HEADLINE NEWS FROM OCT 9 - 11...

DOJ TO JOIN PROBE ON BINAYS' WEALTH  

OCT 9 --Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said that she is getting curious about the details revealed by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in the Senate about the alleged illegal wealth of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family. De Lima said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is likely to join the Office of the Ombudsman in the conduct of inquiry into the assets of the vice president as well as the separate case involving the allegedly overpriced the Makati City Building II. “Ordinarily, it’s a separate [investigation] but there’s a point where it can be consolidated,” De Lima said after the Senate hearing on the DOJ’s proposed P1.1 billion budget for 2015. “The more we are interested to look into this. All of it, including the mansion and on the aspects of overpricing,” De Lima added.

De Lima cited as a precedent the joint investigation conducted by the DOJ, and the Ombudsman regarding the plunder cases involving suspended Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. Interviewed after the hearing, De Lima shielded Mercado from criticisms on why he was allowed to board a chopper and take pictures of the alleged 350-hectare property of the vice president in Batangas, which were later presented during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing. "It's part of the arrangement with the WPP (Witness Protection Program)," she said, apparently referring to the gathering of evidence by witnesses. It was Mercado who provided the Senate with details on how money supposedly changed hands between the Binays and contractors in connection with the building projects in the city. Mercado claimed he was operating within the circles of the vice president, former mayor Elenita Binay and the couple's son, incumbent city Mayor Junjun Binay. * READ MORE...

ALSO: VP no longer owns Tagaytay property — lawyer 

OCT 11 --Vice President Jejomar Binay no longer owns the property in Tagaytay mentioned by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado during the Wednesday Senate subcommittee hearing, Martin Subido, Binay’s legal counsel yesterday said in a statement. “The Tagaytay property was sold in December 2012 to Constant Builders. The change in the title ownership is being processed by BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue),” Subido said. “The property is listed in his (VP’s) SALn (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth),” he added. The Vice President’s 2011 SALn included a residential lot in Alfonso, Cavite which he acquired through “Acknowledgment of Services and Deed of Cession.” “This again proves that Mercado is again fooling the public since what he is trying to show is that this propertybelongs to the Vice President, even when it has already been sold long ago.

“This is no differnt from Mercado’s way of fooling the people on the Rosario, Batangas property that is not owned by the VP — since the start,” lawyer JV Bautista, interim secretary of the United Nationalist Alliance, also pointed out.
Bautista was referring to Mercado’s allegation that Binay owned a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas.
The Vice President earlier had dismissed Mercado’s claim, saying he only leased a property in Rosario, Batangas for the JCB Farms. The said property is now owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. “That’s not new. First off, this was already brought up to the Ombudsman. The allegation started at 100, became 200 and now since the witness (Mercado) has lost money in the cockfight, the number of hectares is now at 350,” Binay said in an interview in Kidapawan City. “That’s the explanation. The VP does not own this. There are a few portions that have been leased for the piggery,” he added. Subido earlier said that Binay had declared the JCB Farms in his SALn and sold it in 2010 when he assumed office as Vice President. Sen. Miriam Santiago yesterday said Mercado can also go to jail and suffer the maximum of plunder for all the admissions he made, supposedly on being a co-conspirator in the alleged shenanigans of the city government while he was still in office. * READ MORE...

ALSO: If proven wrong, Trillanes willing to apologize to businessman tagged as Binay dummy 

OCT 9 --Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE. —Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he is willing to apologize if proven wrong that Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu was Vice President Jejomar Binay’s dummy in his alleged property in Batangas. Trillanes claimed during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that Binay had ties with Tiu, president of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park, which operates a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Batangas.

The Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park was said to be the lessor of a piggery farm owned by the Binay family though his camp said he already divested himself of interest in the farm after he won the vice presidency in 2010. “He’s a legitimate businessman and that makes him a perfect dummy for this Binay hacienda,” Trillanes said of Tiu in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Binay: Tiu real owner, what’s the problem? 

OCT 11 --PHOTO: HOME ON THE RANGE A mansion stands before a sculptured English garden that Dr. Elenita Binay ordered built based on the design of the Kew Garden in London, according to former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado. Vice President Jejomar Binay vehemently denies his family owns the mega-size resort property in Rosario, Batangas province. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO. –Saying his detractors were “hallucinating,” Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday denied he owned a 350-hectare property in Batangas province, claiming that he leased only 9 hectares of the estate now allegedly owned by Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu. Tiu confirmed on Wednesday that he owned the property, but senators looking into the ownership of the estate said Thursday that they believed he was only a dummy for the Vice President.

Speaking to reporters in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province, Binay said he pitied Tiu for being dragged into the smear campaign against him. “[Tiu] hasn’t even testified yet [but he] is now being destroyed. That’s the [way] of those senators,” Binay said. [Tiu] is the real owner [of the property]. What’s the problem with that? I think [the senators have] a bum steer [in their hands].” And that, he said, is why he’ll never appear in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II, which has been expanded to look into other alleged irregularities in Makati during his term as mayor. During the hearing on Wednesday, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado presented an aerial video footage and still photos of the property and its luxurious features and said the Binays owned the entire spread. Mercado said he frequented the property when it was just 5 hectares, running errands for the Binays like delivering feed for the pig farm there and the wages of the workers. Old issue ---“That’s funny,” Binay said on Thursday. “That’s an old issue. He’s only dreaming,” he added, referring to Mercado. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Mercado’s ‘bombshell’ a dud - Cavite Gov Remulla 

OCT 9 --PHOTO: MERCADO. From the Makati Building ll, to the Makati hospital, and on to the alleged “Binay Hacienda In Batangas,” and probably more additions to the Blue Ribbon susbcommittee investigation without end, which is seen as being hardly in aid of legislation.
But the allegations are turning out to be duds, especially as these charges aired by the political foes of the Vice President at the Senate hearing have already been expected, and worse for the VP’s detractors, said leased flower garden and piggery have been listed in the VP’s SALn.

Detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay, particularly former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado continued spinning allegations against the Vice President and his family during the hearing, claiming that the Binay family owns a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Barangay Maligaya, Rosario town, Batangas province, where the Binays maintain a piggery, a flower orchard and a cock farm. Mercado claimed that the corporation is a mere dummy firm of VP Binay. He further alleged that the farm has “an air-conditioned piggery and a flower farm that grows orchids of the imported variety,” as well as a “maze garden” patterned after the Kew Gardens in London, one of the city’s top attractions. The VP’s spokesman for political concerns, Gov. Jonvic Remulla said Mercado’s allegation on the supposed property of the Vice President is a dud.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Will Binay forge coalition with Nacionalista alliance in 2016? Anything is possible, says Remulla 

OCT 9 --Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV converse during one of the hearings on the Makati City Hall II parking building. Both senators belong to the Nacionalista Party. SENATE PRIB/Cesar Tomambo. MANILA, Philippines - Will Vice President Jejomar Binay team up with the political party of Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Cayetano, his staunchest foes at the Senate? In an interview with ANC's Headstart on Thursday, Binay's spokesman on political affairs raised the possibility of the Vice President forging an alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) for the 2016 elections.

"There might be a coalition between Nacionalistas and the new party. We don't know that yet," Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, an NP member himself, told program host Karen Davila when asked if he will join Binay's new party. "Anything is possible in the sphere of politics," he added. Remulla said he has not yet talked to his partymates, Trillanes and Cayetano. He believes that the NP remains intact. "We haven't gone face to face since I started this [job as spokesman for Binay]," he said. Cayetano and Trillanes are leading the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee inquiry into the allegedly overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall II parking building. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay denies owning Batangas hacienda, says accusers ‘just hallucinating’  

OCT 9--Vice President Jejomar Binay categorically denied on Thursday owning a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Batangas province, saying his detractors are “just hallucinating.” “Nakakatawa po iyon. Matagal nang isyu iyon. Dumami na nga nang dumami. Dati nga 150, tapos naging 200 ngayon naging 300 na,” Binay said in an interview. (That is laughable. That issue has dragged on. The estate (which I supposedly own) used to be 150 (hectares), then 200 (hectares), and now it’s 300 (hectares). “Pinaliwanag na po namin iyan. Hindi po ako ang may ari niyan. Nananaginip na lang iyan,” he said. (We already explained that. I do not own that property. They are “just hallucinating.”) An erstwhile ally, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado alleged that the Vice President owned the property, which he estimated to cost around P1.2 billion. Mercado said Binay used dummies to hide his wealth.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee being headed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III then reiterated the committee’s invitation to the Vice President to attend its investigation into the allegedly overpriced parking building in Makati City. Asked by a reporter if he would accept the invitation, Binay said: “Ikaw kaya dadalo ka ba doon? Dadalo ka ba sa naninirang puring mga testigo? Dadalo ka ba sa bagay na hindi na dapat kasama pag-usapan? Dadalo ka ba doon kung nasagot na ‘yung dapat pag-usapan? Pang-apat, dadalo ka pa ba doon kung alam mo na kung saan tutungo ang kanilang gagawin? I won’t give dignity to them.” (If it were you, would you appear in that investigation? Would you answer to witnesses who are out to destroy your reputation? Would you respond to something which we should no longer talk about? Would you still respond to something which has already been explained? Fourthly, would you still attend the investigation when you already know where they are heading?)
The Vice President lamented that the Senate was supposed to investigate the allegedly overpriced building only but it has expanded to other issues. “Kita ninyo pulitikang-pulitika, ito personalan na. Hindi naman po criminal case ito,” Binay said. (You see these political moves have already gotten personal. This is not a criminal case.) * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Nancy Binay: “How I wish we have a hacienda like that but it really isn’t ours,” 

OCT 9 --“How I wish we have a hacienda like that but it really isn’t ours,” Senator Nancy Binay said in Filipino on Thursday as she denied accusations that her family owns a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas. “Wala ho talagang katotohanan yung mga binabato sa aming alegasyon,” she told Radyo Inquirer 990AM. (There really is no truth to the allegations being thrown at us.) Senator Binay, the eldest daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, laughed off the claims of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that their family owned the estate that featured mansions, a pool, a Kew Garden-inspired yard and an air-conditioned piggery.

Mercado presented an aerial video of the so-called “Hacienda Binay” during the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on Wednesday. The Senator insisted that her father’s businesses and investments have been divested after he won as vice president in 2010. She said that while her mother still rents 9 hectares of the property for her flower business, the property is owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. “Hindi na ho sa amin ‘yun. Basta ‘yung 9 hectares ho kung saan nandun yung mga halaman ng aking Mommy ‘yun lang ho ‘yung property na inuupahan namin sa Sunchamp. Tapos ‘yung ibang property na sinasabi nila ay ‘yan ho ay pagmamay-ari ng Sunchamp,” she explained. (That’s not ours anymore. We are only renting 9 hectares from Sunchamp for the plants of my mother. The rest of the property is also owned by Sunchamp.) * READ MORE...

ALSO: Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Binay was a “mere lessee” of hacienda owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp 

OCT 8 --The camp of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay vehemently denied on Wednesday that the second highest elected official owns the so-called “high end hacienda” in Rosario, Batangas. In a statement, Binay’s spokesman Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Binay was a “mere lessee” of around nine hectares of the property owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., the operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park. Remulla denied that Binay owns the house, swimming pool and garden in the said 350-hectare property in Barangay, Maligaya in Rosario town.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s allegations about the supposed property of Binay in Batangas is a dud, Remulla said. He described Mercado’s claim as an “amateurish attempt” to clone the exposé done on the 4.7-hectare property of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima in Nueva Ecija. “The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima exposé.’ Any doubt that the Senate probe was after legislation on Makati City Hall Building 2 has been erased by today’s hearing,” he added. Binay’s office said that “based on records, the lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.” The Vice President’s legal counsel Martin Subido reiterated that Binay had leased, and not owned, a property in Rosario for JCB Farms. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

DOJ to join probe on Binays' wealth


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Philstar/AJ Bolando

MANILA, OCTOBER 13, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said that she is getting curious about the details revealed by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in the Senate about the alleged illegal wealth of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family.

