By Marita Moaje and Leonel Abasola

HEATED. Tensions rise between Senators Nancy Binay (left) and Alan Peter Cayetano during the Committee on Accounts public hearing to review the construction of the New Senate Building on Wednesday (July 3, 2024). Binay filed an ethics complaint against Cayetano on Monday (July 8) for “offensive, derogatory and improper language” used against her. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Senator Nancy Binay on Monday filed an ethics complaint against Senator Alan Peter Cayetano over his alleged “unparliamentary act, and language” during last week’s hearing on the controversial new Senate building.

In her complaint filed before the office of Committee on Ethics and Privileges chairperson Senator Francis Tolentino, Binay stated that the Senate has the power to punish its erring members for disorderly behavior.

Binay cited that during the July 3 hearing of the Committee on Accounts, chaired by Cayetano, on the New Senate Building (NSB) project, the latter uttered “offensive, derogatory and improper” language against her.

The two senators traded barbs while the committee was reviewing the cost of the building.

“Respondent repeatedly acted in an unparliamentary manner and used offensive, derogatory and improper language against me during the subject public hearing,” she said in her complaint.

The chair, she added, repeatedly blamed and accused her of “lying and spreading falsehood” against him.

She added that the senator even called her a “gossipmonger.”

“Nabuang ka na, ‘day (You’ve gone crazy, lady),” Cayetano told Binay as she stood up and left the hearing.

At a press briefing, Binay turned emotional as she explained that her children witnessed the incident, thus, she decided to file a complaint.

Meanwhile, Cayetano said he saw photos of Binay filing the complaint.

He shrugged it off and said nothing would come out of it. He added he could file the same against Binay.

“Alam naman niya na walang mangyayari diyan sa ethics case eh. Ako rin pwede ko rin siya file-an ng ethics case dahil unethical din mga ginagawa niya (He knows that nothing will happen in the ethics case. I can also file an ethics case against her because what she did was also unethical),” he added.

He appealed to Binay not to complicate things and to simply stick to the issue.

“Senator Nancy, linawin na lang natin itong lahat. Mahinahon, sa tama, napaka-busy ng ating bansa, napakaraming problema. Magkano ba talaga ang Senate building, of course kasama lupa? (Senator Nancy, let’s just clear it all up. Calm down. Right now our country is very busy. There are so many problems. How much is the Senate building, of course including the land?)” he said.

The construction of the multi-billion Senate building in Taguig City has been delayed by 852 days, with no specific completion date as of yet, an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) confirmed during the hearing.

DPWH Buildings and Special Projects Management Cluster project director Soledad Florencio said the extension of time for the project was at 852 days but only due to variation orders.

She also clarified that Cayetano nor Senate President Francis Escudero, who ordered a halt to the construction, have nothing to do with the delay.

Initially budgeted at PHP8.9 billion, Escudero said the project cost has ballooned to PHP13 billion, with an additional PHP10 billion required for completion. (PNA)