BINAY HITS CAYETANO, TRILLANES FOR USING BLUE RIBBON TO BOOST THEIR 2016 AMBITION  

Vice President Jejomar Binay gestures as he denies irregularities in the construction of a Makati parking building yesterday. EDD GUMBAN MANILA, Philippines - They’re “all malicious, baseless and coated with politics,” said Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday of allegations raised against him by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, whom he accused of using the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to boost their political ambitions in 2016 at his and his family’s expense. “I’m ready to face any fair and impartial investigation on all the allegations that are being hurled against me and my family,” Binay said while expressing surprise that the senators did not even consider filing criminal charges against his main accusers, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and lawyer Renato Bondal. The Blue Ribbon committee is investigating the alleged anomalous Makati parking building project.

He said Mercado should be criminally charged for admitting having accepted money from the contractor of the Makati City Hall building 2 project. Bondal on the other hand should be charged with perjury, he said. Binay said that as a long-time public servant, he has always been committed to transparency and accountability. “But what has transpired in the Senate on Aug. 20 and 26, especially the words uttered by some senators, are proof that the Senate investigation is a politicized forum with the intention of throwing at us baseless allegations and lies,” Binay told a press conference. He said he expects his detractors to up the ante in their bid to destroy him. “These people will soon wave fake logbook, ledger, checks and other documents against me. I will not also be surprised that in the days to come, they will point at me as the one who masterminded an ‘ambush me’ incident because that is the direction of their telenovela testimony in the Senate which was written badly,” the vice president said. Binay reiterated that the Makati City Hall building 2 project passed Commission on Audit (COA) scrutiny.

He said Trillanes even hurled invectives at a project contractor, stopped him from testifying and threatened him with plunder charges just because the senator did not like his statement. “What are they afraid of? That the contractor will say that the project is not overpriced. That they have other projects in the government that are more expensive than the Building 2 of Makati. That the project was also divided into phases and their allies are involved in it,” Binay said. Trillanes has not yet presented any concrete evidence that the Makati building 2 project was overpriced. “The law says that to prove that the project is overpriced, there must be a comparison of two similar things,” Binay said. “The NSO (National Statistics Office) stated that based on the building permit applications, their computation is not the actual construction cost. The expert that they used gave a market appraisal for a hypothetical building. It is not a comparison between two equal things,” Binay said. “Even the handbook used by Trillanes stated that all buildings are assumed to have no basement except otherwise stated and are built on flat ground, with normal soil conditions and minimal external work. The cost excludes land cost, professional fees, finance and legal expenses. Meaning this is not a comparison between two similar things,” Binay said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay: Senate hearing a badly scripted ‘telenovela’ 

PHOTO: Vice President Jejomar Binay tells reporters on wednesday that he and his family are being targeted by groups out to derail his presidential ambition. Photo By Rene h. Dilan
VICE President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday accused Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th of orchestrating the Senate hearing on the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall Building 2 to destroy him and his family and derail his presidential plans. “The [blue ribbon] hearing is clearly a politicized forum to find criminal liability on our part but certainly it was not in aid of legislation” Binay said at a news conference in his office at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City. He branded the hearing as a badly scripted telenovela designed to smear him and his family, and influence a survey on 2016 presidential contenders next week. Binay has his eyes on the presidency, and so do Cayetano and Trillanes.

The Vice President reiterated that he and his family did not get a single centavo from the building’s construction or from any other projects in the city. He insisted that all the transactions related to the project were above-board and had passed all legal processes including scrutiny by the Commission on Audit. Binay said the project was broken down into several phases in five years because it was too big for a single year’s budget. The P1 billion added to the project, according to him, was part of the P2.4 billion estimated for it and that they were able to save P200 million because the building cost only P2.2 billion. He questioned the credibility of lawyer Renato Bondal, who admitted at the blue ribbon hearing to guessing the actual worth of the “overpriced” birthday cakes for Makati’s senior citizens.
The Vice President also lashed out at former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who on Tuesday also admitted that he got kickbacks from the City Hall 2 project. “Are these the kind of witnesses that they are using to destroy us?” Binay said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Trillanes urged to admit bullying of contractor    

PHOITO: TRILLANES AT THE SENATE-- Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should be man enough to admit that he bullied a contractor who wanted to testify in favor of the Binay family during the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new spokesman and Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday. Remulla said Trillanes should be more forthcoming in answering Binay’s accusation on Wednesday that Trillanes bullied and cursed the representative of Hillmarcs Construction, the contractor for Makati City Hall Parking 2, during last Tuesday’s Senate hearing. “Did he or did he not bully and curse the representative of Hillmarcs? Simple question, simple answer are what the people are looking for,” Remulla said.