De Lima said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is likely to join the Office of the Ombudsman in the conduct of inquiry into the assets of the vice president as well as the separate case involving the allegedly overpriced the Makati City Building II.

“Ordinarily, it’s a separate [investigation] but there’s a point where it can be consolidated,” De Lima said after the Senate hearing on the DOJ’s proposed P1.1 billion budget for 2015.

“The more we are interested to look into this. All of it, including the mansion and on the aspects of overpricing,” De Lima added.

De Lima cited as a precedent the joint investigation conducted by the DOJ, and the Ombudsman regarding the plunder cases involving suspended Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Interviewed after the hearing, De Lima shielded Mercado from criticisms on why he was allowed to board a chopper and take pictures of the alleged 350-hectare property of the vice president in Batangas, which were later presented during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing.

"It's part of the arrangement with the WPP (Witness Protection Program)," she said, apparently referring to the gathering of evidence by witnesses.

It was Mercado who provided the Senate with details on how money supposedly changed hands between the Binays and contractors in connection with the building projects in the city.

Mercado claimed he was operating within the circles of the vice president, former mayor Elenita Binay and the couple's son, incumbent city Mayor Junjun Binay.

* According to De Lima, the former vice mayor -- whom she finds a reliable whistleblower -- did not seek permission from her when to gather “evidence” against the vice president in connection with his alleged vast property in Rosario, Batangas.

De Lima explained that while Mercado is now under the WPP, he can be allowed from time to time to get out of the safe house to gather evidence and bolster his testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.

“It would be unreasonable not to allow [Mercado] lalo na if ang kanyang justification para masuportahan iyong testimony niya kasi ongoing pa rin before the Blue Ribbon,” De Lima said.

“Kung sabihin niya kailangan kong gawin ito dahil gusto kong ma suportahan or ma-corroborate or mas ma strengthen yung mga evidence, ma-suportoahan iyong mga ebidesnya, so pwede siguro payagan,” the secretary explained.

Mercado, however, has revealed to the media that he goes around with bodyguards and is not actually holding up in a government safe house, which allows him to move around freely.

NBI helping serve Senate subpoena

As this developed, De Lima said her office is coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to locate the personalities who are now the subject of subpoena by the Senate.

The Senate has tapped the NBI to find Binay’s alleged finance officer, Gerardo Limlingan, Erlinda Chong, Marguerite Lichnock, Kimsfer Chong, Kim Tung Chong, Irene Chong, Imee Chong, Irish Chong, who are incorporators of the Meriras Realty and Development Corp.

De Lima, meanwhile, warned Mercado and other witnesses under the WPP to follow the rules imposed by the unit to ensure their safety.

“At first we warn them to avoid unnecessary activities because of the danger. So its your choice, many witnesses follow the rules. There are also those who do not obey the rules, and there are some problematic ones,” De Lima said.

“There are also violations, which when we resolve, [results to the] termination of the coverage under the WPP. That’s very clear under the law and the IRR (implementing rules and regulations),” the secretary said.

De Lima said she would not want any of the witnesses to suffer the fate of Alfred Mendiola, who was killed in an ambush in Bulacan. Mendiola was under the WPP but he escaped his security detail and later tracked down by his assalants sometime in May 2012.

Mendiola was the principal witness in the carjack-slay of Venson Evangelista in January 2011.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

VP no longer owns Tagaytay property — lawyer Written by Admin Saturday, 11 October 2014 00:00


BINAY

Vice President Jejomar Binay no longer owns the property in Tagaytay mentioned by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado during the Wednesday Senate subcommittee hearing, Martin Subido, Binay’s legal counsel yesterday said in a statement.

“The Tagaytay property was sold in December 2012 to Constant Builders. The change in the title ownership is being processed by BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue),” Subido said.

“The property is listed in his (VP’s) SALn (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth),” he added.

The Vice President’s 2011 SALn included a residential lot in Alfonso, Cavite which he acquired through “Acknowledgment of Services and Deed of Cession.”

“This again proves that Mercado is again fooling the public since what he is trying to show is that this propertybelongs to the Vice President, even when it has already been sold long ago.

“This is no differnt from Mercado’s way of fooling the people on the Rosario, Batangas property that is not owned by the VP — since the start,” lawyer JV Bautista, interim secretary of the United Nationalist Alliance, also pointed out.

Bautista was referring to Mercado’s allegation that Binay owned a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas.

The Vice President earlier had dismissed Mercado’s claim, saying he only leased a property in Rosario, Batangas for the JCB Farms. The said property is now owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp.

“That’s not new. First off, this was already brought up to the Ombudsman. The allegation started at 100, became 200 and now since the witness (Mercado) has lost money in the cockfight, the number of hectares is now at 350,” Binay said in an interview in Kidapawan City.

“That’s the explanation. The VP does not own this. There are a few portions that have been leased for the piggery,” he added.

Subido earlier said that Binay had declared the JCB Farms in his SALn and sold it in 2010 when he assumed office as Vice President.

Sen. Miriam Santiago yesterday said Mercado can also go to jail and suffer the maximum of plunder for all the admissions he made, supposedly on being a co-conspirator in the alleged shenanigans of the city government while he was still in office.

* But she also said that Mercado is a credible witness since he testified against self interest.

“It’s entirely likely he will apply for status of a state witness and he seems to appear to meet all the criteria for a state witness. The case can’t proceed without him. He’s not the most guilty,” Santiago told reporters, when asked to comment on the issue of the ongoing Senate investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati City hall parking building, in an interview after attending a speaking engagement in Muntinlupa City.

But she also said that it’s still too early to make a finding on the credibility of Mercado as a witness.

“The entire case against (Vice President) Binay hinges on whether the testimony of Mercado is credible or not,” Santiago said.

Mercado has alleged before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee the alleged illegal transactions of Binay while he was still the mayor of Makati City with the most recent allegation being that the VP’s purported ownership of a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas.

