HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...

BINAY HITS SENATE PROBE 'INQUISITION', 'ABUSE OF PARLIAMENTARY RULES' 

OCT 22 ---PHOTO: Jejomar Binay Nancy Binay. VP Says Senate probe driven by political ambitions; VICE President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday labelled the Senate probe on his alleged corruption and ill-gotten wealth as an ‘inquisition’ and an ‘abuse of parliamentary rules. At the same time, Binay urged Filipinos to take a closer look at the ongoing probe, which he said is being conducted by politicians who consider him (Binay) a threat to their own political ambitions. Binay issued the statement a day after the release of a Social Weather Station survery showing that 79% of its respondents want him to appear before the Senate panel looking into his alleged corrupt practices when he was mayor of Makati City. “I ask our people to examine closely the direction the so-called investigation is taking. So far, they have resorted to humiliating me and my family with such viciousness I have not seen employed by the Senate before,” Binay said. Binay also cast doubts on the true intent of the investigation.

“First, the so-called legislative agenda of that investigation has been unmasked as simply an inquisition designed to bring disrepute to my person by the abuse of parliamentary rules,” said Binay, a consistent frontrunner in all presidential preference surveys shortly before the probe began. “Those investigating me are simply there because as they admitted they do not want me to even launch a presidential campaign, obviously fearing that should the people support me they would be made accountable for their misdeeds and abuse of power.” Binay was obviously referring to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who had said he wanted to run for president in 2016 and urged people not to vote for Binay in 2016 because of the supposed revelations of the Vice President’s corruption at the Senate subcommittee hearing. Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, also a member of the subcommitte, has also expressed his desire to run for the presidency in 2016. While Binay did not refer to Trillanes and Cayetano by name, he said “they themselves want to be in power and see me as a threat to that ambition.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay challenged Trillanes to a debate; Trillanes accepted challenge; Face-off outside of Senate; Kapisanan Ng Broadcaster eyed as sponsor

OCT 23 --A face-off between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV looms after the latter, one of three senators investigating Binay’s alleged corruption during his term as Makati City Mayor, accepted the Vice President’s challenge for a debate “outside of the Senate.” In an open forum with members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas on Tuesday night, Binay said Trillanes should not hide behind his parliamentary immunity and challenged him to a debate. “I’m willing, if you want you can sponsor. I’m willing to debate with Trillanes. I’ll appear in all your forum,” Binay said. Sought for his response to the Vie President’s challenge, Trillanes said he’s ready, and even suggested the alleged ‘Hacienda Binay’ in Batangas as venue.

“I am ready even in his beautiful Hacienda Binay. Just set the time and date. Meet me there,” said Trillanes, a former military officer who led several coup attempts against the administration of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Trillanes was referring to 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas, which former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado said is owned by Binay. The sprawling property, which Mercado tagged as ‘Hacienda Binay” has two mansions, one with a British garden and another with a man-made lagoon; an airconditioned piggery; a huge garagae which can accommodate 40 vehicles, and an orchidarium with different varieties of orchids from around the world. * READ MORE....

ALSO: Trillanes wanted me to pin down Binay – Tiu  

OCT 23 --PHOTO: TIU AT SENATE HEARING Antonio Tiu answers questions from senators during the hearing of the the Senate blue ribbon committee on Wednesday. CHINESE-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu said Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th had pressured him to pin down Vice President Jejomar Binay and threatened to use various government agencies to go after him and his businesses if he refused. Tiu added that he and Trillanes had been friends for a long time.

“Simple lang ang mensahe eh, katulad ng natanggap ko na text ng mensahe is kailangan ko idiin si Bise Presidente kapalit ng aking kaligtasan at kaligtasan ng aking mga kompanya. Pag hindi ko ginawa, yun na yung mga text, hindi ako palalagpasin ng mga government agencies tulad ng BIR at ibang mga ahensya pa [Simple was the message, like the text message telling me to pin down the Vice President in exchange for my safety and that of my business firms. If I said no, according to the text messages, I won’t get past government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue],” Tiu told radio station dzMM in an interview on Wednesday.

He said Trillanes asked him to testify against Binay through emissaries and common friends. “Ang mga emisaryo puro nangagaling kay Senador Trillanes. Kaibigan po naman talaga natin ‘yan, ilan taon na po tayong nagsasama. Bago po pinaputok yung issue hanggang kagabi (Monday) walang tigil po ang ilang mga common friends namin. Mayroon po kaming ilang common friends na nagsisilbing emisaryo na nagpapadala ng mensahe [All the emissaries were sent by Trillanes. He is really my friend. These emissaries have been relentless in telling me to testify against Binay],” according to Tiu, who has been tagged as the alleged dummy of the Vice President. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay strikes again, slams embarrassing performance of some gov’t agencies  

OCT 24 ---PHOTO: INEFFICIENT – Embattled Vice President Jejomar C. Binay tells delegates to the Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Oct. 22, 2014, that the sterling figures of economic growth do not trickle down to assist those who need help – the poor and small businesses.(KJ Rosales) ---Vice President Jejomar C. Binay yesterday slammed the “embarrassing performance of some government agencies” four years into the Aquino administration. He stressed that the much-vaunted sterling domestic economic growth figures have not really trickled down to assisting small businesses and uplifting the poor. While he praised “some right things” done by the administration like “squeaky-clean governance at the top, dogged strategies for revenue generation, government spending, resulting in the overall optimism in the prospects of the Philippine economy,” Binay said that some government agencies have failed in delivering basic services to the people. “Yet, it seems, we are still not doing things right. There are some items in our development agenda that can and should be addressed now,” he said in his speech at the 40th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel.

The Vice President issued the stinging comments a week after assailing the biases of the current administration, including what he called the unfair treatment former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is getting. WHERE THEY FAILED Binay slammed the worsening traffic in the metropolis; the failure of government in improving the country’s mass transport system; the impending power crisis; high importation of rice; and the deterioration of the peace and order in the country. “Four years into this administration, several sectors have fallen embarrassingly short on performance,” he said. “Traffic is at a standstill in Metro Manila and other urban centers, worsened by an antiquated mass transit system. Poor planning and bureaucratic inefficiencies have unabashedly wasted the opportunities to improve the country’s transport systems. The brakes of MRT trains fail, doors fall off, and signaling systems dangerously stall,” he ranted. The Vice President also slammed the sorry state of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and how poor planning led to the country’s impending power crisis, high importation of rice, and the deterioration of the peace and order in the country.

