BINAY POSTPONES SPEECH, HEADS TO TYPHOON-HIT CAGAYAN, ISABELLA 

SEPT 16 --Even in far, far Cagayan, Vice President Jejomar Binay was hounded Monday by questions about the allegations of corruption thrown at him by his former political lieutenants in Makati City. Binay was supposed to be in Manila defending himself against those charges in an address to the nation that his aides had said would be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.” But Typhoon “Luis” (international name: Kalmaegi) slammed into northeastern Luzon with powerful winds on Sunday night and with President Aquino away on a tour of Europe and the United States, the Vice President had to take his place and see how bad the damage was. So Binay canceled his speech, which he had scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the Philippine International Convention Center. The Vice President said he would announce later when he would deliver the speech.

Binay toured the typhoon-hit towns of Peñablanca, Iguig, Amulung and Alcala in Cagayan province and proceeded to his mother’s hometown of Cauayan in Isabela province, which was also struck by Luis as it made landfall. The Vice President said he was glad that the damage in Cagayan was minimal, which he attributed to preparations made by the local government. Asked why he chose to come to Cagayan and Isabela when Luis hit 19 other provinces, Binay said the two provinces were under typhoon signal No. 3. The visit to Isabela was a sort of homecoming. Binay said he was from the town of Cabagan and that he was Ibanag. “We are Ibanag and I speak Ibanag,” Binay said. Asked about former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s allegation that he took 13 percent of all infrastructure projects when he was mayor of Makati, Binay replied, “That will be among the things I will answer [in my speech].”
Senate inquiry ---When asked if he would go to the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the 11-story, P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, Binay said he was still thinking about it.*READ MORE...

(ALSO) Binay speaks: Evidence of corruption ‘hearsay’ 

SEPT 18 --Before a room full of supporters at the Philippine International Convention Center, Vice President Jejomar Binay said that the allegations of corruption against him were “hearsay”, would not stand in a court of law and were merely part of a “circus” hearing in the Senate. Binay said that the witnesses who testified against the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II have no evidence against him other than their testimonies before the investigations of the Blue Ribbon Committee. He said that the allegations of rigged biddings, that he earned kickbacks were only hearesay and have no documentary evidence.

“The alleged commission delivered in bags are just hearsay evidence from Vice Mayor Ernest Mercado. There is no evidence,” Binay said in Filipino during his address Thursday. “None of their testimonies will stand in a court of law. They are only saying these things in circus hearings in the Senate,” he said. Binay added that throughout the five years the Makati City Hall Building II was being constructed, Commission on Audit had conducted up 10 technical audits by engineers, architects, surveyors, and accountants and found no anomaly. He also said that he received none of the alleged kickbacks claimed by Mercado.

“The contractor of the building has directly said that I have not asked nor was given any bribe,” Binay said. “If there were any commission that Mercado says he received, it clearly was just for him,” he said. Binay slammed Senator Alan Cayetano who headed the hearings for immediately jumping to conclusions that the building was overpriced even after just one inspection. “In accordance with law, only the government procurement act and the guidelines of COA can be used in the construction of government buildings. Not a construction handbook that a senator loves to wave around,” Binay said, referring to Cayetano. Accurate comparison ---*READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay reschedules address to nation Thursday 

SEPT 17 --PHOTO: Vice President Jejomar Binay. –Stop politicking and face the Senate. That’s the demand that protesters from Makati City raised as they staged a rally on Wednesday near the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel in Pasay City, where Vice President Jejomar Binay was attending a mining conference. Binay will speak Thursday on the controversy in an address to the nation from the Philippine International Convention Center at 2 p.m. He had originally planned to deliver the speech on Monday, but he canceled it to visit typhoon victims in Cagayan and Isabela provinces.

Binay declined to give a preview of his speech, urging reporters instead to just listen to what he would say. Asked about the protesters’ demand, Binay said: “That’s their right to rally.” “We are challenging the [Vice President] to face the blue ribbon committee,” said Jhasper Cuayzon, spokesman for the youth arm of United Makati against Corruption (Umac), which held the rally to pressure Binay to appear at the Senate inquiry into allegations of corruption involving municipal infrastructure projects during his three terms as the city’s mayor. Rather than answering the allegations in press conferences held in different places, Binay should speak at the Senate, the “proper venue” for him to defend himself, Cuayzon said. “It’s his chance to air his side,” Cuayzon said, adding that Binay should answer the accusations against him “point by point” and should “not deviate, as he did before.” “[Binay] should not merely dismiss the allegations against him as political,” he said. ‘That’s for me to decide’

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the alleged overpricing of the 11-story, P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II and rigging of biddings for infrastructure project contracts has sent Binay an invitation to appear at a hearing called by the panel for Sept. 25. Binay has not said whether he will accept the invitation, and when asked by reporters on the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday whether he would appear at the hearing, he replied: “That’s for me to decide.” He said the protesters’ demand that he appear in the Senate inquiry was their “opinion.”
Cuayzon said the protesters were members of Umac, Youth for Change, whose members were from the University of Makati, and Urban Poor Alliance against Demolition in Makati.*READ MORE...