“The one remarkable thing about his (Mercado’s) testimony is not only that he presents evidence, which is considered admissible in court, like his video photos and documents consisting of certain official papers signed when he was the vice mayor.

“The more remarkable thing about him is this, he has made an admission against interest. He has said ‘I know what I’m talking about because i was his partner in this illegal transactions.’ That is an admission against interest.

“So far, as I said, the presumption of innocence clearly means that the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. In other words, Mercado is a witness for the prosecution. But Mercado has already testified, the presumption of innocence has already been eclipsed by the testimony of Mercado, which I said is admissible because it is what the law calls admission against interest,” she said.

It is now incumbent upon the Vice Preisdent to present his counter-evidence and that would mean his appearance in the Senate to defend himself, the senator said.

“That is the normal reaction of an innocent person. He drives himself through the roof, he shouts to high heavens for justice, and then presents his evidence. He cannot just say, ‘they’re all lies, I deny all of them.’ That is not a defense, the presumption of innocence is not a defense. It’s a mere presumption created by law. The moment the probable witness begins to present hard evidence, the burden of evidence is now on the other party. That’s why the Vice President has the burden of appearing in the Senate and presenting his evidence,” she said.

Binay cannot rely on the argument that the case is already pending in court and therefore the Senate can no longer look into the same subject matter as there is existing jurisprudence where the Supreme Court upheld several times in the past, the jurisdiction of an investigating panel even when the issue at hand is pending before the courts, she claimed, even when the SC did rule against the Senate blue ribbon hearing in the Bengzon case against the Senate blue ribbon committee as there was an ongoing investigation in the Ombudsman’s office.

But she insists that there is no such ruling, saying that Senate law provides that any Senate committee can conduct any hearing regardless of any other events taking case like investigation by court or by the fiscal, all of these are not burden or an obstacle to the acquisition of jurisdiction by a Senate committee. And again let me repeat SC in a long line of cases has held that when the Senate or the House of Representative promulgates its own rules concerning the way it behaves or speaks on a certain matter. The SC as much as possible wil not interefere and that is the prevailing jurisprudence that should be applied here.

“The Senate has promulgated its own rule. The Senate has provided that whatever else investigation is taking place, whatever other event that may be created by some other government agency the Senate committee will always have jurisdiction. That is the rule of the Senate. You cannot question that rule before the SC and hope to win that pont because it has been settled so many times in the past,” she said.

“I predict with all risk that this entails, I’ll make an educated guess that the Supreme Court will uphold the jurisdiction of the Senate committee – both the committee itself and the subcommittee. Because in the long line of cases, the SC has held that consistently that as much as possible, the judicial branch will not interfere with the internal workings of another branch of goernment, particularly Congress. Plus, there is another element there. The question of jurisdiction is decided in a very strict way. For example, you can’t question jurisdiction if you already appeared before the judge,” she added.

It Binay is issued another invitation, he is perfectly free to decline, Santiago said.

“Of course he has to suffer the adverse consequences of his inaction. That’s up to him. You have the the media jumping out of their shoes to report this and that accusation by Mercado, and he just continues to maintain his innocence, without adding anything, without meeting the issue head-on. So the issues are not joined. There’s only one person: the accuser.

We don’t hear anything from the accused, except his protestations, ‘I’m innocent, these are all lies. These are all politically motivated.’ By the way political motivation is not a defense in law. Everything in politics is politically motivated.

The issue is, did you steal money from the government? There is proof that you did. Present us proof that you did not,” she said.

Santiago says she will also run for president in 2016.

FROM THE INQUIRER

If proven wrong, Trillanes willing to apologize to businessman tagged as Binay dummy By Maila Ager |INQUIRER.net10:13 am | Thursday, October 9th, 2014


Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippine—Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he is willing to apologize if proven wrong that Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu was Vice President Jejomar Binay’s dummy in his alleged property in Batangas.

Trillanes claimed during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that Binay had ties with Tiu, president of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park, which operates a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Batangas.

The Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park was said to be the lessor of a piggery farm owned by the Binay family though his camp said he already divested himself of interest in the farm after he won the vice presidency in 2010.

“He’s a legitimate businessman and that makes him a perfect dummy for this Binay hacienda,” Trillanes said of Tiu in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.

* Compared to the testimony of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, which he said was “much more credible,”Trillanes said Tiu might not be able to survive an intense grilling when he testifies in the sub-committee hearing.

Asked if he would be willing to apologize to Tiu if proven wrong, the senator said: “Yes, I will. But I’m definite about this. We’re standing on a very, very solid ground…”

“Mr. Tony Tiu is a legitimate businessman, I understand, and I concede to that but not for this Hacienda Binay that we’re talking about,” Trillanes stressed.

Binay: Tiu real owner, what’s the problem? By Christine O. Avendaño, Riza T. Olchondra |Philippine Daily Inquirer2:21 am | Friday, October 10th, 2014


HOME ON THE RANGE A mansion stands before a sculptured English garden that Dr. Elenita Binay ordered built based on the design of the Kew Garden in London, according to former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado. Vice President Jejomar Binay vehemently denies his family owns the mega-size resort property in Rosario, Batangas province. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Saying his detractors were “hallucinating,” Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday denied he owned a 350-hectare property in Batangas province, claiming that he leased only 9 hectares of the estate now allegedly owned by Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu.

Tiu confirmed on Wednesday that he owned the property, but senators looking into the ownership of the estate said Thursday that they believed he was only a dummy for the Vice President.

Speaking to reporters in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province, Binay said he pitied Tiu for being dragged into the smear campaign against him.

“[Tiu] hasn’t even testified yet [but he] is now being destroyed. That’s the [way] of those senators,” Binay said. [Tiu] is the real owner [of the property]. What’s the problem with that? I think [the senators have] a bum steer [in their hands].”

And that, he said, is why he’ll never appear in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II, which has been expanded to look into other alleged irregularities in Makati during his term as mayor.

During the hearing on Wednesday, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado presented an aerial video footage and still photos of the property and its luxurious features and said the Binays owned the entire spread.

