PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

UNA BLASTS TRILLANES' 'POLITICAL STRIPTEASE'
[It's all about the 2016 presidential elections]
 


2016 VP WANNABE AND HIS NEMESIS CURRENT VP BINAY
 The secretary-general of the VP Binay's United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Wednesday slammed Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his supposed "obsession" in throwing various corruption allegations against the Binay family in a bid to hurt Vice President Jejomar Binay's chances in the 2016 elections. "It is very evident from his behavior, his demeanor, his obsession that this is really an attempt on his part to demolish and ruin the chances of the vice president in the 2016 elections," UNA secretary general JV Bautista said in an interview on ANC. Trillanes, citing "reliable sources," recently accused two Court of Appeals (CA) justices of receiving bribes from the Binay camp to stop the suspension order against Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. Trillanes alleged that CA Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction on the younger Binay's suspension in exchange for P25 million each, allegedly through lawyer Pancho Villaraza. He said he is willing to reveal his sources to prove his allegation. READ MORE...

ALSO Abi Binay: Trillanes should apply for Ombudsman or NBI for his crusade vs the Binays


Abigail Binay 
- Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, daughter of the vice president, said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV should apply for the Ombudsman post or be part of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for his crusade against the Binay family. “Una, hindi Senado kundi Supreme Court ang may poder na magimbestiga sa Court of Appeals. Ikalawa, Ombudsman ang dapat mag-imbestiga sa amin, hindi sya. Kaya dapat mag-resign na sya dahil nasa mali syang trabaho. Kung gusto nya, mag-apply sya na Ombudsman o mag-NBI sya,” Binay said. Binay is referring to accusations by Trillanes that Court of Appeals justices were paid P50 million to issue rulings which stopped the suspension of her brother, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, for graft. READ MORE...

ALSO: Trillanes is asked to explain P245-M DAP funds higher than those of other Senators
[Nancy Binay stated: “There’s Oplan Stop Nognog for 2016… Now I found out that Sen. Trillanes got P245 million DAP from Sec. Abad,” she said in Filipino. “So if you connect the dots, they are all together, right? In a span of one year, he got P245 million from 2011 to 2012.”]


Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. STAR/File photo
- Sen. Nancy Binay dared yesterday Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to explain the P245 million in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds allocated to him from 2011 to 2012, higher than those of other senators. “Maybe it’s better that he does the explaining and show where the P245-million DAP went in a span of just one year,” she said in Filipino. Sought for comment, Trillanes said he is ready to defend the DAP as well as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocations under his name. “All my projects related to DAP/PDAF are posted in my website,” he said. In an interview yesterday ahead of the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpriced projects in Makati, Binay said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad seemed to favor Trillanes with millions in funds from DAP, which the Supreme Court (SC) has declared unconstitutional. “I am wondering if Trillanes is a favorite of Abad of the DBM,” she said in Filipino, referring to the Department of Budget and Management chief. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Trillanes not immune from suit’ - Junjun's legal counsel
[Trillanes repeated his goal was to jail Vice President Jejomar Binay, the frontrunner in opinion polls for the 2016 elections. “I want him in jail. Not only for his ratings to go down,” he said.]


TRILLANES 
THE camp of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. said Wednesday Senator Antonio Trillanes IV cannot invoke parliamentary immunity as a defense in the libel case they filed before the Makati City Prosecutors Office. Lawyer Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, said the senator made his baseless and malicious bribery allegations against the mayor and members of the Court of Appeals 6th Division in media interviews and outside Congress. “Mr. Trillanes cannot cower behind the doctrine of parliamentary immunity. His malicious and scurrilous accusations regarding the fictitious bribery charges against Mayor Binay were made in public, outside the halls of the Senate,” he said. Certeza also said Trillanes was not speaking during a Senate proceeding when he made the libelous statements. “Moreover, it was not made in relation to the discharge of his functions as a Senator. It is apparent that his motivation is to besmirch the reputation of the Binay family and destroy the integrity of the judiciary. He has consistently shown his utter disregard of the rule of law in order to further his selfish ambition. Thus, he must be held accountable,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO MAKATI MAYOR STANDOFF OFFICIALLY ENDS: Peña claims Makati ‘mission accomplished’