Remulla also said that it was disappointing that Trillanes is now asking the Vice President to show proof that the bullying and cursing happened. “When it’s the Vice President making statements, Senator Trillanes says show proof first. But when it’s their local political allies who are the Vice President’s detractors making baseless and malicious remarks in a Senate hearing, he does not demand proof and in fact coaches and guides them in their answers. This is a clear case of double standard,” Binay’s spokesman added. Remulla said that Trillanes’ double standard was also evident when Trillanes failed to ask former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado how much he received in kickbacks from the Makati parking building project. Mercado admitted at the hearing that he got kickbacks from the project during his term as vice mayor. Trillanes immediately zeroed in on Binay. But instead of making a direct statement, Mercado gave a speculative and evasive answer. “There is clear double standard when you allow a person like the former vice mayor to get away with a tacit admission of violating the laws without so much as an admonition from Senator Trillanes. In contrast, auditors and specialists from the Commission on Audit, the contractor and Makati officials including Mayor Junjun Binay were bullied,” Remulla stressed. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay-Villar in 2016? NP-UNA ALLIANCE?  

Is former Sen. Manny Villar the “businessman” being eyed by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay as his runningmate in 2016? This cropped up yesterday after Binay’s office announced that Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, a prominent leader of Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP), will become the vice president’s spokesman for political concerns. While Remulla said that he has the “blessings” of Villar, he was quick to deny the former senator’s involvement in his joining the Binay camp, saying it was his personal decision to do so. Binay, for his part, said he has good relations with Villar and his family. Asked if Villar was the businessman he was referring to in previous statements, Binay just chuckled and said: “Secret”  Binay, who called for a press conference at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City to deny allegations of former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado against him, maintained that he has yet to choose a runningmate and everyone is still being considered. Remulla was present in the press conference. Should the Binay-Villar tandem push through, it would be a twist of fate.

In 2010 when Villar ran for president, among those considered as his runningmate was Binay. As it turned out, Villar picked Sen. Loren Legarda as his runningmate, while Binay eventually became the vice presidential candidate of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. SENATORIAL BETS While Binay neither confirmed nor denied that Villar was the “businessman” he was referring to, he named Sen. Tito Sotto, Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian as among those who will comprise his senatorial line-up. In his senatorial wish list are Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Sen. Ralph Recto, husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, who is another possible runningmate of Binay. DIVIDED NP? Meanwhile, Remulla vowed to support Binay’s presidential bid, saying he is the “most qualified” to become president in 2016. He expressed his support for Binay despite the pronouncements of his NP partymates – Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV – that they may seek higher office in 2016. Cayetano and Trillanes are also leading the probe into the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II project. But Remulla said he is convinced that the probe led by his partymates is “politically motivated.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino now says he looks forward to ‘freedom’ after his term ends 

Presidential Benigno S. Aquino III is not keen on extending his six-year term and is actually
looking forward to his last day in office. The President, however, affirmed that he would continue to listen to whatever command the people will give him especially on how best to sustain the reforms initiated by his administration. Aquino tackled various topics, including his lukewarm position on calls for a second term in office, during an interview with Bombo Radyo on Thursday morning. The President, showing his lack of interest to a proposed second term, then shared his plans to celebrate “freedom” after he steps down from office in 2016. “One year and 10 months from now, palagay ko kasama ko si Usec. Marfil at saka si Asec. Delantar sa July 1, the day after bumaba tayo sa puwesto, at kakain kami ng masarap talaga tapos may streamer na nakalagay sa likod namin: kalayaan [One year and 10 months from now, I think I’ll be with Usec. Marfil and Asec. Delantar on July 1, the day after I step down from office, and we will eat delicious food while there’s a streamer behind us that reads: freedom],” he added. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino declines ice bucket challenge, says he has a cold  