“Criminality is rising at an unprecedented rate, with an alarming number committed by rogue policemen. These require the attention of government now,” he said. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION Instead of finding solutions to these problems, Binay lamented that “some senators choose to focus on assassinating his character.” He was apparently referring to the ongoing Senate probe against him over alleged anomalies in the Makati City government during his time as mayor. “As motorists inch their way through the traffic hobbled streets of the our cities, as Metro Manila commuters risk their lives every day riding in old and ill-maintained trains, as our countrymen and foreign visitors suffer entry through the world’s worst airport, as our people live daily in rising fear of danger to life and property, not trusting those whose job is to protect and keep safe our people, we are treated to the spectacle of a political assassination, live on national television, every week,” he said. “The irony is that the Senate zarzuela is staged by no less than those who have failed in their primary duty to ease these hardships that our people are suffering. And what for, to push themselves to power in the coming 2016 presidential elections, at our expense,” he added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Businessman gives Trillanes tour of Batangas estate

OCT 24 ---There were no handshakes when “good friends” met at the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Batangas yesterday. Despite a snag that initially prevented Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV from conducting an ocular inspection of the so-called Hacienda Binay in Rosario town, the lawmaker and members of media were able to enter the 150-hectare estate. After the tour, Triallanes said he still believed that Vice President Jejomar Binay, not businessman Antonio Tiu was its real owner. The senator had referred to Tiu as a “good friend” when the businessman launched the agri-tourism park last August. Trillanes and the group arrived at the property before noon, but caretakers who were apparently not advised of the visit barred them from entering.

In a letter sent by the Gabionza De Santos & Partners law firm representing Tiu to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III yesterday morning, it was noted that the ocular inspection would be conducted at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Trillanes was irked when a lawyer of Tiu, Charina Quintanilla, advised them that only the senator would be allowed to enter the estate and not the media. The senator decided to leave the premises. In the letter to Pimentel, Santiago Gabionza Jr. said that “for orderly conduct and so as to preserve our client’s constitutional rights,” only the members of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee would be allowed to enter the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park and they would be accompanied by persons assigned by Tiu. Tiu eventually arrived at the estate, which prompted Trillanes to return and proceed with his inspection accompanied by members of the media.

Trillanes was furious about the snafu considering that he and Tiu had a verbal agreement about the ocular inspection during the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building and the alleged hidden wealth of Binay last Wednesday. Tiu apologized, saying that it was just a problem with coordination, but this was not accepted by Trillanes, who even refused to shake the businessman’s hand. The inspection of the sprawling facility showed no visible evidence that it was owned by the Binays. It was not 350 hectares as claimed by former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado when he first presented aerial photographs and videos of the property to the Senate subcommittee hearings. Tiu said that it was closer to 150 hectares and was not at all extravagant as how Mercado described it. The Chinese-Filipino businessman insisted that he bought the property from Gregorio Laureano Jr. in 2013 for P446 million. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Trillanes reacts to his video praising 'Binay dummy'

OCT 24 ---PHOTO: Businessman Antonio Tiu and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had revealed that they were former friends. Senate PRIB Photo/Joseph Vidal/Albert Calvelo MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday reacted to an online video showing him praising businessman Antonio Tiu, an alleged dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay. The video, which was posted to Youtube by user "Agri TourismPH" last week, showed Trillanes congratulating Tiu during the launch of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park. Trillanes has accused Tiu of acting as front of the Binays, the alleged real owner of the controversial agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas.

But in the said video, which is nearly two minutes in length, Trillanes offered nothing but good words to Tiu, whom he described as a "good friend" and a "visionary" in the agricultural sector. "When I was invited by our good friend, Mr. Tony Tiu, kahit na meron po tayong bad cold this morning, kailangan makita natin at masuportahan siya, makita natin yung ating paniniwala sa kanyang vision for agriculture," Trillanes said in the video. The senator said Tiu's project will boost the country's economy and Batangas'. In a statement this morning, Trillanes said he already manifested in the Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing on October 8 that he had been to the alleged Hacienda Binay when he was invited to the Sunchamp launching last August 5. Trillanes said he was invited with former senator and now Presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization Francis Pangilinan. "I knew Tony Tiu then as a good man and a legitimate businessman," Trillanes said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Why attending wakes and not Senate hearings may in fact save Jojo Binay

OCT 24 --Good governance crusaders would cringe at the suggestion that corruption is not an important issue when we choose our leaders. Under normal circumstances, and assuming that elections are fair and clean, corruption charges can diminish the winning chances of a candidate. This is perhaps what Senators Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano are banking on when they began their crusade against Vice President Jejomar Binay. It is only but reasonable to believe that to expose the alleged overpricing of buildings, and the alleged rigging of bids not only for infrastructure projects, but even in the distribution of goodies such as cakes to the elderly, to the alleged non-declaration of assets and properties, and the alleged use of fronts and dummies to hide these, if all true, would be the surest way to derail the chances of VP Binay to become President in 2016.

And if surveys are to be believed, such may have indeed chipped at the base of support for the Vice President. However, as to whether such erosion of support may in fact translate into an electoral loss for Binay remains to be seen. The certainty of such an electoral debacle remains under a cloud of doubt not because of the ignorance and irrationality of the masses, but due to what can be considered as a political culture that is deeply entrenched in the minds of the ordinary citizens, often dismissed by elites as irrational. I am referring to the kind of politics whose dominant construct among the non-elites in our country lies not in the majesty of state processes, but in the familiar terrain of community. And here, the dimensions that are made visible lie not in the rules of a distant, unfamiliar terrain of laws. Instead, they reside in the privileging of a sense of community and a culture of affinity, of celebrating leaders by identifying with them and not in being led by them. A strong sense of community is an important element of our political culture. When cynicism creeps into the minds of citizens, it is because there is a breakdown of laws, even more heightened when law-enforcers and law-makers become law-breakers. And when such happens, they seek refuge in the community. The community becomes the basis upon which ordinary citizens recuperate their senses of bearing in times of state failure.

In times of disasters and calamities, even when the state breaks down, or is absent, as seen in Ondoy and Yolanda, ordinary people help each other, not only in the context of familiarity when neighbors help each other, but also when strangers help others they don’t even know. Citizenship among us is not simply about following laws to the letter, but more in establishing order based on the most important thing that we value most. Sikolohiyang Pilipino has long found this in our enormous sense of “pakikipagkapwa.” And this is further manifested in the way we value “dangal”, “damay” and “kagandahang loob.” An empirical evidence of this is the fact that what appears as chaotic traffic to the eyes of those educated using Western lenses, is simply a community of individual drivers trying to establish order by relying less on the rules of the road, or on the command of the traffic enforcer, but more on the behavior of other drivers, where the senses of “pakikiramdam” and “pagbibigayan” are celebrated. In politics, “pakikipagkapwa” becomes a powerful tool of the ordinary citizen to determine the authenticity of political actors. The rubric used could range from the symbolic gestures of being one with them in times of need, to even the very physical manifestation of looking like them.

The sense of community is also privileged in the manner people behave, where respect is valued, celebrated in the trait of “galang,” and where cockiness is abhorred, as seen in the way people negatively view those that are full of “yabang” and those who are “bastos.” It is in this domain where VP Binay may have comparative advantage over Senators Trillanes and Cayetano. In fact, this is also where the VP has edged out even PNoy himself. Jojo Binay has mastered the art of the community, and has harnessed “kapwa” in the way he is doing his politics. * READ MORE...

