t be forcibly taken out, and even still when the 6th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the DILG from implementing the suspension.
Why wouldn’t it go well when both Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued identical opinions that the TRO was moot and academic since it was issued three hours after the suspension was already served and after Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña had already took his oath as acting mayor.
Of course this did not sit well with the Binay camp such that they petitioned the CA to cite Morales and de Lima for contempt for allegedly defying its order stopping his preventive suspension.
What happened next was an embarrassment as de Lima, during a speech at the 2015 District Conference of the Rotary International District 3800, said that her opinion “does not adjudicate or bind anyone.”
“In the first place, how can the act of rendering an opinion be unconstitutional? It does not purport to adjudicate or bind any one. It is an opinion. It is advisory in nature,” she said.
Unlike Morales, de Lima seemed not so sure anymore of his initial statement. Is she succumbing to pressure? Is she losing her “balls”?
This seemingly reversal of opinion, despite having told Peña that he should start exercising his duties as acting Mayor, has emboldened Binay to continue in his position Makati mayor, and even thank de Lima for saying that her opinion on the TRO issued by the appellate court was only “advisory in nature.”
Unexpectedly, however, but a very much welcomed analysis and opinion, is one given by the knowledgeable Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago saying that Morales was right in ignoring the TRO granted by the CA to suspended Makati Mayor Binay.
Citing a Supreme Court (SC) ruling Santiago confirmed and defended Morales’ action.
Surely, this is putting de Lima in bad light and only highlights the difference between how the latter and Santiago intelligibly argues the case in question.
But, where shall we go from here?
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has still to be heard and his silence is deafening, even as he is maligned by Binay.
How much more inutile and shameful can leaders of government be to allow this blatant display of arrogance and defiance of the law committed by seemingly powerful and influential political clan to go on?
Morales is a retired associate justice of the SC. Are we saying now that she is not showing probity as an Ombudsman?