Mercado said he frequented the property when it was just 5 hectares, running errands for the Binays like delivering feed for the pig farm there and the wages of the workers.

Old issue

“That’s funny,” Binay said on Thursday.

“That’s an old issue. He’s only dreaming,” he added, referring to Mercado.

* Binay said a case involving the Batangas property had been filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.
He said that after alleging he owned 100 hectares and then 200 hectares of the property, Mercado, “who apparently lost a cockfight bet,” was now saying he owned 350 hectares.

“We do not own [the property]. We just leased a portion of it for our piggery business,” he said, referring to JCB Farms, which he launched in 1994 and claimed he sold in 2010 when he was elected Vice President.

Binay said he had already explained the matter before. Mercado, he said, was just “hallucinating.”

Binay’s lawyers said on Wednesday the Vice President was not the owner of the property but just leased 9 hectares of it for his piggery and the flower farm of his wife, former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay.

Just politics

They said the Vice President sold his interest in the piggery in 2010 to Agrifortuna Inc., which is owned by businessman Laureano Gregorio. Binay, they said, netted P10 million from the sale.

Gregorio has since sold his rights to the property to Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., now owner and operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park. Tiu is president of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Binay said the Batangas property was not part of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry.

“The investigation is supposed to be on the allegedly overpriced building. Now you can see that this is just politics and that this has become personal. This is not a criminal case,” he said.

Asked whether he would go to the investigation, Binay replied: “Will you go there if you know where all this [is leading] to? I won’t give dignity to them … I won’t dignify their actions.”

Binay’s political spokesman, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, said the Batangas property’s real owner, Tiu, was a “legitimately wealthy person” and businessman and that if his accusers were proven wrong, they should apologize to him.

“[Tiu] has no place in the political circus [to which the Vice President is now being subjected],” Remulla said in an interview on television with Karen Davila.

In a text message from Spain on Wednesday, Tiu said he would appear in the Senate inquiry to clarify things about the Batangas property.

Later, in an e-mail, he said he was aware that he and his companies have been labeled dummies for Binay.

“I am deeply hurt and offended by these malicious accusations. I am my own man. I worked hard for what I own. My track record will speak for itself,” Tiu said. “Let me categorically put on record that I am a legitimate businessman since 1997.”

Tiu is chair of AgriNature Inc. (ANI), an agro-commercial enterprise, and Greenergy Holdings Inc., a holding firm for renewable energy businesses that has a majority stake in Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., the operator of the agri-tourism park on the Batangas property that the Senate investigators suspect is actually owned by Binay.

‘Unscrupulous politicians’

“Our leasehold rights over the farm is aboveboard and legitimate,” Tiu said.

“To further set the record straight, I never had any transactions or contracts with the Makati city government. To reiterate, I am the legitimate owner of my businesses. I will face these unscrupulous politicians to clear my name and protect my businesses,” he said.

Subido and Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said on Wednesday that Binay sold his interest in the piggery to Agrifortuna Inc. in 2010 when he was elected Vice President. Subido said only Elenita Binay’s flower farm remained and this was leased.

Subido said the owner of the property now was Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., owned by Tiu.

Contrary to Mercado’s claims, Subido said the farm was only 145 ha, not 350 ha, and 9 ha of this was leased by Binay starting 1994. Binay’s JCB Farms occupied 3 hectares.

Binay sold JCB Farms for P10 million to Agrifortuna, owned by Laureano Gregorio. The Binay couple were incorporators of Agrifortuna for a paid-up capital of P50,000, but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

Sunchamp acquired Gregorio’s rights to the property, and this had been disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Subido said.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

ALSO: Mercado’s ‘bombshell’ a dud Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00


MERCADO

From the Makati Building ll, to the Makati hospital, and on to the alleged “Binay Hacienda In Batangas,” and probably more additions to the Blue Ribbon susbcommittee investigation without end, which is seen as being hardly in aid of legislation.

But the allegations are turning out to be duds, especially as these charges aired by the political foes of the Vice President at the Senate hearing have already been expected, and worse for the VP’s detractors, said leased flower garden and piggery have been listed in the VP’s SALn.

Detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay, particularly former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado continued spinning allegations against the Vice President and his family during the hearing, claiming that the Binay family owns a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Barangay Maligaya, Rosario town, Batangas province, where the Binays maintain a piggery, a flower orchard and a cock farm.

Mercado claimed that the corporation is a mere dummy firm of VP Binay.

He further alleged that the farm has “an air-conditioned piggery and a flower farm that grows orchids of the imported variety,” as well as a “maze garden” patterned after the Kew Gardens in London, one of the city’s top attractions.

The VP’s spokesman for political concerns, Gov. Jonvic Remulla said Mercado’s allegation on the supposed property of the Vice President is a dud.

* Remulla described Mercado’s claim as an “amateurish attempt” to clone the exposé done on the 4.7-hectare property of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima in Nueva Ecija.

“It was no surprise that the detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay will attempt to link him to the property ever since we revealed the helicopter sighting a few days ago,” Remulla said.

“The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima expose.’ Any doubt that the Senate probe was after legislation on Makati City Hall Building 2 has been erased by (yesterday’s) hearing,” he added.

Mercado, encouraged by the foes of the Vice President in the Senate, has gone on the attack agains the Binays, admitted to having hired a helicopter and videographer to to spy on the farmland, which Mercado claims is owned by the Binays.

A private helicoter to bring persons to Batangas can cost anywhere from P50,000 to P100,000 for a very short trip.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday dared the former Makati Vice Mayor to undergo a lifestyle check as they questioned how he was able to hire a helicopter to take the aerial footage of a farm in Rosario, Batangas.

“What we would like to find out is how Mercado was able to hire a helicopter to hover around the piggery farm when there are reports that he is allegedly deep in debt due to his gambling habits,” JV Bautista, interim Secretary General of UNA, said.

“Did the money used to rent the helicopter come out of Mercado’s own pocket? If not, who is funding him?” he further asked.