ALSO: Binay to defend self ‘presidential’ style; VP to rebut charges of Makati ex-officials  

SEPT 15 --Vice President Jejomar Binay will try to save his presidential ambition Monday afternoon with a 15-minute address to the nation that his aides say will be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.” Binay will defend himself and his family against allegations of corruption thrown at them by former officials of Makati City, where he served as mayor for three terms before being elected to the second highest office in the land in 2010. Binay’s camp has invited the press to cover the Vice President’s speech, which will be delivered at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) at 2 p.m.

But anything he says will carry no more weight than statements under oath, according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the charges against Binay. The most serious of the charges against Binay are the alleged overpricing of the 11-story Makati City Hall Building II and taking 13 percent of the price of all development projects in the city as grease for mayor’s permits. Binay and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, are also facing a plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the same charges hurled at them by their former political allies in Makati. The Vice President has been invited to appear at the Senate inquiry to answer the charges but he has not said whether he will accept the invitation. But he has been issuing statements to the press through his aides accusing his detractors of maligning him to eliminate him from the race for Malacañang in 2016.

Binay’s speech on Monday afternoon represents his first effort to deal with the allegations, which could indeed thwart his presidential plans. Offense and defense ---The Vice President will be both on the offense and on the defense in his speech that, according to his spokesman, Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, Binay himself mostly wrote. In an interview on Sunday, Remulla said Binay’s speech would be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.” “The Vice President will give a general overview of what’s happening. These lies, the allegations against him, and about governance and what he stands for,” Remulla said. Binay will give a very “touching narrative and why governance matters,” he added. “These are important times, and it’s high time the Vice President responds to all the allegations against him,” Remulla said. He said Binay wanted to deal with the latest allegations aired at the Senate inquiry—that he accepted millions of pesos in grease money, delivered to him, his son and his wife in large duffel bags by his former vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado. Asked whether Binay will no longer appear at the Senate inquiry, Remulla said the Vice President had yet to decide whether to accept the senators’ invitation.*READ MORE...

ALSO: Leila starts Binay’s frame-up; Mercado et al. now under WPP  

SEPT 13 --The frame-up and full demolition job on Vice President Jojo Binay is now in full operation, with
Pesident Aquino yesterday calling his allies in a Friday speech as his “partners in reforms” and blasting away at those whom he considers his crtics and foes as anti-reforms politicans and enemies of reforms. The lines were clearly drawn by him, through his Friday speech with all his allies invited and in full attendance. As if on cue, Justice Chief Leila de Lima announced that her Department of Justice (DoJ) has placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) the witnesses in the Senate investigation into the alleged “overpriced” Makati City Hall Building II.

While all of Aquino’s aides and allies were invited and in attendance, VP Binay was not invited and markedly was not in attendance as Aquino virtually bashed him and named him and his fellow opposition leaders as anti-reforms and against him and his principles. While he mentioned no names it was evident to whom he was referring. Aquino did not only lash out at the administration’s critics, but also at the opposition’s strongest bet for the 2016 polls. The President branded those who were not in attendance during the agenda-setting meeting at Malacanang “against the principles” of the administration, adding that they are not with him in pushing for developments and reforms. His speech is a classic “somos o no somos” divisive spiel. “We are united here by our goal for the country. There’s no tactical alliance here. Never did we believe that right governance is mere politics of addition, that even if one opposes your views, if he’s able to push your ambition, you’d side with him,” the President said.

Aquino noted that those who are not allies of the administration think of the 2016 elections, saying the time will come to choose a candidate who will continue his reforms. “Of course, those against us will push their own candidate. On their part, especially those who are not with us today because they are against our principles, wouldn’t it be natural to oppose all that we do,” Aquino said. He added that those who will continue his reforms should assure the public that the goal would not be anchored on personal and political ambitions, but on concrete actions to give answer to the plight of the Filipinos. “Besides this, I am asking from you to remind the public of the good caused by our principles. We are on the right track and the benefits brought by our mindset is clear to our countrymen,” he said. Binay, who has been in hot water since the Senate inquiry on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II kicked off, has been open in running for the presidential post for 2016, being the strongest contender of the opposition for the Chief Executive seat.

The Vice President is set to answer all allegations hurled against him on Monday, following his alleged involvement on the reportedly overpriced building and other city projects that were initiated during his stint as Makati mayor.
Aquino also blasted away at his critics for hindering development and reforms that were initiated by his governance, throwing tantrums on the views against his administration. “The problem is that they continue criticizing while we plant the seeds of development, but I’m sure, when the time comes that the fruits are (ready) for harvest, they’d be the first ones in the line,” Aquino said, adding that even if critics say they are with him in ensuring the welfare of Filipinos, he said they are nowhere to be found when problems arise. “If you are with us, why did you choose to opposethat which we are fighting for instead of joining us in manifesting positive transformation in society,” Aquino, he stressed. *READ MORE...

