CONTRARY to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s claim, it was Vice President Jejomar Binay who categorically refused to appear in any advertisement of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund), according to lawyer Darlene Berberabe, the agency’s president and chief executive officer.
“Hindi totoo na [It’s not true that] Vice President Binay tried to influence Pag-IBIG into coming up with an advertisement… a political advertisement. That was never on the table,” Berberabe said on Thursday in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
Berberabe clarified that what was discussed by the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees were the institutional advertisements that promoted Pag-IBIG Fund’s services and benefits and who would be the best spokesman for the agency to appear in the commercials.
“Kukuha ba tayo artista, kukuha ba tayo ng talent, iyong presidente ba, iyong chairman ba? And in fact, ito ay pointed kong tinanong kay Vice President Binay, ‘Sir, ito po ang mga na-discuss, ano po bang tingin n’yo rito?’ And, categorical, sinabi ni Vice President Binay, ‘Basta hindi ako [Will we get an actor, will we get a talent for such advertisements, will it be the agency’s president, the chairman? I told the Vice President what the board had talked about and asked him what he thought of the plan to come up with the institutional advertisements. He categorically said such advertisements were okay but that he would not be the one to be featured in the advertisements],’” the Pag-IBIG Fund top official said.
Also on Thursday, Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance, slammed Cayetano for “another glaring display of hypocrisy” when he said the Vice President had wanted to use Pag-IBIG funds for political advertisements.
Tiangco tossed back to Cayetano his accusation because the senator has been appearing in political advertisements using Taguig City (Metro Manila) when he is not even the mayor of the city.
The city’s leader is Cayetano’s wife Lani.
According to Tiangco, the cost of Cayetano’s advertisements has been estimated at around P500 million but the senator has not been candid about who is paying for them and if Taguig funds were used.
“Cayetano once again displayed his trademark hypocrisy. Not only that, he again confirmed his reputation as the ‘Queen of Chismis [Gossip] and Intrigue’ in the Senate when he made that false statement about the Vice President,” the congressman said.
The UNA official added that the senator is also fond of “projecting” his values and actions, thinking other public officials think and act the way he does.
“Sa Taguig nakita ng COA na may malinaw na overpricing. At dahil alam naman ng lahat na siya ang talagang nagpapatakbo ng Taguig, yan ay kagagawan nyang lahat. Ngayon, ang akala ni Sen. Cayetano lahat ng taga-gobyerno gaya nya kaya inaakusahan nya ang iba kahit walang katotohanan [In Taguig, the Commission on Audit saw overpricing and, since everybody knows that he is the one running the city, he should be answerable for it. Now, he thinks that everybody in the government is like him and so he accuses them falsely],” Tiangco said.
He added that Cayetano can even be accused of false advertising when he also claimed in his political advertisements that there is no corruption in Taguig City.
“No less that the Commission on Audit (COA) uncovered these shocking anomalies in its audit report. These are adverse findings of overpricing, missing inventories, ghost employees, overpayment. How can Cayetano reconcile these actual and verified audit findings with his TV ad message? That’s false advertising,” Tiangco said.
The Vice President, in a separate interview with TV5, said another detractor, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, besides being a congenital liar, is suffering from a psychological state called “messiah complex.”
Trillanes recently accused Binay of allegedly favoring certain contractors, an allegation refuted by Berberabe.
Berberabe, in the ANC interview, decried the senator’s smear campaign against Pag-IBIG Fund even as she assured fund members that all of the agency’s transactions are above-board.
“So I want to assure the members that, you know, we really think about our moves, our decisions, in every contract that I signed, in every decision that I make, I always think if I’m going to be asked, I can defend it, even in the Senate,” she said.