President Beningno Aquino 3rd is willing to go pretty far to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). But he draws the line at dumping a bucket of ice water over his head.
“Huwag na muna nating pag-usapan dahil una kong ivo-volunteer si [Communications Undersecretary] Rey Marfil[Let’s not talk about that because I would volunteer Rey Marfil],” Aquino said in jest during an interview with Bombo Radyo on Thursday. The President added he was feeling a bit under the weather. “Especially now I have a cold,” he said. On Wednesday, Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, also declined a radio reporter’s dare for him to take on the ice bucket challenge. “I have fever and cough,” Lacierda said during a press briefing. nevertheless committed instead to make a $100 donation for ALS research. The ALS ice bucket challenge is a campaign to raise funds and awareness for people struck with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The challenge has attracted celebrities, athletes and even world leaders. Some Philippine government officials have taken up the challenge, among them Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

SCOOP NEWS: A ‘flighty’ Q&A with Kris Aquino: Why endorse Jejomar Binay?  

Kris Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay. FILE PHOTO: What must they be thinking, those sisters of President Benigno Aquino III, endorsing Vice President Jejomar Binay for Liberal Party standard-bearer? Is he really their honest idea of the person best able to carry on the daang matuwid (righteous path) legacy of their brother?
I got the answer on a recent flight back from Hong Kong when Kris Aquno sat on the seat in front of me in business class. I was already seated when she came on board, followed by a young man lugging her two carry-on suitcases. He assured her, as he deposited her luggage in the overhead rack, that he would be back later to assist her on landing. Then he pushed off to his own seat on the other side of the plane, across from the center aisle set of seats.
I am a retired journalist, no longer inclined to chase after stories, let alone meet deadlines. But that question—the endorsement of Binay—has been nagging at me since the President’s State of the Nation Address. So I decided as it were, to take the bull by the horns, if only to satisfy my curiosity. So I stood up, leaned over and asked.

“Are you really serious about supporting Binay for the presidency?” I said, introducing myself. She was busy writing something, and obviously, I was interrupting. Forthrightly, she replied, “Yes.” Pressing on, I said, “Why?” “This is a free country, and I am entitled to my opinion!” She shot back at me. Fair enough. Indeed she was/is. I mulled that over for a few minutes, and decided it was not the answer I was looking for. I was hoping for some kind of justification, a reasonable explanation for such an apparently outrageous choice. After all, like her, I am also a free citizen of a free country, entitled to ask questions and expect answers from those who shape public opinion, responsibly or otherwise. “What is it about him that makes you think he can step into your brother’s shoes?” I persisted, like a dog worrying a bone. Perhaps, I was looking to be convinced. Maybe there is something in the man that I am missing, failing to see. “I like him. It’s a personal choice!” she said. “But why?” I insisted, and as she started to answer, I thought to further qualify my question: “Is Binay really your honest idea of the person best able to take over and carry on your brother’s daang matuwid legacy?”  “I was in the process of replying, and you interrupted me,” she threw back at me, apparently irked. “Sorry. My mistake, carry on.” “I like him. We like him. He’s helped us a lot. He is always there for us,” she said. *READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Binay denies charges, hits Cayetano, Trillanes


Vice President Jejomar Binay gestures as he denies irregularities in the construction of a Makati parking building yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Jose Rodel Clapano - They’re “all malicious, baseless and coated with politics,” said Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday of allegations raised against him by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, whom he accused of using the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to boost their political ambitions in 2016 at his and his family’s expense.

“I’m ready to face any fair and impartial investigation on all the allegations that are being hurled against me and my family,” Binay said while expressing surprise that the senators did not even consider filing criminal charges against his main accusers, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and lawyer Renato Bondal. The Blue Ribbon committee is investigating the alleged anomalous Makati parking building project.

He said Mercado should be criminally charged for admitting having accepted money from the contractor of the Makati City Hall building 2 project. Bondal on the other hand should be charged with perjury, he said.

Binay said that as a long-time public servant, he has always been committed to transparency and accountability.

“But what has transpired in the Senate on Aug. 20 and 26, especially the words uttered by some senators, are proof that the Senate investigation is a politicized forum with the intention of throwing at us baseless allegations and lies,” Binay told a press conference.

He said he expects his detractors to up the ante in their bid to destroy him.

“These people will soon wave fake logbook, ledger, checks and other documents against me. I will not also be surprised that in the days to come, they will point at me as the one who masterminded an ‘ambush me’ incident because that is the direction of their telenovela testimony in the Senate which was written badly,” the vice president said.