ALSO Malaya Opinion: BINAY AMONG THE ‘THIEVES’  

SEPT 18 --I regret having made the mistake of saying Ernesto Mercado, former vice mayor of Makati City, is similarly charged with then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in the alleged overprice of the construction of the city’s parking building. The mistake came from assuming “the mayor proposes, the council disposes.” Binay proposed the construction. The plan would not have been implemented if the council presided by Vice Mayor Mercado, did not give its consent. A situation where the vice mayor who co-authored the proposal and admitted having benefited from the overprice would be allowed to make himself a hero instead of being included as one of the principal respondents in what appears to be a case of corruption, is the worst indication of how dirty politics has taken over the minds of supposedly decent men like members of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

The investigation of Vice President Binay is no longer a question of whether he is guilty or not of the charges filed against him with the Office of the Ombudsman. It is a question of how the Senate Blue Ribbon committee selects its victims for vilification. It is not like the crucifixion of Christ between two thieves in the sense that justice was applied on the thieves. We are not making a comparison between Binay and Christ. Binay is mortal. Christ is the Son of God. I do not have to say that. The truth we are trying to point out is the Makati building could not have been constructed on the orders of Binay. He had accomplices like Mercado and the members of the city council who approved the project. In the law of man, accomplices or co-conspirators are punished with the principal.

In this case, Mercado is also a principal. He and the members of the council who lent themselves to the “fraud” should be objects of the investigation by the Ombudsman. They are as innocent or as guilty as Binay. Incredibly, Mercado’s testimony is accepted by the Senate committee as gospel truth. If the Bible must be quoted Mercado should be asked: “Let him without sin cast the first stone.”  In violation of the Bible, Mercado is a sinner but he cast the first stone. Playing god, the members of the Blue Ribbon Committee look at Mercado as without sin although he admitted being a sinner himself but explains Binay is the bigger sinner. The Blue Ribbon Committee and the justice system should never be allowed to select who to run through the coals or be served a “punishment” among a big group of “thieves” that includes Mercado. Selective justice is abhorred in a democratic society. The Senate committee practices it. Its members are proud doing it in the name of truth and justice or so they say. *READ  MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Binay postpones speech, heads to typhoon-hit Cagayan, Isabela


Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (INQUIRER)  By Christine O. Avendaño, Leila B. Salaverria |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:18 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - Even in far, far Cagayan, Vice President Jejomar Binay was hounded Monday by questions about the allegations of corruption thrown at him by his former political lieutenants in Makati City.

Binay was supposed to be in Manila defending himself against those charges in an address to the nation that his aides had said would be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.”

But Typhoon “Luis” (international name: Kalmaegi) slammed into northeastern Luzon with powerful winds on Sunday night and with President Aquino away on a tour of Europe and the United States, the Vice President had to take his place and see how bad the damage was.

So Binay canceled his speech, which he had scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The Vice President said he would announce later when he would deliver the speech.

Binay toured the typhoon-hit towns of Peñablanca, Iguig, Amulung and Alcala in Cagayan province and proceeded to his mother’s hometown of Cauayan in Isabela province, which was also struck by Luis as it made landfall.

The Vice President said he was glad that the damage in Cagayan was minimal, which he attributed to preparations made by the local government.

Asked why he chose to come to Cagayan and Isabela when Luis hit 19 other provinces, Binay said the two provinces were under typhoon signal No. 3.

The visit to Isabela was a sort of homecoming. Binay said he was from the town of Cabagan and that he was Ibanag.
“We are Ibanag and I speak Ibanag,” Binay said.

Asked about former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s allegation that he took 13 percent of all infrastructure projects when he was mayor of Makati, Binay replied, “That will be among the things I will answer [in my speech].”

Senate inquiry

When asked if he would go to the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the 11-story, P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, Binay said he was still thinking about it.

* The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee looking into the scandal has sent an invitation to Binay to come to the next hearing to shed light on the controversy.

In a letter to Binay dated Sept. 11, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the subcommittee, “requested” the Vice President to come to the hearing on Sept. 25 “to inform the committee about what you know” about the construction of the parking building.

But as it was an invitation and not a subpoena, Binay may choose to ignore it.

Pimentel said he was not inclined to even suggest that the Senate compel the Vice President to appear in the inquiry by sending him a subpoena.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said he would not issue a subpoena for Binay if one was sought.

“As a matter of respect, I will not issue a subpoena. Respect for the office. . . The invitation has been issued. It’s up to him to consider it,” Drilon told reporters.

To speak later this week

Binay was scheduled to return to Manila by land early Tuesday, according to his spokesman, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.

“The Vice President said his speech could wait, but not the typhoon victims,” Remulla said, adding that Binay was “vacillating” on Sunday night about proceeding with the speech when news reports were saying that many parts of Luzon were getting whipped by strong typhoon winds.

Remulla said Binay decided to visit typhoon victims because President Aquino was traveling abroad and “someone had to take charge.”

“The Vice President thinks that while there is an appropriate time to respond to the issues, the need to alleviate the suffering of typhoon survivors cannot wait. The Vice President wants to reassure the people of Cagayan and Isabela that their government is ready to assist them,” Remulla said.

The Office of the Vice President said Binay’s speech had been moved to later this week.

Remulla said Binay may speak either Wednesday or Thursday.

Politics blamed

Binay has denied that the parking building, which was built when he was mayor of Makati, is overpriced.

He has said that Mercado and other former Makati officials who have leveled the charges against him and his family are maligning him to eliminate him from the 2016 presidential election.

Binay, who declared that he would run for the presidency right after his election to the vice presidency in 2010, is the front-runner in early presidential opinion polls.