Shortly after announcing that he will go back to his post as vice mayor of Makati, Romulo ‘Kit” Peña (right) joins his staff in a boodle fight on Wednesday. DANNY PATA
Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. will now go back to his post following a month-long legal battle for control of the city against the incumbent Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay. Peña said he would step down after the Office of the Ombudsman through the Department of Interior and Local Government directed him on Tuesday to resume his duties as vice of mayor. Peña added he already notified Binay and members of the city council that he was going back to his post as vice mayor and as city council’s presiding officer. “Sa isang banda, mission accomplished po ako,” he said. Peña’s announcement came after the warning made by city councilors that he might face sanctions over his absences from the meetings of the Makati City council. Makati Councilor Alethea Casal-Uy said earlier the council would soon decide if it would push through with the probe of Peña’s absences in accordance with the rules as well as the Local Government Code. She said the rules say that if a member of the council has incurred at least four absences, he or she may be fined, suspended or even removed from office. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP Binay camp on Makati hotel issue: Conversion legal, overpricing just speculation


Groups protest in front of the Friendship Suites Hotel which was supposed to be a housing project for the informal settlers of Makati City. Facebook/United Makati Against Corruption 
The conversion of three buildings in Makati from a housing unit for the urban poor to a hotel serving the city’s guests is legal, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp said Thursday. In an interview, Binay’s spokesman, JV Bautista, said this conversion was approved by the Makati City council. "'Yung Friendship Suite, in accordance with proper Sangguniang Lungsod resolutions, binago na ho ang purpose noon,” Bautista told reporters. He explained that the Makati Friendship Suites was only conceived after the city government managed to secure lands for relocation sites in Bulacan and Laguna. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: One for the books
[The over-extended hearing of the subcommittee on Binay case in itself is an anomaly since the politically-motivated inquisition appeared to have unnecessarily defined the 16th Congress that is an appalling characteristic.
The Mamasapano incident, for instance, where more than 60 lives were lost, merited only three days of the Senate to form a report while the telenovela of Trillanes et al. is already running for the past eight months.]


King of intrigues Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should thank the Pampanga court for denying his plan to present as a Senate witness, disgraced businessman Delfin Lee, who, as president of Globe Asiatique, was alleged to have defrauded the government of at least P6.6 billion. Lee would have acted as witness in the upper chamber to an inquiry in aid of legislation. The court spared Trillanes of further ridicule from those who consider him as an empty legislator and one who merely capitalizes on the voters’ mistake of having placed him in the Senate to act as a stooge of the Palace in taking on members of the political opposition. More importantly, the court spared the Senate from being made a further object of mockery as it is now considered a poor excuse for a chamber of a legislature in the subcommittee of three holding an unending inquisition on Vice President Jojo Binay and members of his family. The court reversed an earlier order to allow Lee to testify in the Senate inquisition after Trillanes started to babble about the businessman being used to introduce new allegations against Binay for supposedly more recent irregularities already being the Vice President. Thus far, none of the allegations against Binay as mayor of Makati City had stuck despite the aggressive dissemination of his propaganda against the Vice President and his family. Instead, based on recent surveys, it is the accusers who have been suffering a decline in credibility and public support. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

UNA exec blasts Trillanes' 'political striptease'; It's all about the 2016 presidential elections  


2016 VP WANNABE AND HIS NEMESIS CURRENT VP BINAY

MANILA, APRIL 20, 2015 (ABS-CBN)  Posted at 04/15/2015 5:30 PM  - The secretary-general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Wednesday slammed Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his supposed "obsession" in throwing various corruption allegations against the Binay family in a bid to hurt Vice President Jejomar Binay's chances in the 2016 elections.