Binay reiterated that the Makati City Hall building 2 project passed Commission on Audit (COA) scrutiny.

He said Trillanes even hurled invectives at a project contractor, stopped him from testifying and threatened him with plunder charges just because the senator did not like his statement.

“What are they afraid of? That the contractor will say that the project is not overpriced. That they have other projects in the government that are more expensive than the Building 2 of Makati. That the project was also divided into phases and their allies are involved in it,” Binay said.

Trillanes has not yet presented any concrete evidence that the Makati building 2 project was overpriced.

“The law says that to prove that the project is overpriced, there must be a comparison of two similar things,” Binay said.

“The NSO (National Statistics Office) stated that based on the building permit applications, their computation is not the actual construction cost. The expert that they used gave a market appraisal for a hypothetical building. It is not a comparison between two equal things,” Binay said.

“Even the handbook used by Trillanes stated that all buildings are assumed to have no basement except otherwise stated and are built on flat ground, with normal soil conditions and minimal external work. The cost excludes land cost, professional fees, finance and legal expenses. Meaning this is not a comparison between two similar things,” Binay said.

* He stressed that funding for the building project being questioned was approved by the city council.

‘In aid of persecution’

Former Manila congressman Bienvenido Abante Jr. called on senators to stop the Blue Ribbon investigation, saying it was being done “in aid of persecution.”

Abante said that since Binay’s critics have already filed a plunder case against the vice president and his mayor son Junjun, “it is now up to the Office of the Ombudsman to determine whether these allegations are meritorious or not.”

“With the national elections fast approaching and with VP Binay dominating the surveys, there is the temptation to use investigations to influence voters by providing a venue to broadcast damning, but unproven, allegations,” he said.

He said the Senate inquiry is apparently not in aid of legislation, “since our procurement laws are already considered quite strict – and hardly require any tweaking.”

Abante pointed out that instead of inquiries, the Senate should attend to important pending legislative measures like those seeking to bring down the cost of electricity.

“Our people would be better served if senators focused on their primary purpose: the passage of laws. They are legislators, not litigators. Our country has too many problems, our citizens have too many concerns, for our senators to be spending precious time and energy on investigations,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Binay has tapped Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla as his new spokesman. Remulla, who moderated yesterday’s press conference of Binay, said current spokesman Joey Salgado would be the overall communications head of the vice president.

“He is good. He has shown his leadership as governor of Cavite,” Binay said of Remulla, a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former senator Manny Villar.

For his part, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary-general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said that he had been consulting with Remulla even before the 2013 elections.

Tiangco said the entry of Remulla would enable him to concentrate on his job as spokesman for UNA.

“I was beaten in front, in rear, both sides and all over. That is why we need governor Remulla to work with us,” Tiangco said.

“Cavite being a large province, we have to consult the governor. We know he can help us. He knows the problem not only in Cavite. He has the feel of the real problems,” Tiangco said. – With Jess Diaz

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Binay: Senate hearing a badly scripted ‘telenovela’
August 27, 2014 11:46 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, FERNAN MARASIGAN, BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON AND JING VILLAMENTE
MANILA TIMES


Vice President Jejomar Binay tells reporters on wednesday that he and his family are being targeted by groups out to derail his presidential ambition. Photo By Rene h. Dilan

VICE President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday accused Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th of orchestrating the Senate hearing on the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall Building 2 to destroy him and his family and derail his presidential plans.

“The [blue ribbon] hearing is clearly a politicized forum to find criminal liability on our part but certainly it was not in aid of legislation” Binay said at a news conference in his office at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City.

He branded the hearing as a badly scripted telenovela designed to smear him and his family, and influence a survey on 2016 presidential contenders next week.

Binay has his eyes on the presidency, and so do Cayetano and Trillanes.

The Vice President reiterated that he and his family did not get a single centavo from the building’s construction or from any other projects in the city.

He insisted that all the transactions related to the project were above-board and had passed all legal processes including scrutiny by the Commission on Audit.

Binay said the project was broken down into several phases in five years because it was too big for a single year’s budget.
The P1 billion added to the project, according to him, was part of the P2.4 billion estimated for it and that they were able to save P200 million because the building cost only P2.2 billion.