Testifying in the Senate inquiry last week, Mercado said he delivered cash in large bags to Binay, his wife and children and that money, amounting to millions of pesos, was kickback from the city government’s infrastructure projects.

Mercado alleged that Binay got 13 percent of the cost of every project and that some of the money went to Binay’s vice presidential campaign in 2010.

Mario Hechanova, former chief of the city government’s general services division, testified that he rigged biddings for project contracts on instructions from Binay, who wanted the projects to go to favored contractors.

Binay blamed the mess on politics, but Pimentel said on Sunday that anything the Vice President said through the press would carry less weight in the subcommittee’s evaluation than statements made under oath.

Mayor et al. subpoenaed

On Monday, Pimentel said he had asked that subpoenas be issued for Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Ebeng Baloloy and Gerry Limlingan, all of whom Mercado claimed received the bags containing kickbacks for Binay.

The three have been directed to appear in the Sept. 25 hearing.

Pimentel said that if Binay would come to the hearing, he would ask the witnesses and the resource persons to give way so that the entire session could be devoted to the Vice President’s testimony.

Sen. Nancy Binay said Monday that her father remained supportive of President Aquino despite the controversy.

“I mean he’s still part of the Cabinet, right? So he’s still part of the official family of the President,” Senator Binay told reporters.

She said her father was among the officials who saw the President off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Saturday.

Almost all that the Vice President does is done in support of the President, Senator Binay said.

The senator also said there was a need to review the rules for accepting people into the government’s Witness Protection Program, for which the people’s money is spent.

The witnesses against the Vice President have been accepted into the program.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay speaks: Evidence of corruption ‘hearsay’ By Matikas Santos |INQUIRER.net6:00 pm | Thursday, September 18th, 2014


SCREENGRAB FROM INQUIRER VIDEO

MANILA, Philippines—Before a room full of supporters at the Philippine International Convention Center, Vice President Jejomar Binay said that the allegations of corruption against him were “hearsay”, would not stand in a court of law and were merely part of a “circus” hearing in the Senate.

Binay said that the witnesses who testified against the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II have no evidence against him other than their testimonies before the investigations of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

He said that the allegations of rigged biddings, that he earned kickbacks were only hearesay and have no documentary evidence.

“The alleged commission delivered in bags are just hearsay evidence from Vice Mayor Ernest Mercado. There is no evidence,” Binay said in Filipino during his address Thursday.

“None of their testimonies will stand in a court of law. They are only saying these things in circus hearings in the Senate,” he said.

Binay added that throughout the five years the Makati City Hall Building II was being constructed, Commission on Audit had conducted up 10 technical audits by engineers, architects, surveyors, and accountants and found no anomaly.
He also said that he received none of the alleged kickbacks claimed by Mercado.

“The contractor of the building has directly said that I have not asked nor was given any bribe,” Binay said.

“If there were any commission that Mercado says he received, it clearly was just for him,” he said.

Binay slammed Senator Alan Cayetano who headed the hearings for immediately jumping to conclusions that the building was overpriced even after just one inspection.

“In accordance with law, only the government procurement act and the guidelines of COA can be used in the construction of government buildings. Not a construction handbook that a senator loves to wave around,” Binay said, referring to Cayetano.

Accurate comparison

* Binay said that if an accurate estimate of the price of the Makati City Hall Building II could be obtained, it should be compared with the price of other government buildings such as the Iloilo Convention Center, the House of Representatives Annex Building, the Calamba City Hall Complex, and Sandiganbayan Building.

“The price of the Makati City Hall Building II is P69,549 per square meter. This is cheaper than the P74,751 per square meter of the Batasan Pambansa Annex Building,” Binay said.

“More comparable is the P68,140 per square meter of the two-story Iloilo Convention Center which is still in the first phase,” he said.

Binay questioned why his project was being singled out in the Senate when it was comparable in price to other government projects done by allies of the administration.

“They are prosecuting me because those with political ambitions don’t want me to continue the projects I started in Makati to the entire country,” Binay said.

“They don’t want me to help the poor because they are children of wealthy and elite families who look down on others,” he said.

Originally posted at 02:34 pm | September 18, 2014

Binay reschedules address to nation Thursday 
By Christine O. Avendaño, Kristine Felisse Mangunay |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:44 am | Thursday, September 18th, 2014


Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO


MANILA, Philippines–Stop politicking and face the Senate.

That’s the demand that protesters from Makati City raised as they staged a rally on Wednesday near the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel in Pasay City, where Vice President Jejomar Binay was attending a mining conference.

Binay will speak Thursday on the controversy in an address to the nation from the Philippine International Convention Center at 2 p.m.

He had originally planned to deliver the speech on Monday, but he canceled it to visit typhoon victims in Cagayan and Isabela provinces.

Binay declined to give a preview of his speech, urging reporters instead to just listen to what he would say.

Asked about the protesters’ demand, Binay said: “That’s their right to rally.”

“We are challenging the [Vice President] to face the blue ribbon committee,” said Jhasper Cuayzon, spokesman for the youth arm of United Makati against Corruption (Umac), which held the rally to pressure Binay to appear at the Senate inquiry into allegations of corruption involving municipal infrastructure projects during his three terms as the city’s mayor.