"It is very evident from his behavior, his demeanor, his obsession that this is really an attempt on his part to demolish and ruin the chances of the vice president in the 2016 elections," UNA secretary general JV Bautista said in an interview on ANC.

Trillanes, citing "reliable sources," recently accused two Court of Appeals (CA) justices of receiving bribes from the Binay camp to stop the suspension order against Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.

Trillanes alleged that CA Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction on the younger Binay's suspension in exchange for P25 million each, allegedly through lawyer Pancho Villaraza.

He said he is willing to reveal his sources to prove his allegation.

READ MORE...
Bautista, however, downplayed this, doubting that Trillanes will be able to support his latest allegation. He said it has always been the senator's tactic to throw accusations first before finding evidence.

"That's the problem with Mr. Trillanes. He has this technique of accusing now and find evidence later. In the process, he is destroying reputations and institutions... He's been engaged in this kind of political striptease, or if I may call it political burlesque, because he wants to tease the public...by accusing first and then little by little giving the public a peak of what he wants to show, but in the end he will show nothing," he said.

'REORIENT YOURSELF'

The UNA official also lambasted the senator for supposedly not understanding the rule of law.

He said Trillanes talks too much about the CA decisions in connection with the Makati mayor's suspension "without a bit of an understanding on what transpired during the oral arguments."

"I really doubt it very much if he has an inkling whatsoever about the issues that were deliberated upon by the Court of Appeals," he added.

Bautista also pointed out that Trillanes' job is to come up with good laws and not to determine who will and will not be sent to prison. Trillanes has said he wants the vice president go to jail.

"That is not the work of a senator. Mr. Trillanes should really reorient himself," said Bautista.

Meanwhile, Bautista also maintained that the Binays do not have any personal nor professional connection with Villaraza as well as his partner Atty. Bienvenido Somera Jr.

He said it would even be a welcome development if the two lawyers would appear before the Senate hearing on Thursday.

"These are very competent lawyers and they will be able to stand up to the bullying of Mr. Trillanes," he said.


ABS-CBN

Abi Binay to Trillanes: Resign, apply to be the Ombudsman or NBI ABS-CBNnews.com posted at 04/15/2015 9:12 PM


Abigail Binay

MANILA - Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, daughter of the vice president, said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV should apply for the Ombudsman post or be part of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for his crusade against the Binay family.

“Una, hindi Senado kundi Supreme Court ang may poder na magimbestiga sa Court of Appeals. Ikalawa, Ombudsman ang dapat mag-imbestiga sa amin, hindi sya. Kaya dapat mag-resign na sya dahil nasa mali syang trabaho. Kung gusto nya, mag-apply sya na Ombudsman o mag-NBI sya,” Binay said.

Binay is referring to accusations by Trillanes that Court of Appeals justices were paid P50 million to issue rulings which stopped the suspension of her brother, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, for graft.

READ MORE...
Trillanes is undeterred, however, as several sectors criticized him for throwing allegations supposedly sans evidence.

Trillanes, on Wednesday, said he would probe the Makati lawmaker's alleged misuse of her pork barrel.

"Nag-allocate ng pang-organic fertilizer, mga bulate, para sa Makati. Eh wala namang lupain doon," Trillanes told reporters.

Binay said she is ready to open her books since she has nothing to hide.

“Kung gusto nyang busisiin yung waste management program ko - anytime, ipapakita ko sa kanya. Wala akong itinatago. Dokumento, ebidensya, accomplishment report, picture - lahat meron ako,” she said.

She urged Trillanes to study the country’s laws rather than “bully” people.

“Tatlong araw na ang lumilipas, Wala pa tayong nakikita at sa halip na patunayan nya yung maling bintang nya, ngayon naman – ako ang paiimbestigahan niya dahil bully sya. Ako naman ang target nya dahil hinihingi ko nga patunayan nya ang mga bintang nya,” she said.