Bautista said Mercado is considered a high-roller and is given five-star treatment in casinos he frequents in the country and abroad.

“He is known to lose millions in cockfights. He also owns a yacht, luxury homes and vehicles,” Bautista added.
Bautista dared Mercado and other accusers of Vice President Binay to undergo a lifestyle check.

“Given Mercado’s own admission of illegally benefiting from government projects, we are wondering why the senators conducting the inquiry on the alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall Building 2 have not made any move to make him accountable and instead have included him in the Witness Protection Program,” he said.

UNA slammed Mercado’s latest stunt as nothing but a “cheap political ploy.”

He reiterated that the Vice President did not own the property shown by Mercado.

“In 1994, the Vice President started a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas through a sole proprietorship under the name JCB Farms. JCB Farms is duly registered in the BIR–Rosario, Batangas office. JCB Farms is a mere lessee of a nine-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas,” Bautista said.

“After the 2010 elections, the Vice President divested all of his business interests and investments in JCB Farms,” he added.

The current owner of the farm also yesterday blasted the allegations of Mercado that he is merely a dummy of Binay, saying that the records can show that he is indeed the owner of the business and that being a legitimate businessman, he dummies for no one.

The OVP earlier disclosed that employees of a piggery and flower farm leasing a property in Rosario reported a helicopter flying around the property last Thursday.

The OVP said based on records, the lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Vice presidential legal counsel. Martin Subido reiterated that Binay had leased, not owned, a property in Rosario for JCB Farms.

Subido stressed that Binay never denied owning JCB Farms and has declared it in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALn), which his lawyers presented to media along with his Income Tax Returns (ITR).

“From 1994 to 2010, the Vice President operated a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas. This piggery business was a sole proprietorship duly reported in his SALns and in his ITRs,” Subido said.

“The Vice President did not own any land where his piggery business was operated. Rather, he was a lessee of around nine hectares of land, with the improvements he introduced for the piggery business duly reported as ‘Leasehold Improvements’,” he added.

Subido also explained that Binay sold in 2010 his piggery farm to Agrifortuna, Inc., a company owned by Laureano Gregorio. Agrifortuna is engaged in hog breeding and hog nursery also in the area where the Vice President operated his business.

Binay and his wife had been incorporators of Agrifortuna for a paid up capital of P50,000, but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

“In 1995, or almost 20 years ago, the Vice President and his wife sold their interest in Agrifortuna to Laureano Gregorio who likewise subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60 percent of the company. These are reflected in the filings of Agrifortuna with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” he said.

Gregorio made additional investments in Agrifortuna in 2008 that gave him 97percent ownership of Agrifortuna.

“The house, swimming pool and garden mentioned in reports are not owned by the Vice President. They were owned by Laureano Gregorio,” said.

Binay’s lawyer also said that Gregorio entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation in 2013 for the acquisition of all the rights of Gregorio over the 145 hectare property, not 350 hectares as claimed by Mercado.

“This was also duly disclosed to the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange) and the investing public in October 2013 and July 2014,” Subido said.

“At present, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. is the absolute owner of the improvements and facilities mentioned in today’s inquiry. In fact, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., has likewise introduced new improvements such as an asparagus farm, greenhouses for high value crops, hotel, all in line with its vision to create an agri-tourism park.”

“The aerial shot of the farm in (yesterday’s) banner headline of the Inquirer is the same aerial shot that was published by the Inquirer in its Sept. 28, 2014 issue when it featured the Sunchamp Farm,” he added.

Mercado claimed that the Binays patterned the maze garden to the London attraction after the Binay couple traveled to London in 2007 to attend the 100th Boy Scouts Jamboree, when they visited the Kew Gardens.

Mercado also described the farm as being six times the size of the 58-hectare Rizal Park in Manila and is 14 times bigger than the 25-hectare Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

Mercado admitted he was on board the helicopter which was seen surveying the Binay property last Thursday where he took photos and video footage of the farm.

Mercado claimed that the spokesman of Binay said the property was only nine hectares when the whole farm is actually 350 hectares, even as Mercado had no documents to prove his allegations.

Also present during the hearing was Julia Bacay Abad, AMLC Secretariat head, whom the Senate probers extracted the admission that the Anti-Money Laundering Council, a body under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), was monitoring the proceedings for “possible violations of the anti-money laundering laws.

Cayetano again went on with his usual tirades against the Binays saying “if it is true that the money of Makati residents was used in the purchase of JCB farm, I hope the day will come that this will be enjoyed by the people of Makati.”

The Senate probers was also able to extract from Commission on Audit (CoA) Commissioner Jose Fabia the admission that “there were indications of rigged biddings” in the contracts for the setting up of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

CoA auditor Alexander Juliano who is head of the audit on the Makati City building, however, was cautious about commenting on the progress of the audit or indications of a rigged bidding. Angie M. Rosales, Charlie V. Manalo, Joshua L. Labonera

FROM PHILSTAR

Will Binay forge coalition with Nacionalista alliance in 2016? By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 9, 2014 - 11:44am 13 633 googleplus0 0


Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV converse during one of the hearings on the Makati City Hall II parking building. Both senators belong to the Nacionalista Party. SENATE PRIB/Cesar Tomambo

MANILA, Philippines - Will Vice President Jejomar Binay team up with the political party of Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Cayetano, his staunchest foes at the Senate?

In an interview with ANC's Headstart on Thursday, Binay's spokesman on political affairs raised the possibility of the Vice President forging an alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) for the 2016 elections.

"There might be a coalition between Nacionalistas and the new party. We don't know that yet," Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, an NP member himself, told program host Karen Davila when asked if he will join Binay's new party.

"Anything is possible in the sphere of politics," he added.

Remulla said he has not yet talked to his partymates, Trillanes and Cayetano. He believes that the NP remains intact.

"We haven't gone face to face since I started this [job as spokesman for Binay]," he said.

Cayetano and Trillanes are leading the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee inquiry into the allegedly overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall II parking building.

* In the past Senate hearings, former Makati officials accused Binay of pocketing kickbacks from all government projects and manipulating public bidding.

