OMBUDSMAN'S TURN: Senator Miriam Santiago says it's time for the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the evidence against Binay. Rappler photo
MANILA, Philippines – It has accomplished its purpose. It's time to close the Senate probe into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall II Parking Building, said Senator Miriam Santiago, in the wake of Vice President Jejomar Binay's refusal to appear in the Senate.
"I think it can safely close its hearing and then endorse the matter to the Ombudsman. Doon din yan darating e. Ngayon pa lang na marami na tayong ebidensiya ibigay na natin doon (It will go there anyway. There's enough evidence and it's time to turn it over to the Ombudsman)," said Santiago in a press conference on Thursday, November 6.
Besides, the senators are already getting criticized for their behavior, she added. Asked what she thinks Senator Antonio Trillanes IV should do with his planned new revelations, Santiago told Rappler: "He’s already eliciting certain criticisms for the inquisitorial nature of the proceedings so maybe the better course of action is to file them all with the Ombudsman. And then give copies to the press."
While Binay's absence suggests his "guilt," Santiago said the Senate probe has accomplished its purpose to "aid legislation."
"That has already been fulfilled. If there’s any future legislation about public official owning vast tracks of land or even about transactions about real estate when they are agricultural in nature. that has already been accomplished," she said.
The sooner the Office of the Ombudsman starts its own probe, the sooner cases will be filed, she said. A former regional trial court judge, Santiago said she believes "probable cause" has been established to elevate the case to the courts.
There "nothing more to be gained" in the Senate probe except its "entertainment value for the Filipino public," she added.
If the personalities dragged into the controversy are not afraid of the Senate, Santiago it will be another matter when the cases reach the courts. "Mag-mamatino sila oras na i-file 'yan sa korte. They will be asked to post bail. The threat of the loss of freedom is real," she said. – Rappler.com