She challenged Trillanes anew to resign if he fails to come up with evidence.

“Dahil kung wala syang maipapakitang totoong ebidensya na tatayo sa kahit anong korte, ako naman ang may hamon: mag-resign ka na. Huwag mo gamitin ang Senado para sa propaganda mo,” she said.


PHILSTAR

Trillanes asked to explain P245-M DAP funds By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 17, 2015 - 12:00am


Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Nancy Binay dared yesterday Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to explain the P245 million in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds allocated to him from 2011 to 2012, higher than those of other senators.

“Maybe it’s better that he does the explaining and show where the P245-million DAP went in a span of just one year,” she said in Filipino.

Sought for comment, Trillanes said he is ready to defend the DAP as well as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocations under his name.

“All my projects related to DAP/PDAF are posted in my website,” he said.

In an interview yesterday ahead of the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpriced projects in Makati, Binay said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad seemed to favor Trillanes with millions in funds from DAP, which the Supreme Court (SC) has declared unconstitutional.

“I am wondering if Trillanes is a favorite of Abad of the DBM,” she said in Filipino, referring to the Department of Budget and Management chief.

READ MORE...
“Because when I computed the allocation for Trillanes, it came out as P245 million.

“There’s Oplan Stop Nognog for 2016… Now I found out that Sen. Trillanes got P245 million DAP from Sec. Abad,” she said in Filipino.

“So if you connect the dots, they are all together, right? In a span of one year, he got P245 million from 2011 to 2012.”

DBM documents on DAP showed releases of funds for various local projects under Trillanes’ name totaling P245 million.

Binay said the P245 million given to Trillanes came in three tranches – the allocations were different from the P200-million annual PDAF for each senator.

“PDAF was different from DAP,” she said. “We don’t know if there are others.”

Binay said she is wondering whether DAP funds are bankrolling the attack against the Binay family.

“Is it because of the millions in funds that they are insisting on wrecking the reputation of our family?” she asked.

Trillanes said he got the DAP and PDAF allocations when these were not yet declared unconstitutional.

“All of these were audited by COA and they did not see any negative findings,” he said.

At the height of the DAP controversy, former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, Sens. Franklin Drilon, and Francis Escudero received P100 million in the form of projects under the DAP.

The rest of the senators except for Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., supposedly got P50 million each, but they claim that they weren’t informed that the funds came from DAP, which were savings that the DBM had lumped into one fund.

In a privilege speech, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed that senators got P50 million in DAP funds in mid-2011 to vote in favor of convicting then chief justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial.


MANILA STANDARD

‘Trillanes not immune from suit’ By Joel E. Zurbano, Rey E. Requejo and Macon Ramos-Araneta | Apr. 16, 2015 at 12:01am


TRILLANES

THE camp of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. said Wednesday Senator Antonio Trillanes IV cannot invoke parliamentary immunity as a defense in the libel case they filed before the Makati City Prosecutors Office.

Lawyer Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, said the senator made his baseless and malicious bribery allegations against the mayor and members of the Court of Appeals 6th Division in media interviews and outside Congress.

“Mr. Trillanes cannot cower behind the doctrine of parliamentary immunity. His malicious and scurrilous accusations regarding the fictitious bribery charges against Mayor Binay were made in public, outside the halls of the Senate,” he said.

Certeza also said Trillanes was not speaking during a Senate proceeding when he made the libelous statements.

“Moreover, it was not made in relation to the discharge of his functions as a Senator. It is apparent that his motivation is to besmirch the reputation of the Binay family and destroy the integrity of the judiciary. He has consistently shown his utter disregard of the rule of law in order to further his selfish ambition. Thus, he must be held accountable,” he added.