He questioned the credibility of lawyer Renato Bondal, who admitted at the blue ribbon hearing to guessing the actual worth of the “overpriced” birthday cakes for Makati’s senior citizens.

The Vice President also lashed out at former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who on Tuesday also admitted that he got kickbacks from the City Hall 2 project.

“Are these the kind of witnesses that they are using to destroy us?” Binay said.

* He added that it was Mercado who raised funds and handled the transactions for the project.

The Vice President also raised the possibility that a “group” dedicated to destroying his presidential bid could be behind the attacks.

File charges

His daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, who was being accused of supplying the birthday cakes for senior citizens, dared her fellow senators to file a case against her instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on “useless” Senate hearings.

She said the Senate is not the proper venue to investigate the supposed overpriced building and cakes.

“This is not the right venue. If there are allegations that I’m the supplier of the cakes, file a case against me, I will submit myself to the process,” the senator said.

She accused some of her colleagues of using the blue ribbon committee to ruin other people.

“It seems that some of my colleagues in the Senate don’t want to spend their own money to gain popularity and instead use the resources of the Senate committee to be in the news,” the senator said without naming names.

These senators are also engaged in “persecution,” according to former Manila Rep. Benny M. Abante, who also on Wednesday asked his former colleagues in Congress to focus on legislation instead.

Besides, Abante said in a statement, the overpricing complaint has been filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and “it is now up to the courts to determine whether these allegations are meritorious.”

The chairman of the Bayan Mamamayan Abante Movement explained that with the 2016 national elections around the corner and the Vice President dominating the surveys, “the temptation is to use these [congressional] inquiries to influence voters by providing a venue to broadcast damning, but unproven, allegations.”

He said a moratorium on such inquiries needs to be seriously considered.

“Our people would be better served if the Senate focused on its primary purpose, which is the passage of laws,” Abante added.

The Binay camp said its political foes have become desperate that they are now resorting to “dirty tricks.”

Joey Salgado, the Vice President’s spokesman, cited a press release attributed to Mercado that was “planted” at the Senate Public Information and Media Relations Office.

The statement purportedly quoted Mercado as saying the Vice President pocketed P1.5 billion from the construction of the city hall building.

Mercado denied issuing the press release.

“Where the press release originated, nobody knows. But one thing is sure, Binay’s political opponents are now employing the services of a dirty tricks department to destroy the Vice President,” Salgado said.

New spokesman

The Vice President has named Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), as his political spokesman.

Senator Cynthia Villar, an NP stalwart, admitted that she was surprised by Remulla’s decision to jump ship without informing his partymates or the party leadership first.

She admitted that Remulla had informed her husband, former Sen. Manuel Villar, the NP president, of his intention to support the candidacy of Binay.

The lawmaker shrugged off the effects of Remulla’s decision, noting that the NP remains a strong party.

Cayetano, in a separate interview, said he has no problem with Remulla’s decision to join Binay’s camp.

But he added that the Vice President does not need another spokesman to defend him from controversies.

Cayetano said what the people need to see is for Binay to stop making excuses and start explaining the Makati building issue.

FROM PHILSTAR

Trillanes urged to admit bullying of contractor By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should be man enough to admit that he bullied a contractor who wanted to testify in favor of the Binay family during the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new spokesman and Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday.

Remulla said Trillanes should be more forthcoming in answering Binay’s accusation on Wednesday that Trillanes bullied and cursed the representative of Hillmarcs Construction, the contractor for Makati City Hall Parking 2, during last Tuesday’s Senate hearing.

“Did he or did he not bully and curse the representative of Hillmarcs? Simple question, simple answer are what the people are looking for,” Remulla said.

Remulla also said that it was disappointing that Trillanes is now asking the Vice President to show proof that the bullying and cursing happened.

“When it’s the Vice President making statements, Senator Trillanes says show proof first. But when it’s their local political allies who are the Vice President’s detractors making baseless and malicious remarks in a Senate hearing, he does not demand proof and in fact coaches and guides them in their answers. This is a clear case of double standard,” Binay’s spokesman added.

Remulla said that Trillanes’ double standard was also evident when Trillanes failed to ask former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado how much he received in kickbacks from the Makati parking building project.

Mercado admitted at the hearing that he got kickbacks from the project during his term as vice mayor. Trillanes immediately zeroed in on Binay. But instead of making a direct statement, Mercado gave a speculative and evasive answer.

