Palace holds off use of force in Makati

Binay may be evicted if he is not out by Friday

(Inquirer) FACED WITH Mayor Jejomar Binay’s defiance, the government yesterday said it hoped the suspended city executive would peacefully leave the Makati City Hall to avoid being forcibly evicted from his 21st floor redoubt by Friday.

While bent on enforcing its preventive suspension order against Binay, Malacañang, at the same time, appeared to be holding off using force as hundreds of employees returned to work in a City Hall ruled by two men — one backed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the other, by opposition forces.

In a press conference late last night, Binay said the suspension order came no less than from Ms Arroyo.

“It is very clear and undeniable that it is GMA (Ms Arroyo) that authorized the order,” he said, adding that the order was signed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita “upon the authority of GMA.”

“Mayor Binay is a lawyer, he is a known political leader. I’m sure he will be wise enough to make a wise decision na hindi makakaabot sa pwersahan (that won’t lead to the use of force),” Ermita said in reaction to Binay’s claim that the government would have to kill him first to get him out of City Hall.

Asked if the authorities would force Binay out if he failed within the next three days to get a court order restraining Malacañang, Ermita said: “We are duty-bound to serve the law. We will let the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) handle the situation. I’m sure they have their own plans. I cannot say that (he would be bodily carried out) because I don’t want to preempt Secretary Ronaldo Puno.”

But Ermita stressed that the Palace still believed that Binay was “a very responsible citizen, political leader and mayor of the premiere city” and that whatever decision he made would not lead to chaos in the running of the country’s financial capital and home to many foreign embassies and multinational firms.

Interior Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar said Binay would have to vacate City Hall if the Court of Appeals decided against issuing a temporary restraining order by Friday.

“If there’s a trespasser in your house, what do you do? You call the police to bring him out,” Andanar told the Inquirer in an interview.

Andanar, however, said that his former party mate in the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bansa, or PDP-Laban, was a reasonable man and he expected him to leave City Hall soon.


PHOTO: Former Philippine Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, left, clenches his fist to express his support for defiant Makati city Mayor Jejomar Binay, right, during a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006 at the mayor’s office at Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines. Binay, an opposition stalwart who got the ire of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for allowing opposition groups in staging protests against her, was served a suspension order Tuesday for allegedly having ghost employees on the city hall’s payroll, a charge he denies and vowed to fight. Binay continues to hole himself up in his office with hundreds of his supporters. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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