READ MORE...
“For example, if I say Trillanes is a human trafficker and land grabber, but do not give any evidence and just tell him to prove otherwise, should that be accepted? It should not be but that has been the style of Trillanes. He accuses without evidence and then insists that the accused prove his innocence,” Certeza said.

At the same time, Certeza said they would welcome a Supreme Court investigation of Trillanes’ charges, as this would show there was no basis for the senator’s accusation.

Certeza also said they would also welcome the plan of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to conduct its own probe after Trillanes also accused lawyer Pancho Villaraza of facilitating the alleged bribery.

In an interview aired April 7 over several radio and TV programs and directly quoted in newspapers, Trillanes claimed that the mayor bribed members of the 6th Division of the Court of Appeals with millions of pesos in exchange for favorable action on his petition for a temporary restraining order to stop his preventive suspension.

In the news reports, Trillanes was also quoted as saying that the mayor and his family were “part of a syndicate” that has committed various crimes.

In his complaint-affidavit, Binay denounced the statements of Trillanes, saying these were apparently prompted by ill will and the intent to injure his reputation as well as that of his family.

“They were clearly made with no good intention or justifiable motive,” he said, noting that the senator himself admitted to reporters that he had no factual basis for his pronouncements.

Trillanes on Monday asked the Senate to investigate his allegations that Appeals Court Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta took bribes of P25 million each to stop the Ombudsman from carrying out its suspension of Binay over corruption charges.

Trillanes said the Senate committee on justice and human rights led by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III should investigate the matter.

Reyes and Acosta denied the accusation and asked that they be spared from political controversies that would jeopardize their judicial independence.

Certeza questioned Trillanes’ proposal for a Senate investigation.

“The judiciary is an independent body. The judiciary cannot be investigated by another institution,” he said.

Trillanes said he was ready to prove the P50 million payoff and two expose two new anomalies “as big as Hacienda Binay.”

He again refused to name the his two informants, saying only that they were “people who lived in that world.”

Trillanes repeated his goal was to jail Vice President Jejomar Binay, the frontrunner in opinion polls for the 2016 elections.

“I want him in jail. Not only for his ratings to go down,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

MAKATI MAYOR STANDOFF OFFICIALLY ENDS: Peña claims Makati ‘mission accomplished’ By Joel E. Zurbano | Apr. 16, 2015 at 12:01am


Shortly after announcing that he will go back to his post as vice mayor of Makati, Romulo ‘Kit” Peña (right) joins his staff in a boodle fight on Wednesday. DANNY PATA

Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. will now go back to his post following a month-long legal battle for control of the city against the incumbent Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.

Peña said he would step down after the Office of the Ombudsman through the Department of Interior and Local Government directed him on Tuesday to resume his duties as vice of mayor.

Peña added he already notified Binay and members of the city council that he was going back to his post as vice mayor and as city council’s presiding officer.

“Sa isang banda, mission accomplished po ako,” he said.

Peña’s announcement came after the warning made by city councilors that he might face sanctions over his absences from the meetings of the Makati City council.

Makati Councilor Alethea Casal-Uy said earlier the council would soon decide if it would push through with the probe of Peña’s absences in accordance with the rules as well as the Local Government Code.

She said the rules say that if a member of the council has incurred at least four absences, he or she may be fined, suspended or even removed from office.

READ MORE...
Peña returned unsigned two checks to the Treasury Department, one amounting to P927,545.20 for the salaries and allowances of councilors and staff, and the other for P144,500 in allowances for councilors.

He also refused to sign the payroll for the salaries of officials and personnel covering April 1 to April 15, which amounts to P620,410.90.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Peña assured the councilors he would immediately sign all pending documents relative to his work as council’s presiding officer, including the payroll of the employees.


The Kid relents. Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña shows a document from the Department of Interior and Local Government ordering him to resume his duties as vice mayor and cease from functioning as acting Makati mayor. DANNY PATA

Peña took over as acting mayor of Makati on March 16 after the DILG served the six-month preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman on March 10 against Binay in connection with its probe on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

But the camp of Binay was able to secure a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals, also on March 16, preventing the Ombudsman and the DILG from carrying out the suspension order against the mayor.