Rather than answering the allegations in press conferences held in different places, Binay should speak at the Senate, the “proper venue” for him to defend himself, Cuayzon said.

“It’s his chance to air his side,” Cuayzon said, adding that Binay should answer the accusations against him “point by point” and should “not deviate, as he did before.”

“[Binay] should not merely dismiss the allegations against him as political,” he said.

‘That’s for me to decide’

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the alleged overpricing of the 11-story, P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II and rigging of biddings for infrastructure project contracts has sent Binay an invitation to appear at a hearing called by the panel for Sept. 25.

Binay has not said whether he will accept the invitation, and when asked by reporters on the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday whether he would appear at the hearing, he replied: “That’s for me to decide.”

He said the protesters’ demand that he appear in the Senate inquiry was their “opinion.”

Cuayzon said the protesters were members of Umac, Youth for Change, whose members were from the University of Makati, and Urban Poor Alliance against Demolition in Makati.

* Wearing masks imprinted with Binay’s picture, the protesters, numbering 150, according to Cuayzon, marched at 9 a.m. toward Sofitel, but were blocked by riot police near the Coconut Palace, which is now the Vice President’s official residence.

The protesters did not insist on marching to the hotel and instead held their rally at the Coconut Palace, where the Vice President also holds office.

‘Strong basis’

Cuayzon said the testimony of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in the Senate inquiry that Binay took 13 percent of the cost of all infrastructure projects in the city as kickback had a “strong basis.” Binay was then the Makati mayor.

He said “only several individuals” benefited from the construction of Makati City Hall Building II.

“If you compute the money that was [allegedly] stolen by the three senators [Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada in the pork barrel scam], the money that was stolen from the [Makati City Hall Building II project] was bigger,” Cuayzon said.

He did not say, however, how much was stolen from the Makati project.

Enrile is accused of pocketing P172 million; Revilla, P242 million; and Estrada, P183 million of their pork barrel allocations in connivance with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

‘Early campaigning’

Cuayzon said the Makati City Hall Building II was “unnecessary.”

He said the money spent to build the parking building could have been used to build houses for 3,000 to 5,000 homeless families in Makati.

Cuayzon also criticized Binay, who has declared he will run for President in 2016, for “early campaigning.”

He said the protesters did not see anything wrong with Binay’s going to Cagayan and Isabela to visit typhoon victims on Monday.

But the Vice President should have stuck to “really helping” the typhoon victims, he said.

“What he did [there] appeared to be campaigning,” he said, adding that there were reports that Binay gave away T-shirts emblazoned with his name.

Cuayzon described the T-shirts as white with the name “Binay” printed in blue.

“[Binay] should stop campaigning and answer the allegations against him,” Cuayzon said.

The protesters ended the rally and went home before noon.

Still friends with Aquino

In his talk with reporters, Binay insisted that he remains friends with President Aquino and that the two of them exclude politics from their relationship.

“There is a time for politics and there is a time for true friendship,” Binay said.

Asked whether he would stay in the Cabinet until the end of Aquino’s term, Binay replied that he serves at the pleasure of the President.

When asked about Aquino’s ambivalence about running for a second term through constitutional amendment, Binay at first declined to reply.

But later he said that he opposed amendments to the Constitution, except changes to its economic provisions.

No talk about MVP

Binay drew a buzz when he mentioned telecommunications tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan in his keynote address at the miners’ conference.

He said in a recent interview with the Inquirer that he was wooing Pangilinan to be his vice-presidential running mate in 2016.

But he dodged questions Wednesday about his chasing after the tycoon.

“I hope that my mentioning MVP or Mr. Pangilinan will not further fuel speculations about my asking him to be my Vice President in 2016,” Binay told reporters.

“And the way you laugh, many of you are gossips,” he added.

Pangilinan has told the Inquirer that he has no plans of running for any public office.

Binay to defend self ‘presidential’ style; VP to rebut charges of Makati ex-officials By Christine O. Avendaño |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:47 am | Monday, September 15th, 2014


Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Vice President Jejomar Binay will try to save his presidential ambition Monday afternoon with a 15-minute address to the nation that his aides say will be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.”

Binay will defend himself and his family against allegations of corruption thrown at them by former officials of Makati City, where he served as mayor for three terms before being elected to the second highest office in the land in 2010.

Binay’s camp has invited the press to cover the Vice President’s speech, which will be delivered at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) at 2 p.m.

But anything he says will carry no more weight than statements under oath, according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the charges against Binay.

The most serious of the charges against Binay are the alleged overpricing of the 11-story Makati City Hall Building II and taking 13 percent of the price of all development projects in the city as grease for mayor’s permits.

Binay and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, are also facing a plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the same charges hurled at them by their former political allies in Makati.

The Vice President has been invited to appear at the Senate inquiry to answer the charges but he has not said whether he will accept the invitation.

But he has been issuing statements to the press through his aides accusing his detractors of maligning him to eliminate him from the race for Malacañang in 2016.

Binay’s speech on Monday afternoon represents his first effort to deal with the allegations, which could indeed thwart his presidential plans.

Offense and defense

The Vice President will be both on the offense and on the defense in his speech that, according to his spokesman, Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, Binay himself mostly wrote.