ALSO Inquirer Opinion: The ‘mystery man’ behind Binay 

OCT 24 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay has been accused by his former associates, in their testimonies in the Senate, of using dummies to hide his immense wealth derived from kickbacks from Makati infrastructure projects. One of them, businessman Antonio Tiu, appeared last Wednesday at the Senate to claim ownership of the alleged Binay hacienda in Rosario, Batangas, but admitted that he had no title to the property—yet. Other alleged dummies, subpoenaed by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the corruption charges against Binay, have chosen to remain silent. Somewhere out there is a man who knew how to parlay a personal friendship into a multimillion-peso nest egg.

This man continues to make himself scarce to elude the subpoena-servers of the Senate subcommittee, whose inquiry into the corruption scandal has gripped the nation for the past two months. So elusive has the man been that Sen. Koko Pimentel, who chairs the subcommittee, could only scratch his head when the crew he sent out to deliver the panel’s invitation came back empty-handed. The man is not your average snake-oil salesman. He comes with some pedigree and respectable academic credentials. He is Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan Jr., son of a former governor of Pampanga. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila in 1961 after graduating from Ateneo High School in 1957. That’s at least eight years of Jesuit education. Not much is known about Limlingan’s early job experience before he joined the Binay campaign in the 2010 presidential election. During that campaign, he had his proverbial 15 minutes of fame when he was wounded in an ambush. He was then Binay’s campaign manager and finance officer.

To illustrate Limlingan’s closeness to Binay, the latter issued a statement after the failed ambush: “Gerry Limlingan is a very dear family friend. The attempt on his life is a despicable act that deserves condemnation.” Since that time until 2013, Limlingan had, according to testimonies at the Senate, managed to bag more than P1.3 billion in contracts with the Makati City government for security and janitorial services. This amount does not cover the previous years when Omni Investigation and General Services Inc., a company organized in 1999, virtually gobbled up security and janitorial services bid out by the city government when Binay, and subsequently, his wife Elenita, were the mayors, according to a report by Rappler. The company has since been split into two—Omni Security Investigation (for security), and Corporate Solutions Manpower and General Services Inc. (for janitorial services). Both firms, however, have the same address and contact numbers, based on their submissions to the Securities and Exchange Commission. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Binay hits ‘inquisition’


Jejomar Binay Nancy Binay

MANILA, OCTOBER 27, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Rey E. Requejo - VP Says Senate probe driven by political ambitions; VICE President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday labelled the Senate probe on his alleged corruption and ill-gotten wealth as an ‘inquisition’ and an ‘abuse of parliamentary rules.

At the same time, Binay urged Filipinos to take a closer look at the ongoing probe, which he said is being conducted by politicians who consider him (Binay) a threat to their own political ambitions.

Binay issued the statement a day after the release of a Social Weather Station survery showing that 79% of its respondents want him to appear before the Senate panel looking into his alleged corrupt practices when he was mayor of Makati City.

“I ask our people to examine closely the direction the so-called investigation is taking. So far, they have resorted to humiliating me and my family with such viciousness I have not seen employed by the Senate before,” Binay said.

Binay also cast doubts on the true intent of the investigation.

“First, the so-called legislative agenda of that investigation has been unmasked as simply an inquisition designed to bring disrepute to my person by the abuse of parliamentary rules,” said Binay, a consistent frontrunner in all presidential preference surveys shortly before the probe began.

“Those investigating me are simply there because as they admitted they do not want me to even launch a presidential campaign, obviously fearing that should the people support me they would be made accountable for their misdeeds and abuse of power.”

Binay was obviously referring to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who had said he wanted to run for president in 2016 and urged people not to vote for Binay in 2016 because of the supposed revelations of the Vice President’s corruption at the Senate subcommittee hearing.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, also a member of the subcommitte, has also expressed his desire to run for the presidency in 2016.

While Binay did not refer to Trillanes and Cayetano by name, he said “they themselves want to be in power and see me as a threat to that ambition.”

* “The legislative character of the investigation is brazenly replaced by a route of inquiry that is judicial in nature but masquerading as ‘in aid of legislation’,” Binay said.

“If there are serious accusations being peddled by my enemies, the truth could be proven in a way that civilized societies do–with hard, unassailable evidence,” he said.

Binay said the Senate investigation also showed that civil rights could become the first casualty in politics.

“The so-called investigation at the Senate sends a dire warning to everyone: that for the sake of politics, civil rights are the first casualty,” he said.

“I pity the ordinary government employees and citizens who are being hammered, the effect on their daily affairs, the scorn and ridicule they are being subjected to that no private individual should suffer in a democratic society,” he said.

In a live interview on ANC’s Beyond Politics program, the Vice President reiterated that he doesn’t see any reason to attend the probe since the senators conducting the inquiry have already gone out of their way to prejudge and humiliate him.

“Yung ibang senador prejudged na, hinatulan ka na. Linalait ka pa, tinatakot ka pa, kinukutya ka pa. At saka ano pa ba ang itatanong? Nasabi na lahat ang itatanong e. Sumosobra na nga duon sa pinakapakay nung - imbestigasyon ba yun?” he said.

(Those senators have already prejudged me. They insulted me, threatened me. What else would they want to know? They have gone beyond....is that an investigation?)

Binay also challenged his accusers to present hard evidence that would back up their claims that he pocketed millions of pesos in kickbacks for various infrastructure projects in Makati when he was still mayor.

“So far, they have resorted to humiliating me and my family with such viciousness I have not seen employed by the Senate before,” he said.

Binay has rejected the claims of overpricing of the Makati car park building, saying the building construction had passed audits conducted by a government audit team. He said he is ready to answer the allegations before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Binay’s daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, also came to her father’s defense, describing the probe was one-sided and has become a ‘lowbrow jury concentrating on “loose talks.”

She insisted that accusations being hurled against her father and his brother Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, were ‘all lies’ being peddled by her family’s local political opponents in connivance with forces out to frustrate his presidential bid.

The senator added that it was obvious that the testimonies given by witnesses in the Blue Ribbon subcommittee were “false, baseless and unfounded,” that will not stand scrutiny in court.

“The way the hearings are conducted, It has ceased to be an independent and non-partisan panel,” she said.

The same committee also recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla over the pork barrel scam.

Binay also condemned the seemingly unequal treatment the Blue Ribbon committee gives to cases being heard.

“Why do they easily accede to the request of their alies?” asked Binay, referring to senators identified with the administration.

The subcommittee continues its hearing today, wherein businessman Antonio Tiu, the alleged dummy of Binay in his Batangas property will appear to prove his ownership of the questionable agricultural estate.

As this developed, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she there was no conflict with the pronouncement of President Aquino that the investigation being conducted by the Justice Department on allegations of corruption against the Vice President is being done to complement the one being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman.

De Lima explained that from the very start, the DoJ had known that the bulk of the investigation would be conducted by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

“There is no problem with the pronouncement made by the Presidente that our investigation is only in support of the Ombudsman’s probe,” De Lima said.

According to her, their role is simply to gather information and evidence that they would turn over to the anti-graft body, which would determine what to do with the evidence submitted.

She added that she had already informed the Ombudsman of her decision to help in the probe on the Vice President.