“There is clear double standard when you allow a person like the former vice mayor to get away with a tacit admission of violating the laws without so much as an admonition from Senator Trillanes. In contrast, auditors and specialists from the Commission on Audit, the contractor and Makati officials including Mayor Junjun Binay were bullied,” Remulla stressed.

* Remulla also refuted Mercado’s claim that the Vice President was evading the issues and slammed Mercado’s insinuation that the Binays were to blame if anything bad would happen to him.

“It’s not the character of Vice President Binay to resort to ambush and injure other people,” Remulla said, adding that Binay has no plans to file charges against Mercado even if the former vice mayor’s allegations are disproved.

Binay’s spokesman also cited the case of Renato Bondal, who admitted that his claim that the birthday cakes being given to Makati’s senior citizens cost P1,000 each was just a “guess.”

“Why didn’t Senator Trillanes admonish this person, or charge him with perjury for lying under oath? These persons are flouting the law in front of the senators yet they are being treated with kid gloves,” Remulla noted.

“The way the hearing is being conducted and the demeanor and statements of Senators Trillanes and Alan Cayetano are those of a prosecutor, not an impartial legislator crafting laws,” he added.

Next Senate probe: Makati City Hall

Despite Remulla’s defense, the woes of the Vice President are far from over.

Once the Senate Blue Ribbon committee concludes its ongoing probe into the Makati City parking building, the investigation would move on to the main city hall building, which is also said to be overpriced.

The city hall building was included in the resolution filed by Trillanes, along with other related anomalies.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon sub-committee tasked to investigate the parking building, said there would be one or two more hearings on the parking building before the probe moves to the Makati City hall building.

The sub-committee will conduct an ocular inspection of the parking building on Monday, so that they could have a clearer picture of what the actual structure looks like.

Pimentel said he would also like to get an accurate measurement of the total lot and floor area because he received two different figures during the hearings.

He would bring a property surveyor and geodetic engineer so they could make an immediate assessment of the structure.

Cayetano snubs Binay’s daughter

Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, one of the Vice President’s daughters, sat through the Senate hearing last Tuesday waiting for the opportunity to meet with Cayetano, but ended up being snubbed.

Rep. Binay told reporters that she wanted to talk to Cayetano to clear the air on the issue of the complaint that was filed recently against him regarding the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund and the presence of ghost employees in Taguig City.

Rep. Binay explained she wanted to discuss the matter with Cayetano after he mentioned her as being behind the complaint because one of the complainants was her classmate at the Ateneo Law School.

When Rep. Binay visited Cayetano’s office at the Senate, she was told that he was not around.

“He mentioned my name, so I needed to talk to him. I didn’t even take my lunch because I was waiting for him but he just avoided me,” Binay said in Filipino.

A teary-eyed Rep. Binay told reporters at the Senate that Cayetano’s wife Lani, the mayor of Taguig City, is her daughter’s godparent. She also recalled that Mayor Cayetano has been her friend since 2007 when they were still together at the House of Representatives as members of the minority bloc.

Rep. Binay said that she knew that Mayor Cayetano never answered her phone personally, so she decided to see Sen. Cayetano instead because she wanted to take up the issue face-to-face as friends.

Rep. Binay aired her disappointment over Sen. Cayetano’s failure to even acknowledge her presence at the Senate even though she was sure that he knew she was there.

She clarified that she has no intention of severing ties with the Cayetanos when she went to the Senate.

“I have nothing bad to say about Mayor Lani because I know she has a golden heart. But I cannot say the same about Senator Alan,” Rep. Binay said.

She described Sen. Cayetano as being similar to a tornado that destroys everything in his path towards attaining his goal of becoming president in 2016.

She also suspects that the Cayetanos’ attitude towards her could have something to do with the rumor that she is planning to run for mayor in Taguig City. She has maintained there is no truth to this but she believes that this could be the reason why the Cayetanos are that “rabid” towards her.

“I am a very private person and with limited friends and I opened my doors to them thinking they are good people. But I guess it is a lack of judgment on my part… Sad to say, I am sorry that I became friends with them,” Rep. Binay added.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, however, observed that “Vice President Binay and his children have resorted to histrionics” instead of answering the allegations. – With Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Binay-Villar in 2016? by Jc Bello Ruiz August 28, 2014

Is former Sen. Manny Villar the “businessman” being eyed by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay as his runningmate in 2016?

