The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday refuted allegations of ghost beneficiaries of Makati City’s social welfare program for senior citizens as it dared the Senate witness to file an affidavit outside the Senate to prove his claim.
“Makati senior citizens personally apply and submit documents before they are enrolled.
They go through verification. Benefits are received personally. The Social Welfare Department has a system to delist deceased beneficiaries,” Joey Salgado, media affairs chief of the Office of the Vice President, said.
“Assuming without conceding the existence of fake beneficiaries, where is the evidence to show any link to the Vice President? None, because this is another tall tale,” he added.
Salgado clarified that senior citizens who have moved to other localities but who are registered voters of Makati remain beneficiaries.
“Mr. [Arthur] Cruto had no objection to this when his mother was living in Cavite but remained a senior citizen beneficiary,” he said.
The Vice President’s spokesman also branded witness Cruto’s testimony as “demolition by Powerpoint” as he dared Cruto to execute an affidavit outside the Senate sans immunity.
“The supposed ‘findings’ presented by Mr. Arthur Cruto are misleading and the conclusions pure conjecture. [Just because the beneficiaries are unverified, his conclusion is that the beneficiaries are ghost beneficiaries],” Salgado said.
“But what can we expect but lies from a known protégé of ex-Vice Mayor Mercado?” he added.
“We invite Mr. Cruto to execute an affidavit and repeat his statements outside the Senate so we can file the appropriate case against him. Malakas ang loob nila kasi binigyan sila ng immunity ng mga senador para malaya silang makapag-sinungaling at siraan si Vice President [They are given immunity by the senators for them to be able to lie and smear the Vice President],” Salgado said.
The Liberal Party and the Mercado cabal in Makati City, according to him, are raising ghost issues to deflect public focus from the deteriorating public service and the return of “fixing” and other forms of corruption at City Hall.