Earlier, De Lima said any evidence that the National Bureau of Investigation would gather during the probe would be submitted to the Ombudsman without recommendation unlike in previous cases such as in the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam where it recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against several senators, congressmen and other government officials as well as the scam’s mastermind, Janet Lim Napoles and officials of her various non-government organizations that were allegedly used as conduit for the lawmaker’s pork barrel allocations.

She said the NBI probe would be devoid of any media mileage.

The NBI last Friday said it has already formed two teams to spearhead the probe on the allegations against Binay.

Aquino on Monday said any investigation conducted by the DOJ would only be in support of the Ombudsman’s effort.

Binay has criticized the DOJ’s move saying de Lima is practicing “selective justice” targeting members of the opposition.

Binay challenged Trillanes to a debate; Trillanes accepted Face-off outside of Senate; KBP eyed as sponsor By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Francisco Tuyay and Joyce P. Pañares | Oct. 23, 2014 at 12:01am

CHALLENGE accepted.


Binay Trillanes

A face-off between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV looms after the latter, one of three senators investigating Binay’s alleged corruption during his term as Makati City Mayor, accepted the Vice President’s challenge for a debate “outside of the Senate.”

In an open forum with members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas on Tuesday night, Binay said Trillanes should not hide behind his parliamentary immunity and challenged him to a debate.

“I’m willing, if you want you can sponsor. I’m willing to debate with Trillanes. I’ll appear in all your forum,” Binay said.

Sought for his response to the Vie President’s challenge, Trillanes said he’s ready, and even suggested the alleged ‘Hacienda Binay’ in Batangas as venue.

“I am ready even in his beautiful Hacienda Binay.

Just set the time and date. Meet me there,” said Trillanes, a former military officer who led several coup attempts against the administration of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Trillanes was referring to 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas, which former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado said is owned by Binay.

The sprawling property, which Mercado tagged as ‘Hacienda Binay” has two mansions, one with a British garden and another with a man-made lagoon; an airconditioned piggery; a huge garagae which can accommodate 40 vehicles, and an orchidarium with different varieties of orchids from around the world.

* The Vice President has refused to attend the ongoing Senate BlueRibbon subcommittee hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 allegedly involving Binay and him and Makati Mayor Junjun binay.

Binay said he had already been prejudged by the senators conducting the hearing, referring to Trillanes, Senate Majority Alan Peter Cayetano and Koko Pimentel, which chairs the committee looking at the alleged corrupt practices of Binay and the rest of his family.

He described the Senate hearing as “kangaroo” court which had prejudged his entire family.

“So why would I go there. That’s beyond in aid of legislation. This is really a demolition. And they’re saying, this investigation is to show that the Vice President is not qualified to be a president. So there’s politics there. That’s hypocrisy,” Binay said.

But the camp of the Vice President earlier said Binay would attend the hearing only if the Senate Blue Ribbon mother committee would send him an invitation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona sent out an invitation to Binay to appear in the 10th hearing set on October 30.

Guingona said he had acceded to the challenge of Binay and assured the Vice President that he would be afforded fair treatment, sufficient time and due respect.

Meanwhlle, returning to the witness stand, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto testified that Binay acquired a P15.6 million log cabin in a luxurious residential community in Tagaytay Highlands when he was still mayor.

He said the three-bedroom log cabin property at The Woodlands was not included in Binay’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

In a slide presentation, he showed documents to prove Binay’s ownership of the Tagaytay property, which included a reservation letter for the property dated January 31, 1997.

The letter, addressed to then Mayor Binay, read, ‘’We are pleased to inform you that you have been allocated a Redwood type 3-bedroom unit at The Woodlands at Tagaytay Highlands. The purchase price is P15,600,000.”

Mercado, who has been placed under the government’s witness protection program said 20% of the purchase price, or P3.12 million, was to be paid for the signing of the reservation agreement, while 5% of the purchase price, or P780,000, was to be paid monthly starting March 4, 1997, and every 15th day of the month thereafter until the delivery of the unit.

Another memo dated May 9, 1997, indicated a 10-percent discount was obtained for the purchase of the property. In the same memo, a note which reads ‘TO M1: Your copy on the price and schedule of payments. Gerry,’ is written.

Mercado said M1 refers to Binay, while Gerry is Gerardo Limlingan, whom the former vice mayor earlier accused of being the vice-president’s bagman and dummy.

‘He passed that letter to Mr. Limlingan so that Mr. Limlingan will attend to it,” said Mercado.

But Mercado said he expects Binay to deny that the Tagaytay does not belong to him and that Limlingan owns it.

Mercado said Limlingan bought a manager’s check from the Philippine National Bank with 8514 Kaong St. San Antonio Village, Makati as his address. The check was to be paid to Henry Sy Jr., whose family became majority owners of Belle Corp. in 2010.

He said the address in the manager’s check is the known residence of the vice president.

The other documents shown by Mercado were billing statements and receipts from the Tagaytay Highlands International Golf Club. He said the billing statements and receipts bore the signatures of no less than Binay’s wife, Elenita, and his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay.

“These prove that the Binay family indeed owns the Tagaytay property. ‘The signatory there was Dra. Elenita Binay, wife of Mayor Jejomar Binay, who is now Vice President of our country. The billings and the receipts come one after the other,’ and were addressed to Binay’s residence at 8514 Kaong Street in San Antonio Village, Makati City,” pointed out Mercado.

Aside from the Tagaytay property and membership to its golf club, Mercado said Binay also has shares in the Makati Sports Club and Manila Polo Club. He said these were not declared in the vice-president’s SALN as well.

He recalled that in one instance, Binay allegedly wrote a note in one of the billing statements for the Makati Sports Club, which read ‘’Bakit may utang tayo? Please find time and go to Makati Sports Club.”

The note was addressed to Ebeng, the nickname of Binay’s alleged former executive assistant, Eduviges Baloloy.

At the resumption of the hearing, Trillanes also accused Binay’s camp of paying another possible witness, Nestor Irasga P10 million to prevent him from appearing in the Senate.

Trillanes made the expose after Mercado told the subcommittee that he was offered money to stop him from testifying in the Senate.

Mercado said that after he first appeared and testified before the committee, he was approached by their common friends who asked him to stop talking against the Vice President. He refused to reveal the identities of the said “common friends” and requested that they remain identified.

“I have spoken in four hearings. The ante has been raised. My testimony has become worthless and that what matters is how it will cost in exchange for my silence. My response to my common friends with VP Binay is that I have no price. I don’t need money,” Mercado said.

At this point, Trillanes said he can attest to the offer of money because Irasga who was listed as one of the witnesses against the Vice President backed out because he was allegedly paid P10 million each time he was invited to the hearing and rejected it.

The Blue Ribbon committee, meanwhile, will conduct an ocular inspection on the said Binay property in Tagaytay today.

As this developed, Binay’s spokesman Gov. Jonvic Remulla said Mercado has continued to “make malicious and baseless charges.”

He said that a billing statement is not proof of ownership as claimed by Mr. Mercado especially when the authenticity of the signatures can be disputed. Until now Mr. Mercado cannot provide documents proving actual ownership nd the company mentioned has already denied having any records of ownership.