In an interview on Sunday, Remulla said Binay’s speech would be “emotional, heartfelt and presidential in tone.”

“The Vice President will give a general overview of what’s happening. These lies, the allegations against him, and about governance and what he stands for,” Remulla said.

Binay will give a very “touching narrative and why governance matters,” he added.

“These are important times, and it’s high time the Vice President responds to all the allegations against him,” Remulla said.

He said Binay wanted to deal with the latest allegations aired at the Senate inquiry—that he accepted millions of pesos in grease money, delivered to him, his son and his wife in large duffel bags by his former vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado.

Asked whether Binay will no longer appear at the Senate inquiry, Remulla said the Vice President had yet to decide whether to accept the senators’ invitation.

* Speaking on dzBB radio, Pimentel said he would take cognizance of the public statements of Binay and his spokespersons if the Vice President chose not to come to the inquiry.

Binay has been invited, not subpoenaed, he stressed, to the continuation of the inquiry on Sept. 25.

‘Legislative notice’

The Vice President will not be compelled to come to the Senate hearing if he decides not to accept the invitation, Pimentel said.

“I can’t say we can totally shut out information coming from press releases and press conferences because we read about them as well,” Pimentel said.

“In effect, we admit we are taking notice—in court it’s called judicial notice so let’s call this legislative notice—that there are pronouncements from the camp of Vice President Binay,” he said.

Pimentel said he would ask his staff to compile news reports carrying statements from Binay and his spokespersons so that these could be taken into account by the subcommittee in the preparation of its investigative report.

He said, however, that statements to the press would get less weight than statements made to the inquiry under oath.
“When the statement under oath clashes with a press statement, I think it’s not wrong to give more weight to the statement under oath because the one speaking is willing and ready to be charged with perjury,” Pimentel said.

Serious charges

Sen. Serge Osmeña III said the charges against Binay were serious, as these were leveled against him by his former officials, and he should respond to these properly instead of just claiming political persecution.

The allegations could damage Binay’s ratings, Osmeña said.

‘Not just Makati’

Thinking that Binay would speak at the flag-raising ceremony at Makati City Hall on Monday morning, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said the Vice President should address the entire nation and not just his loyal employees in the city.

“Do not act as if you were Vice President only to Makati. You are VP to the entire country, in all the 7,107 islands that constitute it. The entire Philippines requires your explanation, clarification and denial of the serious allegations against you during your term as mayor of Makati. Although it seems appropriate that you explain to the very same constituents you are accused of stealing from, as Vice President you owe it to every one of us,” Erice said in a statement.

Ready to face charges

Remulla said Binay was ready to face the charges against him and he would deal with them in his speech Monday.

The Vice President’s family, including the Makati mayor and Sen. Nancy Binay, will be at the PICC for his speech.
Remulla said the Vice President would not take questions from reporters.

He said he and Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco would answer questions from journalists.–With reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Gil C. Cabacungan

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Leila starts Binay’s frame-up; Mercado et al. now under WPP
Written by Gerry Baldo Saturday, 13 September 2014 00:00

AS NOY BRANDS VP, OPPOSITION FOES OF HIS REFORMS



The frame-up and full demolition job on Vice President Jojo Binay is now in full operation, with Pesident Aquino yesterday calling his allies in a Friday speech as his “partners in reforms” and blasting away at those whom he considers his crtics and foes as anti-reforms politicans and enemies of reforms.

The lines were clearly drawn by him, through his Friday speech with all his allies invited and in full attendance.

As if on cue, Justice Chief Leila de Lima announced that her Department of Justice (DoJ) has placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) the witnesses in the Senate investigation into the alleged “overpriced” Makati City Hall Building II.

While all of Aquino’s aides and allies were invited and in attendance, VP Binay was not invited and markedly was not in attendance as Aquino virtually bashed him and named him and his fellow opposition leaders as anti-reforms and against him and his principles.

While he mentioned no names it was evident to whom he was referring.

Aquino did not only lash out at the administration’s critics, but also at the opposition’s strongest bet for the 2016 polls.

The President branded those who were not in attendance during the agenda-setting meeting at Malacanang “against the principles” of the administration, adding that they are not with him in pushing for developments and reforms.

His speech is a classic “somos o no somos” divisive spiel.

“We are united here by our goal for the country. There’s no tactical alliance here. Never did we believe that right governance is mere politics of addition, that even if one opposes your views, if he’s able to push your ambition, you’d side with him,” the President said.

Aquino noted that those who are not allies of the administration think of the 2016 elections, saying the time will come to choose a candidate who will continue his reforms.

“Of course, those against us will push their own candidate. On their part, especially those who are not with us today because they are against our principles, wouldn’t it be natural to oppose all that we do,” Aquino said.

He added that those who will continue his reforms should assure the public that the goal would not be anchored on personal and political ambitions, but on concrete actions to give answer to the plight of the Filipinos.

“Besides this, I am asking from you to remind the public of the good caused by our principles. We are on the right track and the benefits brought by our mindset is clear to our countrymen,” he said.

Binay, who has been in hot water since the Senate inquiry on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II kicked off, has been open in running for the presidential post for 2016, being the strongest contender of the opposition for the Chief Executive seat.