This cropped up yesterday after Binay’s office announced that Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, a prominent leader of Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP), will become the vice president’s spokesman for political concerns.

While Remulla said that he has the “blessings” of Villar, he was quick to deny the former senator’s involvement in his joining the Binay camp, saying it was his personal decision to do so.

Binay, for his part, said he has good relations with Villar and his family.

Asked if Villar was the businessman he was referring to in previous statements, Binay just chuckled and said: “Secret”

Binay, who called for a press conference at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City to deny allegations of former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado against him, maintained that he has yet to choose a runningmate and everyone is still being considered. Remulla was present in the press conference.

Should the Binay-Villar tandem push through, it would be a twist of fate.

In 2010 when Villar ran for president, among those considered as his runningmate was Binay.

As it turned out, Villar picked Sen. Loren Legarda as his runningmate, while Binay eventually became the vice presidential candidate of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

SENATORIAL BETS

While Binay neither confirmed nor denied that Villar was the “businessman” he was referring to, he named Sen. Tito Sotto, Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian as among those who will comprise his senatorial line-up.

In his senatorial wish list are Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Sen. Ralph Recto, husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, who is another possible runningmate of Binay.

DIVIDED NP?

Meanwhile, Remulla vowed to support Binay’s presidential bid, saying he is the “most qualified” to become president in 2016.

He expressed his support for Binay despite the pronouncements of his NP partymates – Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV – that they may seek higher office in 2016.

Cayetano and Trillanes are also leading the probe into the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II project.

But Remulla said he is convinced that the probe led by his partymates is “politically motivated.”

* Remulla said he sees no conflict of interest with him working for Binay despite being a member of the NP, noting that the vice president has yet to launch his political party.

NP-UNA ALLIANCE?

“Who knows the NP and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will form an alliance for 2016? But that is just a speculation,” Remulla said.

“I am happy for Gov. Jonvic Remulla because I know that he is very talented and articulate individual. I wish him well,” Cayetano said in an interview after a Senate committee hearing.

“However, the situation does not call for more spokesmen; the situation calls for the vice president answering the issues directly,” Cayetano said.

As far as Cayetano is concerned, the vice president’s children have already acted as his spokesmen.

UNA Secretary General Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco welcomed Remulla’s presence in the Binay camp noting how he has been hard up lately in speaking for the vice president.

“Mag-isa lang ako (pero) sampu-sampu ang sumusuntok sa akin (I’m alone and yet a lot are throwing their punches),” Tiangco said in a jest. (With a report from Hannah L. Torregoza)

Aquino now says he looks forward to ‘freedom’ after his term ends by Genalyn Kabiling August 28, 2014 MANILA BULLETIN

Presidential Benigno S. Aquino III is not keen on extending his six-year term and is actually looking forward to his last day in office.

The President, however, affirmed that he would continue to listen to whatever command the people will give him especially on how best to sustain the reforms initiated by his administration.

Aquino tackled various topics, including his lukewarm position on calls for a second term in office, during an interview with Bombo Radyo on Thursday morning.

The President, showing his lack of interest to a proposed second term, then shared his plans to celebrate “freedom” after he steps down from office in 2016.

“One year and 10 months from now, palagay ko kasama ko si Usec. Marfil at saka si Asec. Delantar sa July 1, the day after bumaba tayo sa puwesto, at kakain kami ng masarap talaga tapos may streamer na nakalagay sa likod namin: kalayaan [One year and 10 months from now, I think I’ll be with Usec. Marfil and Asec. Delantar on July 1, the day after I step down from office, and we will eat delicious food while there’s a streamer behind us that reads: freedom],” he added.

* Aquino was referring to Presidential Communications Operations Undersecretary Rey Marfil and Office of the President Assistant Secretary Jun Delantar, who are known close friends.

The President explained that he was not a “masochist” by taking the burden of the presidency beyond 2016. But he shared several instances when people have approached him and proposed another term to sustain his reforms.

Aquino said he would explain to these people that he has a term limit and his job is to find someone who will continue his reform agenda. For now, Aquino said he has started to consult with various sectors to address concerns how the reforms implemented by the administration would become permanent.

Early this month, the President declared he would listen to the people on the proposed term extension but made clear he would not automatically seek another term. His comments drew widespread criticisms from various groups who expressed concern about his tendency to cling to power.