Meanwhile, Local Government’s Secretary Mar Roxas described Binay’s accusations that he is behind the demolition job against the Vice President as ‘panis’ or rotten food.

Roxas also denied he had something to with an Oplan dubbed as Stop Nognog in 2016, saying that nobody can influence senators investigating Binay’s alleged corruption in the construction of the alleged overpriced Makati Parking building.

“Panis, Panis,” Roxas said. I would to like to clarify that I was not involved on the said plan that Binay is fanning out,” Roxas said.

Roxas said that instead of pointing fingers to those who are behind the plan against him, Binay should instead faced his accusers in the Senate.

The Vice Presideht has been accused of pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks out of the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati building, the 350-hectares ranch he allegedly owns in Rosario, Batangas and other projects since he served as Makati Mayor in 1987.

Binay has refused to appear before the Senate subcommittee, saying that the senators had already prejudged hm.

But Roxas said, “such accusations would not help him, I think instead of finger-pointing whose behind it, he (Binay) must faced the investigation.”

Binay’s camp had accused of providing the chopper owned by a certain Zamora that was used in the aerial survey of the alleged Binay ranch few weeks back. His staffers were allegedly in that chopper during the aerial sorty.

But Roxas denied this, saying that no one from his office were on board the chopper and he doesn’t who owner of the chopper.

He even advised the media to instead “ask Zamora who rented it.”

In a related development, President Benigno Aquino III accused Binay’s camp of lying on what really transpired during their more than two-hour one-on-one meeting at Bahay Pangarap Tuesday last week.

Aquino disputed the version of Remulla, who had said that it was the president who offered to help the Vice President amid the Senate subcommittee hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building II.

The President said it was Binay who initiated the meeting that ended past midnight.

“The person (Remulla) who did what, I guess, with all due respect to the person, I think he had it reversed. He had it in reverse,” he said during an open forum with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

“There’s no record (of the meeting because) there were only two of us talking. (Binay) stated the fact that Dra. (Elenita) Binay was hurting from all of this. I didn’t ask about the family. He volunteered the information,” the President said.

Remulla earlier said Binay only mentioned the Senate probe after Aquino made the offer to help.

But the president said he recalls that it was Binay who categorically asked him if it was possible to put a stop to the Senate probe, to which Aquino said he will call up Senate President Franklin Drilon.

“He was saying, is it possible for the Senate to terminate their inquiry in aid of legislation given the fact that the proper forum would be the Ombudsman’s office? And I said, we’ll inquire from the Senate President,” Aquino said.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Trillanes wanted me to pin down Binay – Tiu October 22, 2014 10:38 pm
by FERNAN MARASIGAN AND JING VILLAMENTE REPORTERS


TIU AT SENATE HEARING: Antonio Tiu answers questions from senators during the hearing of the the Senate blue ribbon committee on Wednesday. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

CHINESE-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu said Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th had pressured him to pin down Vice President Jejomar Binay and threatened to use various government agencies to go after him and his businesses if he refused.

Tiu added that he and Trillanes had been friends for a long time.

“Simple lang ang mensahe eh, katulad ng natanggap ko na text ng mensahe is kailangan ko idiin si Bise Presidente kapalit ng aking kaligtasan at kaligtasan ng aking mga kompanya. Pag hindi ko ginawa, yun na yung mga text, hindi ako palalagpasin ng mga government agencies tulad ng BIR at ibang mga ahensya pa [Simple was the message, like the text message telling me to pin down the Vice President in exchange for my safety and that of my business firms. If I said no, according to the text messages, I won’t get past government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue],” Tiu told radio station dzMM in an interview on Wednesday.

He said Trillanes asked him to testify against Binay through emissaries and common friends.

“Ang mga emisaryo puro nangagaling kay Senador Trillanes. Kaibigan po naman talaga natin ‘yan, ilan taon na po tayong nagsasama. Bago po pinaputok yung issue hanggang kagabi (Monday) walang tigil po ang ilang mga common friends namin. Mayroon po kaming ilang common friends na nagsisilbing emisaryo na nagpapadala ng mensahe [All the emissaries were sent by Trillanes. He is really my friend. These emissaries have been relentless in telling me to testify against Binay],” according to Tiu, who has been tagged as the alleged dummy of the Vice President.

* Tiu denied an accusation of former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that a vast estate in Rosario, Batangas, is owned by Binay.

“Paulit-ulit ko pong sinasabi na ako po ay hindi dummy. Bakit naman ako magpapagamit sa pulitiko eh P5 billion nga yung total assets, total net worth ng mga companies natin. Tapos magpapagamit tayo as dummy? Anong logic naman dito sa statement na ito [I have repeatedly said I am not a dummy. Why will I let a politician use me when total assets, total net worth of my companies already total P5 billion? Then I will still allow myself to be used as a dummy? What is the logic in that statement]?” he asked.

“Noong eleksyon. personal akong nag-abot ng campaign contribution sa kanya, P150,000, hindi ko lang alam kung dinis-close nya [In the elections, I personally gave Senator Trillanes P150,000 as my campaign contribution. I don’t know if he disclosed it],” Tiu said, apparently referring to the 2010 elections.

A video showing Trillanes praising “his good friend Tony Tiu” is now being circulated on the Internet.

“As you know [this] Tony Tiu is a visionary in the agricultural sector [and former senator Kiko knows him],” the senator said in the video, referring to Francis Pangilinan, now Presidential Assistant for Food Security.

In previous media interviews, Trillanes said he and other government officials attended the inauguration of an agri-tourism park not knowing that the gathering and the property were somehow linked to Binay.

When he appeared at the Senate on Wednesday, Tiu maintained that he is the owner of the huge estate in Batangas province and that he is not a dummy of Binay.

The businessman told members of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee that he acquired the rights to use the land from its owner, Gregorio Laureano, for P400 million in 2013.

He said his company, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., bought the usufruct rights over the land. Tiu added that he initially paid Laureano P11 million and that his firm will be paying Laureano P446 million on installment basis.

When asked by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd if he can present a transfer certificate of title (TCT) that could prove his ownership, the businessman explained that the title will be transferred to his name only after he has paid the property in full.

Trillanes, Pimentel and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano took turns in grilling Tiu to make him admit his connection with Binay.
But the businessman maintained that the Batangas property is owned by his company, Sunchamp, which has been renamed Greenergy Holdings Inc.

After testifying at the Senate, Tiu filed a defamation suit against Trillanes at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office and sought P5 million in damages.

His lawyer, Czarina Quintanilla, said because of the senator’s allegations that Tiu is Binay’s dummy, the businesses of Tiu had been affected, particularly those that are publicly listed.

“This case is one for damages suffered by Antonio L. Tiu due to various defamatory statements made against him in the media by Trillanes.

Senator Trillanes accused Tiu of being a dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay. However, this is not true. Tiu is not a dummy. He is a legitimate businessman whose businesses are primarily in the agricultural sector and he enjoys a good reputation,” the lawyer said.

Also on Wednesday, Binay dared Trillanes to a one-on-one debate “any time, any place.”

