WITH time no longer on their side, detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay are getting more desperate
to throw mud at him, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim secretary JV Bautista
said on Wednesday.
According to Bautista, pro-administration legislators investigating the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2—Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th, Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino Pimentel 3rd—have again exposed their biases by threatening Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and city officials with contempt while allowing former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and other witnesses against the Vice President to lie under oath.
“They no longer have issues to throw against the Vice President, that’s why they are now bordering to threaten Mayor Binay of contempt. Don’t they [the senators]have better things to do than wasting taxpayers’ money to bankroll their 2016 presidential ambitions?” Bautista said in a statement.
The UNA official added that the three senators are becoming frantic because the allowable time for them to conduct hearings is coming to an end.
Lawyer Rico Paolo Quicho, the Vice President’s spokesman on political affairs, said the contempt threat was meant to drum up interest in today’s hearing.
According to Quicho, members of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee are just looking for issues to hurl at the Vice President, including the alleged use of funds from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).
“Makikita n’yo na pattern ito. Talagang inaatake nila ang lahat ng achievements ni Vice President Binay. Nag-umpisa po sila sa Makati. Nakita po ng mga kababayan natin na puro kasinungalingan ang pinalalabas ni [former]Vice Mayor [Ernesto] Mercado [You can see the pattern. They are attacking the Vice President’s achievements. They started with Makati. The people saw all the lies being thrown around by former Vice Mayor Mercado],” Quicho said in a separate interview with radio dzRH.
Mercado had claimed that Binay, who serves as the BSP national president, abused his power to benefit from Alphaland’s City Club development that was built on a BSP-owned property.
But Quicho vehemently denied the accusation, saying that, on record, no less than the president of Alphaland certified that the project was above-board.
Meanwhile, Bautista said “instead of presenting hard facts, the three senators froth and screech at anyone who don’t toe their line on testimonies of witnesses that do not jibe with their script and agenda.”
He added that the statements of Mercado and Renato Bondal are “hyperbolic, exaggerated, distorted and untrue, completely a product of fiction coated with false claims and fascinating storylines.”
Bautista noted that Mercado and Bondal lied under oath several times, yet they were not even admonished by the senators, and were even admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) upon recommendation of no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon.
“Mercado and Bondal have used the mantle of the WPP to continue with their lies at taxpayers’ expense. If you can recall and it is on record that Mercado had claimed the Vice President owns a log cabin in Tagaytay Highlands. The corporation that owns Tagaytay Highlands issued a formal statement denying it,” he said.
The UNA official added that the scheduled resumption of hearings and those conducted in the past were “part of the organized efforts of administration allies to politically undermine the credibility of the Vice President.”
“No amount of self-serving investigations and bogus exposes can counter and discredit the good things the Vice President has done and given to the people,” Bautista pointed out.
With the threat of contempt on Mayor Binay and other Makati City Hall officials, the UNA official said Mercado and the senators present a picture of desperation.
“The people’s interest in them has faded away. They are getting more desperate by the day. Sa sobrang atat nilang ipitin ang Bise Presidente, di na nila inirespeto ang mensahe ng Santo Papa, at tuloy-tuloy na naman ang kanilang mga kasinungalingan [In their eagerness to pin the Vice President down, they did not even respect the message of Pope Francis, and they continued to peddle lies],” Bautista added.
He reiterated that Mercado made unsubstantiated statements and so many others under oath, and were exposed as lies, but the senators did not cite him for contempt.
In the case of Mayor Binay and city officials, they were merely invoking their constitutional rights but the senators now want to cite them for contempt, Bautista said.