The leadership dispute created confusion among city residents and businessmen, while disrupting the delivery of services as department heads and members of the city council refused to honor the memos signed and issued by Peña.

The standoff also resulted in the delay of the release of salaries of city councilors and their staff as the vice mayor refused to sign payrolls and checks for the salaries of Sanggunian Panglungsod employees and councilors for the months of March and April, insisting that as acting mayor, it was no longer part of his duties.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

VP Binay camp on Makati hotel issue: Conversion legal, overpricing just speculation By ANDREO CALONZO,GMA News April 16, 2015 4:04pm


Groups protest in front of the Friendship Suites Hotel which was supposed to be a housing project for the informal settlers of Makati City. Facebook/United Makati Against Corruption

The conversion of three buildings in Makati from a housing unit for the urban poor to a hotel serving the city’s guests is legal, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp said Thursday.

In an interview, Binay’s spokesman, JV Bautista, said this conversion was approved by the Makati City council.

"'Yung Friendship Suite, in accordance with proper Sangguniang Lungsod resolutions, binago na ho ang purpose noon,” Bautista told reporters.

He explained that the Makati Friendship Suites was only conceived after the city government managed to secure lands for relocation sites in Bulacan and Laguna.

READ MORE...
"Iyan ho, dinesign para lipatan ng mga mahihirap na residente ng Makati. That was the original purpose of the purchase of the building, but eventually, the city of Makati was able to purchase ng property sa San Jose del Monte, Bulacan at sa Calauan, Laguna. Kaya hindi na kinailangan yung Friendship Suite,” he said.

At the same time, Bautista belied claims the hotel was only for guests from Makati’s sister cities, saying it was “open to the public” and only has selected guest rooms.

Earlier in the day, lawyer Renato Bondal accused the Vice President of using three buildings originally bought by the Makati City government in 2002 under Binay’s leadership as a hotel for guests instead of a relocation site for fire victims. (read related report below)

Bondal also claimed that the Makati Friendship Suites’ renovation was overpriced by P195 million.

But Bautista countered that such figure was only a product of Bondal’s guesswork.

"Eto na naman po si Attorney Bondal. Once again he comes out with his own mathematical computations that he just plucks out of thin air,” he said.

He added that the project had been scrutinized by the Commission on Audit. — RSJ, GMA News

PHILSTAR RELATED NEWS REPORT

Binay accused of getting P195M from hotel project By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated April 16, 2015 - 3:49pm

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay is facing new corruption allegations in relation to the Friendship Suites Hotel in Makati City and a relocation site in Calauan, Laguna.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing on Thursday, lawyer Renato Bondal revealed that the Vice President earned P195 million from the alleged overpriced Friendship Suites Hotel project.

In 2002, the City Government of Makati purchased three buildings worth P17.2 million at Barangay Cembo as a housing project for informal settlers in the city.

Bondal said the three phases of the project cost P119 million, P90 million and P33 million, respectively. The project was mainly for the remodeling of the three buildings.

The actual cost of the said project amounts to P242 million. The industry average cost of renovation during the time shows that the project should only cost P47 million, making the it overpriced by P195 million, he said.

"Ang Friendship Suites ay binili at ginastusan para sa pabahay ng mga mahihirap na residente ng Makati... pero ginagamit ni Binay bilang political tool. Ginawa niyang hotel para sa bisita niyang pulitiko sa Sister Cities program," Bondal stated in his presentation during the Senate hearing.

Bondal compared the Friendship Suites project to the Makati City Hall Building 2 and Makati Science High School which were also allegedly overpriced by P1.5 billion and P862 million, respectively.