The Vice President made the challenge during an open forum with members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas after the signing of a memorandum of understanding of the Home Development Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund with KBP.

“I’m willing to debate with Trillanes,” Binay said.

He reiterated that he will not attend the Senate probe of the supposed overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2.
Binay said the senators conducting the hearing have prejudged the proceedings.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Binay strikes again, slams embarrassing performance of some gov’t agencies by JC Bello Ruiz & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat October 23, 2014 Share this:


INEFFICIENT – Embattled Vice President Jejomar C. Binay tells delegates to the Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Oct. 22, 2014, that the sterling figures of economic growth do not trickle down to assist those who need help – the poor and small businesses. (KJ Rosales)

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay yesterday slammed the “embarrassing performance of some government agencies” four years into the Aquino administration.

He stressed that the much-vaunted sterling domestic economic growth figures have not really trickled down to assisting small businesses and uplifting the poor.

While he praised “some right things” done by the administration like “squeaky-clean governance at the top, dogged strategies for revenue generation, government spending, resulting in the overall optimism in the prospects of the Philippine economy,” Binay said that some government agencies have failed in delivering basic services to the people.

Embattled Vice President Jejomar C. Binay tells delegates to the Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Oct. 22, 2014, that the sterling figures of economic growth do not trickle down to assist those who need help – the poor and small businesses. (KJ Rosales) “Yet, it seems, we are still not doing things right. There are some items in our development agenda that can and should be addressed now,” he said in his speech at the 40th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel.

The Vice President issued the stinging comments a week after assailing the biases of the current administration, including what he called the unfair treatment former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is getting.

WHERE THEY FAILED

Binay slammed the worsening traffic in the metropolis; the failure of government in improving the country’s mass transport system; the impending power crisis; high importation of rice; and the deterioration of the peace and order in the country.

“Four years into this administration, several sectors have fallen embarrassingly short on performance,” he said.

“Traffic is at a standstill in Metro Manila and other urban centers, worsened by an antiquated mass transit system. Poor planning and bureaucratic inefficiencies have unabashedly wasted the opportunities to improve the country’s transport systems. The brakes of MRT trains fail, doors fall off, and signaling systems dangerously stall,” he ranted.

The Vice President also slammed the sorry state of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and how poor planning led to the country’s impending power crisis, high importation of rice, and the deterioration of the peace and order in the country.

“Criminality is rising at an unprecedented rate, with an alarming number committed by rogue policemen. These require the attention of government now,” he said.

CHARACTER ASSASSINATION

Instead of finding solutions to these problems, Binay lamented that “some senators choose to focus on assassinating his character.”

He was apparently referring to the ongoing Senate probe against him over alleged anomalies in the Makati City government during his time as mayor.

“As motorists inch their way through the traffic hobbled streets of the our cities, as Metro Manila commuters risk their lives every day riding in old and ill-maintained trains, as our countrymen and foreign visitors suffer entry through the world’s worst airport, as our people live daily in rising fear of danger to life and property, not trusting those whose job is to protect and keep safe our people, we are treated to the spectacle of a political assassination, live on national television, every week,” he said.

“The irony is that the Senate zarzuela is staged by no less than those who have failed in their primary duty to ease these hardships that our people are suffering. And what for, to push themselves to power in the coming 2016 presidential elections, at our expense,” he added.

* Binay vowed to fight the “attacks” against him as he continues with his work of “providing homes for the homeless and a voice to millions of Filipinos working overseas.”

“I have served the Filipino, particularly the poor and underprivileged, all my life and my track record bears me out. And this, the Senate circus, can never erase. Because our people ask only one question of those who try to crucify us: ‘What have you done for the Filipino people?” he said.

Binay also hit the “selective justice” and perceived biases against the opposition during a convention of public attorneys at the Manila Hotel Tuesday last week.

In the same event, Binay also assailed the Aquino administration for the “unfair” treatment Arroyo has been getting as well as the creation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), some key acts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

BINAY INITIATED TALKS – AQUINO

As this developed, President Aquino reiterated yesterday that it was the Vice President who initiated their meeting last week in Bahay Pangarap.

Aquino said the facts of his meeting with Binay were reversed by the Vice President’s spokesman, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.

“It was the Vice President who actually initiated the meeting. He texted me, he asked if he could see me and I said yes, I readily agreed,” Aquino said at the annual presidential forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) yesterday.

He said there was no meeting in Malacanang but in his official residence in Bahay Pangarap at around 9 p.m. last week. He said the meeting lasted until about midnight.

The President said it was the Vice President who asked for advice on the issues hounding his family.

“With all due respect to the spokesperson, I think he had it in reverse,” Aquino said, noting that he did not ask about the Binay family and he did not initiate offering the Vice President any help on the Senate inquiry of the Makati City Hall Building II.

“He (Binay) stated the fact that Dra. (Elenita) Binay was hurting from all of these. I didn’t ask – he volunteered the information,” Aquino said.

“The Vice President was asking advice for instance on what to do. So I didn’t offer to help, he asked advice on how to handle the situation, amongst other things,” he said.

“He was saying if it was possible for the Senate to terminate their inquiry in aid of legislation given the fact that the proper forum would be the Ombudsman’s office and I said, we’ll inquire from the Senate President,” Aquino recalled.

President Aquino said that he and Vice President Binay remain friends despite being in different political parties. (With a report from Madel Sabaterr Namit)

FROM PHILSTAR

Businessman gives Trillanes tour of Batangas estate By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


Photo taken during an inspection yesterday of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario, Batangas allegedly owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay shows the maze garden patterned after London’s Kew Gardens. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines - There were no handshakes when “good friends” met at the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Batangas yesterday.

Despite a snag that initially prevented Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV from conducting an ocular inspection of the so-called Hacienda Binay in Rosario town, the lawmaker and members of media were able to enter the 150-hectare estate.

After the tour, Triallanes said he still believed that Vice President Jejomar Binay, not businessman Antonio Tiu was its real owner.

The senator had referred to Tiu as a “good friend” when the businessman launched the agri-tourism park last August.

Trillanes and the group arrived at the property before noon, but caretakers who were apparently not advised of the visit barred them from entering.

In a letter sent by the Gabionza De Santos & Partners law firm representing Tiu to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III yesterday morning, it was noted that the ocular inspection would be conducted at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Trillanes was irked when a lawyer of Tiu, Charina Quintanilla, advised them that only the senator would be allowed to enter the estate and not the media.

The senator decided to leave the premises.

In the letter to Pimentel, Santiago Gabionza Jr. said that “for orderly conduct and so as to preserve our client’s constitutional rights,” only the members of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee would be allowed to enter the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park and they would be accompanied by persons assigned by Tiu.

Tiu eventually arrived at the estate, which prompted Trillanes to return and proceed with his inspection accompanied by members of the media.

Trillanes was furious about the snafu considering that he and Tiu had a verbal agreement about the ocular inspection during the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building and the alleged hidden wealth of Binay last Wednesday.

Tiu apologized, saying that it was just a problem with coordination, but this was not accepted by Trillanes, who even refused to shake the businessman’s hand.