The Vice President is set to answer all allegations hurled against him on Monday, following his alleged involvement on the reportedly overpriced building and other city projects that were initiated during his stint as Makati mayor.

Aquino also blasted away at his critics for hindering development and reforms that were initiated by his governance, throwing tantrums on the views against his administration.

“The problem is that they continue criticizing while we plant the seeds of development, but I’m sure, when the time comes that the fruits are (ready) for harvest, they’d be the first ones in the line,” Aquino said, adding that even if critics say they are with him in ensuring the welfare of Filipinos, he said they are nowhere to be found when problems arise.

“If you are with us, why did you choose to opposethat which we are fighting for instead of joining us in manifesting positive transformation in society,” Aquino, he stressed.

* The President said no form of treachery will fool the people on who truly fights for their welfare, because it is clear that the public knows his administration is on the right track.

“To those of us here, I will remind you all: We have never reached a point of being a Juan Tamad that only watched the fruit and waited for it to fall to his mouth,” he said.

Aquino also lashed out at the media, expressing his disappointment amid reports that banner negative stories while positive ones remain buried and unread. He scored what he called the “unbalance” in media reports asking the press to balance its reporting, particularly on crime incidents.

“Because the solutions are not given notice, we cannot avoid that some of our countrymen will think there’s chaos in the Philippines. It also adds to the worry when some purposely spread news that has no basis,” the President said.

He reminded his allies that they should boast about their achievements before the right path get drowned in the noise. He said the will to change should be intensified everyday.

“We have to point out to our countrymen that this path, agenda to reform and honest and good governance is the only way to continue our path toward fulfillment of our dreams,” he said.

De Lima confirmed yesterday that particularly placed under the WPP “Full Coverage” are former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, Atty. Renato Bondal and Nicolas “Ching” Enciso.

Her placing Mercado, Bondal and Enciso follows the same pattern of her placing pork scam whistleblowers Benhur Luy and his group under the WPP, after which they had been coached on what to state in their affidavit—together with a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing along with the DoJ chief havng ensured a full court press demolition job and a trial and conviction by publicity on the three opposition senators, namely Senate minority leader, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon ‘Bong” Revilla.

The three are currently detaiend and charged with plunder.

Mercado earlier testified before the Senate that then Makati City Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay had received 13 percent “kickbacks” for each deal that ran to millions of pesos.

The three witnesses were guarded by WPP security personnel when they testified before the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on Thursday.

The coverage of the WPP for the three witnesses was prompted by the recommendation of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee after they testified about the alleged “overpriced” construction of the Makati City Hall Building II amounting to P2.3 billion.

The Binay camp vehemently denied the allegation of “overpricing,” stressing that the “attacks” against the Binay family were “politically motivated.”

The controversy in the Makati City parking building could just be the tip of the iceberg, a partylist lawmaker allied with the ruling coalition said yesterday.

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said the Vice President should face the Filipino people and “give us an honest, upfront answer to all corruption allegations” at the next Senatehearing.

“It would be difficult for VP Binay to extricate himself from this. Every day, something new has been revealed to the Filipino people. The only way for Binay to maintain his credibility is to provide honest answers to all these questions. He and his camp can no longer just cry he is being persecuted because he is the frontrunner in the presidential race. The charges are too grave,” Bello said.

At the Senate hearing on the issue, Mercado charged that then Mayor Binay received 13- percent kickbacks on Makati infrastructure projects through locked duffle bags containing bundles of cash ranging anywhere between P1.5M to P10M.

“As the level of corruption was given greater detail, the less credible the Binay camp’s responses became. At first they claimed the costs for the parking building were fitting for a so-called world class and green building. Then at some point, Mayor Junjun Binay conceded that there may have been corruption in the entire process. Then, as in a telenovela on prime time TV, the Binay dynasty started crying persecution and defending the family name,” Bello observed.

Bello also said that the parking building scandal brought up previous Makati government scandals where the city’s former mayor was implicated. This might thus be the “tip of the iceberg” in a string of corruption scandals involving VP Binay.

“The public should probably be ready for worst. The overpriced parking building may just be tip of the iceberg. After all, there are just too many serious charges of corruption during the years the vice president served as Makati’s chief executive, and we must not forget that,” Bello said.

“The Senate blue ribbon committee should probably expand its investigation into these areas.”

Bello mentioned the results of the Commission on Audit (CoA) audit reports from 1999 on that indicated a major problem in Makati’s financial records, including a P57.96 million discrepancy between the city’s cash in bank and the balance recorded by the city’s accountant; the P627.8 M disallowed purchases, or expenditures already made or approved but later on deemed by the CoA to be unallowable; and other indications of deliberate mismanagement of funds including the approval of cash advances for people no longer employed by the city government, the sloppy procurement procedure, and fund losses because of bad accounting and monitoring.

Bello also mentioned a CoA special task force investigation in 2000 and 2001 that revealed the purchase of overpriced medical equipment and facilities for the Ospital ng Makati, a loss amounting to nearly P62M. It was also reported that in 2003, Makati also set aside P88M for the purchase of medical equipment for Ospital ng Makati 2, at a time that construction had only began. Further reports show that from 2000 to 2003, other questionable expenditures made by the Makati city government ranged from overpriced basic office necessities such as Monggol pencils, brooms, and diskettes, to exorbitant allowances for gasoline, oil and lubricants worth P4M and P200,000 for the office of the Mayor and Vice Mayor, respectively.