"Ginagamit po nila 'yang Friendship Suites na 'yan for pure political mileage sapagkat wala naman hong kinikita yang hotel na 'yan na pumapasok sa kaban ng bayan ng Makati kung hindi puro gastos lang," the lawyer said.

The lawyer added that the project should have been for the informal settlers in Makati and not for the officials of its sister cities.

"Dapat pabahay ng mahihirap ng Makati, dapat natirhan ng mga nasunugan sa Makda, dapat 'yun pong aming mahihirap na kaya naman patayuan ng pabahay sa loob ng aming lungsod dapat hindi ginigiba, tinatapon," Bondal stressed.

He also accused the vice president of using the city's funds for his campaign during the 2010 elections.

The supposed beneficiaries of the Friendship Suites project were brought to a relocation site in Calauan, Laguna which is also allegedly overpriced.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

One for the books Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 15 April 2015 00:00

King of intrigues Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should thank the Pampanga court for denying his plan to present as a Senate witness, disgraced businessman Delfin Lee, who, as president of Globe Asiatique, was alleged to have defrauded the government of at least P6.6 billion.

Lee would have acted as witness in the upper chamber to an inquiry in aid of legislation.

The court spared Trillanes of further ridicule from those who consider him as an empty legislator and one who merely capitalizes on the voters’ mistake of having placed him in the Senate to act as a stooge of the Palace in taking on members of the political opposition.

More importantly, the court spared the Senate from being made a further object of mockery as it is now considered a poor excuse for a chamber of a legislature in the subcommittee of three holding an unending inquisition on Vice President Jojo Binay and members of his family.

The court reversed an earlier order to allow Lee to testify in the Senate inquisition after Trillanes started to babble about the businessman being used to introduce new allegations against Binay for supposedly more recent irregularities already being the Vice President.

Thus far, none of the allegations against Binay as mayor of Makati City had stuck despite the aggressive dissemination of his propaganda against the Vice President and his family. Instead, based on recent surveys, it is the accusers who have been suffering a decline in credibility and public support.

READ MORE...
The effort to present Lee at the Senate makes it its worst since even in an ordinary court hearing, the credibility of a suspected criminal would not merit any great value, more so in the inquisition which many see as being motivated to politically demolish the Vice President’s chances in the 2016 elections.

The over-extended hearing of the subcommittee in itself is an anomaly since the politically-motivated inquisition appeared to have unnecessarily defined the 16th Congress that is an appalling characteristic.

The Mamasapano incident, for instance, where more than 60 lives were lost, merited only three days of the Senate to form a report while the telenovela of Trillanes et al. is already running for the past eight months.

The subcommittee hearings are even turning to a noontime show that the public watches to while the time away as most of the topics being discussed are not even understood by the public since it involves complicated business transactions that it seems even the troika of anti-Binay senators are having a hard time following.

Without the presence of Lee, the subcommittee had to be contented with the old fare of the Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP) transactions which Binay’s political rival in Makati City had alleged were the source of kickbacks for Binay.

The explanations given by the private partner of the BSP in a Makati City project were even brushed aside as propaganda by Trillanes as he insisted on his allegations that Binay was a recipient of huge bribes from the private company.

Trillanes and Pimentel realizing that they were going nowhere on the BSP allegations then decided to postpone the hearing on the issue until they can again haul officials of the private company for maximum media exposure.

They then turned to the lawyers of Delfin Lee and allowed him to speak on behalf of the disgraced businessman despite an earlier ruling in the inquisition disallowing lawyers to argue in behalf of their clients in the Senate inquiry.

Lee’s lawyer was given all the Senate time he needed to discuss Lee’s case which is the subject of the court case in contrast to the earlier rejection of the Senate body of lawyers representing the Vice President to speak in behalf of Binay.

The melodrama, nonetheless, continues and it is expected to do so until the campaign period of next year and thus make it qualify for the Guiness Book of Records the longest Senate inquisition ever held.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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