The inspection of the sprawling facility showed no visible evidence that it was owned by the Binays.

It was not 350 hectares as claimed by former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado when he first presented aerial photographs and videos of the property to the Senate subcommittee hearings.

Tiu said that it was closer to 150 hectares and was not at all extravagant as how Mercado described it.

The Chinese-Filipino businessman insisted that he bought the property from Gregorio Laureano Jr. in 2013 for P446 million.

* He has paid a total of P11 million so far as downpayment, and in exchange, Tiu said that he was given usufruct, or the right to use the property.

Tiu escorted Trillanes’ party to the mansion, pavilion, and other facilities inside the agri-tourism park, including the nine-hectare orchid farm that was reportedly being leased by the Vice President’s wife, Elenita Binay for P90,000 a year.

The air-conditioned piggery that Mercado claimed was owned by the Binays, was also presented by Tiu.

But contrary to what Mercado claimed, there was only one small air-conditioned room at the piggery where the insemination of the pigs were supposedly being done.

Tiu said that the area where the piggery was standing was being leased by a private firm.

Trillanes admitted that there was nothing there that could show that the property was actually owned by the Binays.

However, the senator said that Tiu does not hold any of the titles to the property.

He described the estate as “lavish” and “obscene” and said that he was

convinced it was owned by the Binays.

Trillanes said that the Vice President has been projecting that he is poor and ordinary but the truth was he enjoys a “kingly” lifestyle.

Tiu reiterated that he was not being used as a dummy by anyone, especially not the Vice President.

He said that he has several other properties that were more extravagant than the Rosario estate.

Debate at PICC

The camp of Binay has proposed the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City to be the venue of the one-on-one debate of the Vice President with Trillanes.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesperson for political affairs, said that the PICC is an ideal neutral place for the debate that will be moderated by members of the Kapisanan ng Broadcasting ng Pilipinas (KBP).

He said only the moderators and panelist of prominent lawyers must be allowed so that there will be no cheering on both camps.

Remulla said the event could be covered live by television networks.

“The date can be set anytime after the Holy Week,” he said.

Pasay city police chief Senior Superintendent Melchor Reyes said they would implement a security plan in case the debate pushes through. With Perseus Echeminada

Trillanes reacts to his video praising 'Binay dummy' By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 3:16pm 37 984 googleplus0 0


Businessman Antonio Tiu and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had revealed that they were former friends. Senate PRIB Photo/Joseph Vidal/Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday reacted to an online video showing him praising businessman Antonio Tiu, an alleged dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The video, which was posted to Youtube by user "Agri TourismPH" last week, showed Trillanes congratulating Tiu during the launch of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Trillanes has accused Tiu of acting as front of the Binays, the alleged real owner of the controversial agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas.

But in the said video, which is nearly two minutes in length, Trillanes offered nothing but good words to Tiu, whom he described as a "good friend" and a "visionary" in the agricultural sector.

"When I was invited by our good friend, Mr. Tony Tiu, kahit na meron po tayong bad cold this morning, kailangan makita natin at masuportahan siya, makita natin yung ating paniniwala sa kanyang vision for agriculture," Trillanes said in the video.

The senator said Tiu's project will boost the country's economy and Batangas'.

In a statement this morning, Trillanes said he already manifested in the Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing on October 8 that he had been to the alleged Hacienda Binay when he was invited to the Sunchamp launching last August 5.

Trillanes said he was invited with former senator and now Presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization Francis Pangilinan.

"I knew Tony Tiu then as a good man and a legitimate businessman," Trillanes said.

* He explained that as Tiu's friend, he offered good words to him not knowing that they, as administration allies, "were already being used to legitimize the dummy layering by Sunchamp of the Hacienda Binay."

"Now, after learning that Tony Tiu is nothing but a dummy of VP Binay, things have changed. And whatever friendship we had then won't stop me from unmasking him," Trillanes concluded.

Tiu has denied allegations that he is Binay's dummy, insisting that he has only met the Vice President three times.

On Wednesday, Tiu was grilled by Trillanes and other members of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee investigating the corruption allegations hurled against Binay.

Tiu failed to convince the senators that he is the owner of the Batangas property after saying that he does not yet have its title under his name.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Why attending wakes and not Senate hearings may in fact save Jojo Binay By ANTONIO P. CONTRERASOctober 24, 2014 1:37pm 275 20 2 465 Tags: Jejomar Binay


By ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

Good governance crusaders would cringe at the suggestion that corruption is not an important issue when we choose our leaders. Under normal circumstances, and assuming that elections are fair and clean, corruption charges can diminish the winning chances of a candidate.


CAYETANO, TRILLANES

This is perhaps what Senators Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano are banking on when they began their crusade against Vice President Jejomar Binay. It is only but reasonable to believe that to expose the alleged overpricing of buildings, and the alleged rigging of bids not only for infrastructure projects, but even in the distribution of goodies such as cakes to the elderly, to the alleged non-declaration of assets and properties, and the alleged use of fronts and dummies to hide these, if all true, would be the surest way to derail the chances of VP Binay to become President in 2016.

And if surveys are to be believed, such may have indeed chipped at the base of support for the Vice President. However, as to whether such erosion of support may in fact translate into an electoral loss for Binay remains to be seen.

The certainty of such an electoral debacle remains under a cloud of doubt not because of the ignorance and irrationality of the masses, but due to what can be considered as a political culture that is deeply entrenched in the minds of the ordinary citizens, often dismissed by elites as irrational.

I am referring to the kind of politics whose dominant construct among the non-elites in our country lies not in the majesty of state processes, but in the familiar terrain of community. And here, the dimensions that are made visible lie not in the rules of a distant, unfamiliar terrain of laws. Instead, they reside in the privileging of a sense of community and a culture of affinity, of celebrating leaders by identifying with them and not in being led by them.

A strong sense of community is an important element of our political culture.

When cynicism creeps into the minds of citizens, it is because there is a breakdown of laws, even more heightened when law-enforcers and law-makers become law-breakers. And when such happens, they seek refuge in the community. The community becomes the basis upon which ordinary citizens recuperate their senses of bearing in times of state failure.

In times of disasters and calamities, even when the state breaks down, or is absent, as seen in Ondoy and Yolanda, ordinary people help each other, not only in the context of familiarity when neighbors help each other, but also when strangers help others they don’t even know.

Citizenship among us is not simply about following laws to the letter, but more in establishing order based on the most important thing that we value most. Sikolohiyang Pilipino has long found this in our enormous sense of “pakikipagkapwa.” And this is further manifested in the way we value “dangal”, “damay” and “kagandahang loob.”

An empirical evidence of this is the fact that what appears as chaotic traffic to the eyes of those educated using Western lenses, is simply a community of individual drivers trying to establish order by relying less on the rules of the road, or on the command of the traffic enforcer, but more on the behavior of other drivers, where the senses of “pakikiramdam” and “pagbibigayan” are celebrated.

In politics, “pakikipagkapwa” becomes a powerful tool of the ordinary citizen to determine the authenticity of political actors. The rubric used could range from the symbolic gestures of being one with them in times of need, to even the very physical manifestation of looking like them.