Related: 'Hacienda Binay as big as half of San Juan City'

Binay had repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming that the Senate probe is politically motivated. He had also criticized Trillanes and Cayetano for supposedly trying to bring him down in time for the elections.

Like Binay, Cayetano had declared his intention to seek the presidency. Trillanes, on the other hand, had said that he wants to run for a higher position.

The Vice President remains to be the front-runner in the presidential surveys. However, his performance and trust ratings recently dropped amid the corruption allegations hurled against him.

Despite the declining ratings, the spokesman of Binay believes that he will be able to withstand the accusations made by his foes.

"He will survive and he will win," Remulla said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay denies owning Batangas hacienda, says accusers ‘just hallucinating’ By Maila Ager |INQUIRER.net3:09 pm | Thursday, October 9th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay categorically denied on Thursday owning a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Batangas province, saying his detractors are “just hallucinating.”

“Nakakatawa po iyon. Matagal nang isyu iyon. Dumami na nga nang dumami. Dati nga 150, tapos naging 200 ngayon naging 300 na,” Binay said in an interview.

(That is laughable. That issue has dragged on. The estate (which I supposedly own) used to be 150 (hectares), then 200 (hectares), and now it’s 300 (hectares).

“Pinaliwanag na po namin iyan. Hindi po ako ang may ari niyan. Nananaginip na lang iyan,” he said.

(We already explained that. I do not own that property. They are “just hallucinating.”)

An erstwhile ally, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado alleged that the Vice President owned the property, which he estimated to cost around P1.2 billion. Mercado said Binay used dummies to hide his wealth.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee being headed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III then reiterated the committee’s invitation to the Vice President to attend its investigation into the allegedly overpriced parking building in Makati City.

Asked by a reporter if he would accept the invitation, Binay said: “Ikaw kaya dadalo ka ba doon? Dadalo ka ba sa naninirang puring mga testigo? Dadalo ka ba sa bagay na hindi na dapat kasama pag-usapan? Dadalo ka ba doon kung nasagot na ‘yung dapat pag-usapan? Pang-apat, dadalo ka pa ba doon kung alam mo na kung saan tutungo ang kanilang gagawin? I won’t give dignity to them.” (If it were you, would you appear in that investigation? Would you answer to witnesses who are out to destroy your reputation? Would you respond to something which we should no longer talk about? Would you still respond to something which has already been explained? Fourthly, would you still attend the investigation when you already know where they are heading?)

The Vice President lamented that the Senate was supposed to investigate the allegedly overpriced building only but it has expanded to other issues. “Kita ninyo pulitikang-pulitika, ito personalan na. Hindi naman po criminal case ito,” Binay said.
(You see these political moves have already gotten personal. This is not a criminal case.)

* He admitted that the controversy has affected his ratings as shown in the latest Pulse Asia survey where he suffered a 15-percentage point drop both in his performance and trust ratings.

“Hindi naman ako magpapaka-ipokrito. ‘Yung doon sa isang Pulse Asia survey, ‘yung naninira sa akin na isang kandidato, contributory din iyon dahil siya hindi nasunod, kasi siya, 5 to 1. Nasa tail-end,” Binay said.

(I am not a hypocrite. One of the probable candidates only got a rating of 1 from his previous five in the latest Pulse Asia survey, and that could have contributed as to why he is out to get me.)

Senate Majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the proponents in the ongoing Senate blue ribbon subcommittee probe on plunder complaints against Binay, got a rating of 1 in the latest Pulse Asia presidential preference survey, along with detained Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.

Nancy Binay: Owning hacienda only a ‘wish’ By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM12:23 pm | Thursday, October 9th, 2014


INSET: Senator Nancy Binay. SCREENGRAB FROM INQUIRER
VIDEO

MANILA, Philippines – “How I wish we have a hacienda like that but it really isn’t ours,” Senator Nancy Binay said in Filipino on Thursday as she denied accusations that her family owns a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas.

“Wala ho talagang katotohanan yung mga binabato sa aming alegasyon,” she told Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
(There really is no truth to the allegations being thrown at us.)

Senator Binay, the eldest daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, laughed off the claims of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that their family owned the estate that featured mansions, a pool, a Kew Garden-inspired yard and an air-conditioned piggery.

Mercado presented an aerial video of the so-called “Hacienda Binay” during the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on Wednesday.

The Senator insisted that her father’s businesses and investments have been divested after he won as vice president in 2010.

She said that while her mother still rents 9 hectares of the property for her flower business, the property is owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp.

“Hindi na ho sa amin ‘yun. Basta ‘yung 9 hectares ho kung saan nandun yung mga halaman ng aking Mommy ‘yun lang ho ‘yung property na inuupahan namin sa Sunchamp. Tapos ‘yung ibang property na sinasabi nila ay ‘yan ho ay pagmamay-ari ng Sunchamp,” she explained. (That’s not ours anymore. We are only renting 9 hectares from Sunchamp for the plants of my mother. The rest of the property is also owned by Sunchamp.)

* Binay admitted that her father used to run a piggery business but that she doubted that the piggery farm on the property had an air-conditioner.

“Ang alam ko dati merong mga air-coolers. Kasi tuwing summer ‘yan ang pinakamahirap na parte sa pagaalaga ng mga baboy kasi nagkaka-heat stroke ‘yung mga baboy. Ang alam ko ho linalagyan ‘yan ng air-coolers po pero ang air-condition po parang wala akong alam na may air-condition na babuyan sa paligid,” she said.

(What I know is that there were air-coolers. Because summer is a difficult time for the business because the pigs become prone to heat stroke. What I know is that air-coolers are used but I’m not aware of any air-conditioned piggery in the area.)

Who funded Mercado’s helicopter expose?

The Senator said Mercado’s allegations were nothing new and were in fact part of his black propaganda during the 2010 elections when he ran against Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.

“Gabi-gabi pag may pameeting ‘yang si Mercado may video presentation ‘yan. Kung ano ang sinasabi n’ya sa senado ngayon ‘yun ang sinasabi n’ya sa pameeting noon,” Binay said. (Every night Mercado holds meetings with a video presentation. The things he said at the Senate now were also what he said during those meetings.)

