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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Running amuck: Borgy running for Mayor in Manila?

Editorial, The Malaya

Until the close of business hours on Monday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was playing coy about reports that Malacañang was poised to suspend Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay. Ermita said that as far as he understood it, the interior department was investigating Binay on allegations the city has ghost employes on its rolls. He made it appear the case had not reached his level.

It turned out that Ermita had already signed the order to suspend Binay for 60 days. Hours before dawn yesterday, policemen surrounded the Makati city hall. At the opening of business hours, interior department officials were on hand to serve the order on Binay.

Binay, whose information about his imminent suspicion proved to be A-1, however, had barricaded himself at the city hall.

The Palace yesterday said the suspension had nothing to do with politics. It said it was all part of due process. It can tell that to the Marines, including Binay who had donned the uniform of a full colonel in the reserves to show he meant business.

Lying is now part of due process?

That Binay’s suspension is politically motivated is pretty clear. He is the president of the United Opposition. No evidence has been presented to prove the charges filed against him by perennial mayoralty race loser Roberto Brillante. In fact, no hearing has been conducted by Malacañang on the charges.

The specific charge was that the Makati city government had hired 600 ghost employees. Binay, in answer, submitted a list of all city employees with their specific jobs. He asked that his accuser name the employees in the list who were receiving salaries without doing service.

Mere allegation, without a bill of particulars, is now considered strong evidence? And why suspend Binay’s vice mayor and 16 members of the city council too?

This administration is running amuck. It would not let the niceties of the law stand in the way of crushing its perceived enemies. In the case of Binay, not even at the risk of scaring businesses located in Makati, the country’s financial center.

A recent UN Conference on Trade and Development report showed that foreign direct investments into the Philippines rose from $688 million in 2004 to $1.1 billion in 2005. The figure, however, represents only 3.5 percent of investment flows into Southeast Asia and 0.6 percent into Asia.

Suspending the chief local executive of the country’s No. 1 business center on the flimsiest of reasons is certainly not the way to attract these investments.


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