“There is a trail of unexplained, unreasonable use of public funds all over Makati. All of this is public record—someone profited from them. The question is who did. If it was not the city’s top leader who benefited, then it speaks of very poor financial management on his part at the very least,” Bello observed.

Bello reiterated that Binay does not have any other option out of this fiasco but to come clean on the parking building and other scandals.

“At this point, it is very difficult for the the vice president to deny that massive corruption was involved in the parking building scandal. If it was not him and his family, then he must identify who benefited from the kickbacks and tongpats.

Assuming that the VP did not take kickbacks, it would not speak well of him that he tolerated or was blind to the fact that his subordinates were stealing public funds. Why would the people elect to the presidency a man who allowed his underlings to loot the treasury?” Bello said, conveniently forgetting that his president, Aquino, was elected to the presidency who now allows his underlings to loot the treasury.

“Unfortunately for the vice president, It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Bello said. With Joshua L. Labonera

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

BINAY AMONG THE ‘THIEVES’ By Amado P. Macasaet | September 18, 2014


Amado P. Macasaet

I regret having made the mistake of saying Ernesto Mercado, former vice mayor of Makati City, is similarly charged with then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in the alleged overprice of the construction of the city’s parking building.

The mistake came from assuming “the mayor proposes, the council disposes.” Binay proposed the construction. The plan would not have been implemented if the council presided by Vice Mayor Mercado, did not give its consent.

A situation where the vice mayor who co-authored the proposal and admitted having benefited from the overprice would be allowed to make himself a hero instead of being included as one of the principal respondents in what appears to be a case of corruption, is the worst indication of how dirty politics has taken over the minds of supposedly decent men like members of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

The investigation of Vice President Binay is no longer a question of whether he is guilty or not of the charges filed against him with the Office of the Ombudsman.

It is a question of how the Senate Blue Ribbon committee selects its victims for vilification. It is not like the crucifixion of Christ between two thieves in the sense that justice was applied on the thieves.

We are not making a comparison between Binay and Christ. Binay is mortal. Christ is the Son of God. I do not have to say that.

The truth we are trying to point out is the Makati building could not have been constructed on the orders of Binay. He had accomplices like Mercado and the members of the city council who approved the project.

In the law of man, accomplices or co-conspirators are punished with the principal.

In this case, Mercado is also a principal. He and the members of the council who lent themselves to the “fraud” should be objects of the investigation by the Ombudsman. They are as innocent or as guilty as Binay.

Incredibly, Mercado’s testimony is accepted by the Senate committee as gospel truth. If the Bible must be quoted Mercado should be asked: “Let him without sin cast the first stone.”

In violation of the Bible, Mercado is a sinner but he cast the first stone. Playing god, the members of the Blue Ribbon Committee look at Mercado as without sin although he admitted being a sinner himself but explains Binay is the bigger sinner.

The Blue Ribbon Committee and the justice system should never be allowed to select who to run through the coals or be served a “punishment” among a big group of “thieves” that includes Mercado.

Selective justice is abhorred in a democratic society. The Senate committee practices it. Its members are proud doing it in the name of truth and justice or so they say.

* There might have been conspiracy in the alleged overprice of the parking building. Binay, Mercado and the members of the council acted as one in the unproven overpricing.

I thought the crime of one is the crime of the rest in conspiracy. How does it happen that in this case of “conspiracy” only one participant, Binay is held liable and is now run through the coals to the exclusion of his co-conspirators?

The naked purpose of the investigation of Binay is to stop him from winning the presidential race in 2016, not to seek the truth.

The Senate committee lends itself to the politics of whoever it wants to see winning the national polls.

The Senate violates the doctrine that a suspect is presumed innocent until his guilt is proved in a fair trial. Binay is not even under trial. He is under investigation by the Ombudsman.

Again, why is he being singled out by the person who filed the complaint? Mercado made himself a hero courtesy of the Senate. He is also a suspect.

If the Ombudsman finds probable cause in filing information with the Sandigan and Binay is found guilty on the testimony of his co-conspirators headed by Mercado are set free, we may allow “criminals”, his co-conspirators roaming the streets

Of course, the Blue Ribbon committee is not a court that can render judgment in the case of Binay. The worst it can do is recommend Binay’s prosecution again to the exclusion of a conspirator like Mercado and the members of the city council of Makati.

There are two investigations of the same “crime” of the same suspect simultaneously going on: in the Office of the Ombudsman and in the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Senate.

The Senate committee is investigating in aid of legislation as the legitimate justification. In truth the inquiry reeks of politics. How many new laws have the Senate passed as a result of its inquiries? I do not know of any.

The testimony of Mercado in the committee hearings and those who claim Binay is guilty is not necessarily admissible evidence to the Office of the Ombudsman. The inquiry does not strengthen the evidence against Binay..

Neither can we know at this time whether or not the voters will withdraw their support for Binay in the next national elections.

Let them who want to make Binay look like a criminal celebrate their malice. The people will render a final judgment in 2016.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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