Binay said it was obvious that the people of Makati believed their family instead of Mercado since it was her brother who won the mayoral seat.

She said Mercado probably wants to run in the 2016 elections, that’s why he is raising old issues.

“Ang balita namin gipit na ho sa panggastos ‘yang si Vice Mayor Mercado kaya nagugulat kami kung sa’n s’ya kumuha ng pera para pang-arkila ng helicopter,” Binay pointed out. (We heard that Vice Mayor Mercado is strapped for cash right now. That’s why we were surprised that he was able to afford renting a helicopter.)

She also asked why Mercado, who is under the Witness Protection Program, was allowed to ride a helicopter to shoot the controversial footage.

Legitimate businessman

Binay said she was also disappointed that Antonio Tiu, chief executive officer of Sunchamp, was being dragged into the controversy.

“Alam n’yo si Mr Tiu is a well-known businessman. Ang alam ko ho nageexport ‘yan ng gulay sa ibang bansa. Sa kanya po ‘yung Big Chill, Sugarhouse tapos ngayon ho walang pinanghahawakan na ebidensya sinasabi nila na dummy namin si Mr. Tiu,” she said. (Mr. Tiu is a well-known businessman. As far as I know, he exports vegetables. He also owns Big Chill and Sugarhouse. They don’t have any evidence showing that Mr. Tiu is a dummy of the Binay family.)

The Senator said she met Tiu only once, when they were introduced to each other during a chance meeting at a golf course.

Daughter’s plight


NANCY BINAY

Binay admitted that the accusations hurled against her mother, Dr. Elenita Binay, hurt her.

“’Yan po ‘yung talagang ikinakagalit ko. I think ‘yung Mommy ko has sacrificed a lot para lang ho ‘yung ating Vice President ay 100 percent na silbihan ang ating mga kababayan dito sa Makati,” she said. (That really angers me. I think my Mom has sacrificed a lot so the Vice President could serve the residents of Makati 100 percent at that time.)

“For the longest time s’ya ‘yung tumayong ina, ama naming magkakapatid at the same time may trabaho pa s’ya as first lady of Makati. Tapos maririnig n’yo ho na pilit sinisira ‘yung pangalan n’ya dito sa ginagawang hearing sa senado,” Binay lamented. (For the longest time she stood as the mother and father to me and my siblings. And at the same time she was the first lady of Makati. Then you will hear her reputation being destroyed during such hearings at the Senate.)

Still friends?

Asked how she would treat her fellow senators heading the probe, Binay said she could no longer pretend that they are in good terms.

“Noong una natitiis ko pa pong makipag-ngitian sa kanila pero tingin ko ho pagbalik namin sa October 20 eh parang hindi ko na ho kayang makipagplastikan dahil ang ginagawa nila sa pamilya ko ay sobra na at ‘yung ibang tao ho ay dinadamay nila sa kanilang political ambition,” she said. (In the past I was able to return their smiles but come October 20, when Senate resumes session, I don’t think I could still pretend that our relationship is okay, especially with what they did to my family. It is too much. They are even dragging other people just to further their political ambition.)

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Binay camp denies ownership of Batangas ‘hacienda’ by Jc Bello Ruiz October 8, 2014 Share this:

The camp of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay vehemently denied on Wednesday that the second highest elected official owns the so-called “high end hacienda” in Rosario, Batangas.

In a statement, Binay’s spokesman Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Binay was a “mere lessee” of around nine hectares of the property owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., the operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Remulla denied that Binay owns the house, swimming pool and garden in the said 350-hectare property in Barangay, Maligaya in Rosario town.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s allegations about the supposed property of Binay in Batangas is a dud, Remulla said.

He described Mercado’s claim as an “amateurish attempt” to clone the exposé done on the 4.7-hectare property of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima in Nueva Ecija.

“The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima exposé.’ Any doubt that the Senate probe was after legislation on Makati City Hall Building 2 has been erased by today’s hearing,” he added.

Binay’s office said that “based on records, the lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.”

The Vice President’s legal counsel Martin Subido reiterated that Binay had leased, and not owned, a property in Rosario for JCB Farms.

* Subido stressed that Binay never denied owning JCB Farms and has declared it in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), which his lawyers presented to media along with his Income Tax Returns (ITR).

“From 1994 to 2010, the Vice President operated a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas. This piggery business was a sole proprietorship duly reported in his SALNs and in his ITRs,” Subido said.

“The Vice President did not own any land where his piggery business was operated. Rather, he was a lessee of around nine hectares of land, with the improvements he introduced for the piggery business duly reported as ‘Leasehold Improvements’,” he added.

According to Subido, Binay sold his piggery farm in 2010 to Agrifortuna, Inc., a company owned by Laureano Gregorio. Agrifortuna is engaged in hog breeding and hog nursery also in the area where the Vice President operated his business.

He explained that Binay and his wife had been incorporators of Agrifortuna for a paid up capital of P50,000, but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

“In 1995, or almost 20 years ago, the Vice President and his wife sold their interest in Agrifortuna to Laureano Gregorio who likewise subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60% of the company. These are reflected in the filings of Agrifortuna with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” he said.

Subido said Gregorio made additional investments in Agrifortuna in 2008 that gave him 97% ownership of Agrifortuna.

“The house, swimming pool and garden mentioned in reports are not owned by the Vice President. They were owned by Laureano Gregorio,” he said.

The lawyer also said that “Gregorio entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation in 2013 for the acquisition of all the rights of Gregorio over the 145 hectare property, not 350 hectares as claimed by Mercado.”

“This was also duly disclosed to the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange) and the investing public in October 2013 and July 2014,” Subido said.

“At present, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation is the absolute owner of the improvements and facilities mentioned in today’s inquiry. In fact, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation has likewise introduced new improvements such as an asparagus farm, greenhouses for high value crops, hotel, all in line with its vision to create an agri-tourism park,” he explained.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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