At present, the Constitution states that a president has a single six-year term and is not eligible for reelection.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Aquino declines ice bucket challenge, says he has a cold August 28, 2014 4:17 pm

President Beningno Aquino 3rd is willing to go pretty far to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
But he draws the line at dumping a bucket of ice water over his head.

“Huwag na muna nating pag-usapan dahil una kong ivo-volunteer si [Communications Undersecretary] Rey Marfil[Let’s not talk about that because I would volunteer Rey Marfil],” Aquino said in jest during an interview with Bombo Radyo on Thursday.

The President added he was feeling a bit under the weather.

“Especially now I have a cold,” he said.

On Wednesday, Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, also declined a radio reporter’s dare for him to take on the ice bucket challenge.

“I have fever and cough,” Lacierda said during a press briefing. nevertheless committed instead to make a $100 donation for ALS research.

The ALS ice bucket challenge is a campaign to raise funds and awareness for people struck with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The challenge has attracted celebrities, athletes and even world leaders.

Some Philippine government officials have taken up the challenge, among them Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

FROM THE INQUIRER

A ‘flighty’ Q&A with Kris Aquino: Why endorse Jejomar Binay?
By Blanche David-Gallardo |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:30 am | Sunday, August 31st, 2014


Kris Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay. FILE PHOTO

What must they be thinking, those sisters of President Benigno Aquino III, endorsing Vice President Jejomar Binay for Liberal Party standard-bearer? Is he really their honest idea of the person best able to carry on the daang matuwid (righteous path) legacy of their brother?

I got the answer on a recent flight back from Hong Kong when Kris Aquno sat on the seat in front of me in business class.

I was already seated when she came on board, followed by a young man lugging her two carry-on suitcases. He assured her, as he deposited her luggage in the overhead rack, that he would be back later to assist her on landing. Then he pushed off to his own seat on the other side of the plane, across from the center aisle set of seats.

I am a retired journalist, no longer inclined to chase after stories, let alone meet deadlines. But that question—the endorsement of Binay—has been nagging at me since the President’s State of the Nation Address. So I decided as it were, to take the bull by the horns, if only to satisfy my curiosity. So I stood up, leaned over and asked.

“Are you really serious about supporting Binay for the presidency?” I said, introducing myself. She was busy writing something, and obviously, I was interrupting. Forthrightly, she replied, “Yes.”

Pressing on, I said, “Why?”

“This is a free country, and I am entitled to my opinion!” She shot back at me. Fair enough. Indeed she was/is.

I mulled that over for a few minutes, and decided it was not the answer I was looking for. I was hoping for some kind of justification, a reasonable explanation for such an apparently outrageous choice. After all, like her, I am also a free citizen of a free country, entitled to ask questions and expect answers from those who shape public opinion, responsibly or otherwise.

“What is it about him that makes you think he can step into your brother’s shoes?” I persisted, like a dog worrying a bone. Perhaps, I was looking to be convinced. Maybe there is something in the man that I am missing, failing to see.
“I like him. It’s a personal choice!” she said.

“But why?” I insisted, and as she started to answer, I thought to further qualify my question: “Is Binay really your honest idea of the person best able to take over and carry on your brother’s daang matuwid legacy?”

“I was in the process of replying, and you interrupted me,” she threw back at me, apparently irked.

“Sorry. My mistake, carry on.”

“I like him. We like him. He’s helped us a lot. He is always there for us,” she said.

* End of conversation.

What? That’s it? Is that really all there is to it? A matter of preference because of present/past favors? A matter of personal gratitude? With Butz Aquino’s announcing his and the other Aquino/Cojuangco clan members’ support, what could be more dismaying for the Filipino public?

The country as fiefdom to be awarded to the most accommodating vassal! And I thought we were living in a more enlightened age, and feudalism is a thing of the past.

What of the welfare of the country? Doesn’t that figure in the equation at all? The encounter raised more questions than it answered.

Postscript: She was gracious enough to agree to a selfie, and she shot it herself using my phone, as my arms could not reach far enough to take in both of us from my standing, leaning-over position.

I looked awful in the shot and vanity forecloses any latent desire to be seen photographed with a celebrity. I choose not to use it. It’s a free country after all.

And there you are. The ball’s in your court. Should you honor that endorsement?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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