The sense of community is also privileged in the manner people behave, where respect is valued, celebrated in the trait of “galang,” and where cockiness is abhorred, as seen in the way people negatively view those that are full of “yabang” and those who are “bastos.”

It is in this domain where VP Binay may have comparative advantage over Senators Trillanes and Cayetano. In fact, this is also where the VP has edged out even PNoy himself.

Jojo Binay has mastered the art of the community, and has harnessed “kapwa” in the way he is doing his politics.

* He goes to practically every “lamayan” in Makati, and even in other places, even to people that he doesn’t know, in direct contrast to the President who, typical of his cacique roots, has explained his non-attendance in the “lamay” of the slain Jennifer Laude as simply because it is not in his character to visit the wake of strangers.

In doing this, and unlike the President, Binay has simply affirmed that he feels for the people and that for him, there are no strangers. In a culture that values community, to make ordinary people feel the sense of “damay” in periods of their mourning is to be deeply embedded in their psyche, to a point that they can easily forget the other factors that need to be considered when politicians have to be weighed and assessed, such as overpriced buildings, rigged biddings, undeclared assets and use of dummies.

Senators Trillanes and Cayetano are trying to convince us that they have the purest of intentions in making not only Jojo Binay, but the rest of the Binays, accountable for their alleged abuses. Crusaders for good governance try to justify the Senators’ acts as necessary to ensure that no politician as allegedly tainted as the Binays would occupy Malacanang.

But to the eyes of a citizenry that values community and “pakikipagkapwa,” what undermines the Senators’ efforts, and in turn make Binay look much better than the corrupt politician which his accusers wanted him to be represented to the public, are Senators Trillanes and Cayetano themselves. What people see during the Senate hearings are the Senators’ “yabang,” even as they are seen as “bastos” when they badger witnesses and resource persons. In addition, the Senators’ intentions are clearly seen by many, rightly or wrongly, as politically motivated, even as they are also perceived, again rightly or wrongly, as not totally “marangal” and their actions do not have the purest of intentions and are not imbued with “kagandahang loob.”

In such context, and while preferring that Binay should attend the hearings, it would be easy for people to understand why he would not want to. And many people would genuinely appreciate it if he would rather spend his time attending wakes to express his sense of “damay” to those who lost loved ones he doesn’t even know.

In doing these, he is just acting in accordance with the nature of a polity that privileges the subjective sense of community and its requisite values of “pakikipagkapwa,” over the formalistic and detached parameters of law and government populated by people oozing with “yabang” and are so “bastos.”

The author is a former dean of De La Salle University. He is currently a full professor of political science at DLSU. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.

INQUIRER OPINION

The ‘mystery man’ behind Binay By Neal H. Cruz |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:22 am | Friday, October 24th, 2014


Neal H. Cruz

Vice President Jejomar Binay has been accused by his former associates, in their testimonies in the Senate, of using dummies to hide his immense wealth derived from kickbacks from Makati infrastructure projects. One of them, businessman Antonio Tiu, appeared last Wednesday at the Senate to claim ownership of the alleged Binay hacienda in Rosario, Batangas, but admitted that he had no title to the property—yet.

Other alleged dummies, subpoenaed by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the corruption charges against Binay, have chosen to remain silent.

Somewhere out there is a man who knew how to parlay a personal friendship into a multimillion-peso nest egg. This man continues to make himself scarce to elude the subpoena-servers of the Senate subcommittee, whose inquiry into the corruption scandal has gripped the nation for the past two months.

So elusive has the man been that Sen. Koko Pimentel, who chairs the subcommittee, could only scratch his head when the crew he sent out to deliver the panel’s invitation came back empty-handed.

The man is not your average snake-oil salesman. He comes with some pedigree and respectable academic credentials.

He is Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan Jr., son of a former governor of Pampanga. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila in 1961 after graduating from Ateneo High School in 1957. That’s at least eight years of Jesuit education.

Not much is known about Limlingan’s early job experience before he joined the Binay campaign in the 2010 presidential election. During that campaign, he had his proverbial 15 minutes of fame when he was wounded in an ambush. He was then Binay’s campaign manager and finance officer.

To illustrate Limlingan’s closeness to Binay, the latter issued a statement after the failed ambush: “Gerry Limlingan is a very dear family friend. The attempt on his life is a despicable act that deserves condemnation.”

Since that time until 2013, Limlingan had, according to testimonies at the Senate, managed to bag more than P1.3 billion in contracts with the Makati City government for security and janitorial services. This amount does not cover the previous years when Omni Investigation and General Services Inc., a company organized in 1999, virtually gobbled up security and janitorial services bid out by the city government when Binay, and subsequently, his wife Elenita, were the mayors, according to a report by Rappler.

The company has since been split into two—Omni Security Investigation (for security), and Corporate Solutions Manpower and General Services Inc. (for janitorial services). Both firms, however, have the same address and contact numbers, based on their submissions to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

* Limlingan’s ties to the embattled Binay surfaced during the Senate hearing when former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado claimed that he had delivered to Limlingan money representing Binay’s kickbacks from city government projects.
That prompted the invitation to Limlingan from the subcommittee.

The Rappler report said Omni Security’s current chair is Marguerite E. Lichnock, identified as Limlingan’s wife. Other officials in the company are also said to be identified with the Binays.

Omni Security’s sister company, Corporate Solutions, incorporated in June 2012, has the same set of incorporators, with the exception of Lichnock. Corporate Solutions lists Limlingan as chair and president.

From a fledgling company a scant four years ago, Omni Security Investigation and General Services has transformed itself into a major supplier of the Makati government. From 2010 to 2014, the firm was awarded contracts worth a total of P1.321 billion. This included the contracts after the company was split into two.

Limlingan was tagged by Mercado in his testimony as a “bagman” of then Mayor Binay. Mercado claimed at the Senate hearing that Limlingan acted as a dummy of Binay in businesses and properties not declared in Binay’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

These allegedly include Agri-Fortuna Inc., the company that supposedly bought Binay’s piggery business in Rosario, Batangas.

In his testimony before the Senate subcommittee, Mercado claimed that two companies—Omni Security Investigation and
Meriras Realty and Development Corp.—were used as “dummies” by Binay.

Limlingan is the managing director of Meriras, and is also president of Binay’s foundation, JCB Foundation.

Omni Security was the No. 2 contractor/awardee of the Makati government from 2009 to 2014.

The top spot belongs to Hilmarc’s Construction (with P3.7 billion in contracts).

Hilmarc’s is the firm currently on the carpet for its role in the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building.

* * *

Two outstanding musical events will open on Oct. 29 at two 5-star hotels in Metro Manila. One is Aliw Awardee
Margaux Salcedo singing favorite love songs at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel. The other is the Tiongco Brothers singing old favorites at Bistro RJ at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

The Tiongco Brothers are among the oldest singers in the Philippines. (The standing joke is that they were perhaps already singing when Magellan first landed in Mactan.) The name of their show: “Nandito Pa Kami” (We’re still here).


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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