• Bungling the Binay debacle

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    Sixteen months into the official campaign period for the 2016 presidential election, the allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, perceived as the most formidable of possible candidates, are becoming more serious.

    The longer the Vice President refuses to recognize the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s investigation of his alleged corrupt activities and delegates to spokespersons the task of denying the accusations, the more people would believe his erstwhile trusted allies.

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago raised a valid point when she said that Binay is courting impeachment for betraying public trust if he continues to dismiss the allegations of corruption hurled against him and his family as part of a demolition job to destroy his chances of getting elected in 2016.

    Santiago said it is about time that Binay confronts his accusers and present pieces of evidence that would dispute their claims of corruption and ill-gotten wealth.

    “That is the normal reaction of an innocent person. He tears at his hair; he drives himself through the roof, he shouts to high heavens for justice, and then presents his evidence. He cannot just say, `they’re all lies, I deny all of them.’ That is not a defense. The presumption of innocence is not a defense,” Santiago said in an interview after she delivered a speech at the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards, Inc. (PAREB) in Muntinlupa City on October 10.

    At the same time, it is not difficult to understand where the Vice President stands.

    “Ikaw kaya, sa mga napanood mo sisipot ka doon? Mata lang ang walang latay,” Binay said in a conversation with reporters. “Kawawa ka sa mundo, pinagdududuro ka, sinisigawan ka, tinatakot ka pa. Sila na lang ang magmoro-moro doon.”

    The Vice President seems to have embraced the adage “less talk, less mistake.”

    How do we get out of this political mess?

    Binay cannot be charged in court because he enjoys immunity from criminal suit. The Senate does not have prosecutorial powers to indict the Vice President. Who among the congressmen would dare impeach him when surveys show him to have the highest approval rating among prospective candidates?

    Yes, the Senate investigation may indeed have political colors given that the senators at the forefront have declared their intention to seek either the presidency or vice presidency, most probably under the administration umbrella.

    Mercado’s testimony appears credible because he was part of some of the transactions and he candidly admitted it. Yes, he has an axe to grind against the Binays who had frustrated his desire to become mayor. He would have been the recipient of the largesse that the Binays had if the Vice President did not field his wife and son to succeed him when he ran for higher office.

    The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has extended its investigation of the allegedly overpriced P2.3-billion, 11-storey Makati City Hall building 2, to give Binay another chance to answer allegations that he received 13 percent kickbacks in every public works contracts in Makati City when he was still its mayor, and that he had arranged that public biddings be rigged for favored contractors.

    On October 8, Binay’s erstwhile ally and former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado presented video footages and still photos of a 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas that purportedly belonged to the vice president but was allegedly registered in the names of dummies to hide his ownership of the properties, as well as other corporations.

    We have seen in previous exposes how public officials conceal ownership of bank accounts, properties and other assets to avoid getting tracked down.

    The entry of the Department of Justice (DOJ), through the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), into the scene would hopefully find a way to establish the paper and people trails that could clearly establish ownership of the properties purportedly owned by the vice president and his family.

    Hopefully, the NBI agents who would work on this would not be manipulated to favor one party over the other, and come up with credible findings that would either clear the innocents or prosecute the guilty. The situation presents a good opportunity to the DOJ and the NBI to prove its neutrality and credibility.

    Let us hope that the probe was not intended only to bring Binay’s ratings down.

    One positive outcome that this hullabaloo could possibly have is for the voters to responsibly exercise their right of suffrage, to scrutinize the candidates that they vote into office.

    We could not just sit idly by and watch politicians who can sing, dance, and cry as they relate their sad beginnings to dominate public office. We should not leave our fate to those who rely on dole outs during the campaign season. It is about time to go out, register and exercise the right to vote.

    Credible election results could perhaps entice more people with genuine concern for public service to offer themselves as candidates in future elections even if they don’t know how to make people cry with their sad stories, or laugh with their out of tune singing or jokes.

    The Binay ruckus is all about politics, dirty politics at its best.

    Comments are welcome at tvalderama@yahoo.com

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    13 Comments

    1. The only reason why Binay refuses to appear before the Senate inquiry is that he has no truthful answer to the allegations against him. The witnesses, his own trusted men of old, one he stabbed in the back, have a strong consistent case against him.

      All his excuses are just that, excuses. In the Senate hearing he knows he has to give sensible and intelligent answers. None of those one sided speeches that answers nothing.

    2. Senate probe is all talk…
      Trillanes was one of the panel that basically demolished Gen. Reyes and most likely drove him to suicide…

      did anyone file a court case?
      was anyone convicted?
      was their any law crafted to address the “findings”?

      None!

      end this waste of time.
      file a case or legislate..
      just be done with it!

    3. Romulo A. Cator on

      I am a 74 year old man but I am still active both mind and body. I strongly agree with the good Senator Santiago when she said that “the presumption of innocence is not a defense”. I believe it is about time that VP Binay must face his accusers to answer questions concerning the allegations hurled at him and his family. I believe this is the right time for him to appear at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to answer inquiries pertinent to the allegations of corruption. This is the right thing to do.

    4. westphilippines on

      Eto ang problema, pinipilit natin na mag-isip tulad ng mga abogado. Yung maliliit na tao na na-sentensiyahan ng libo libo lamang, wala tayong pakialam at hindi tayo lumalagay sa gitna. Pero eto, paano ninyo matatanggap sa sarili ninyo ang pamilya Binay! Alam natin na maliit lang ang pasweldo sa gobyerno kung hindi ka gagawa ng paraan. Eto, buong pamilya, nasa pwesto di ninyo makita ang problema? Butas ng karayom, nakikita natin pero ang butas ng palakol hindi! yung sinabi nila na lease lamang, mali pa rin iton kung ang pagbabasehan natin ay ang kakayanan. Gusto natin masabi na malawak ang ating pag-iisip pero lumalabas wala tayong pagmamahal sa bayan natin.

    5. puro kau politika there are so many problems that need attention one is employment bakit di ito ang bigyan solusyon instead of the 3 itlog trilanes, cayetano pimentel sobra pagiging buwaya at linta ng 3-itlog na yan sayang ang boto ko sa 3 iyan.ito si tita mag advice ka ng maganda huwag kang pumapanig jyust put urself in the middle.

    6. Ito na ang pagkakataon na isang katuald ni Ka Blas o kaya ni Mambo Magsaysay ang lumutang para adhikaing tumakbo ng pagka-Presidente ng RP. Kung si Bnay at manok ni TWA ang magtutunggali sa 2016 PRES eleksyon, kawawa naman ang RP taumbayan, dahil maraming political debts ang babayaran..at marami rin ang maniningil. Kaya siguro ang mga grupo ng estudyante, mangangalakal, relihiyon, labor union, mga guro, etc…ay magkaroon ng isang pag-uugnayan at itayo ang isang pangalan upang ikandidato bilang PRES sa 2016. Ito lang ang ating magagawa upang mabago ang kalakarang pulitika na umiiral sa pangkasalukuyan.

    7. The present political situation of a leading presidential aspirant is not rosy as it seems as long as the doubts and questions are not answered and remain in the minds of the suspicious and unrelenting public.

    8. people lie but evidence (true and not planted) does not lie. a person who accuses anybody without any solid proof to back up his allegations is absolutely lying. only a naive will believe a person who accuses another person without solid proof and just rely on mere testimonies even corroborated by another person…

      the best way to end this circus is to gather all the evidences and testimonies and file a case in a proper court where all parties are given fair chance to prove the allegations or innocence… the public is not the right forum to judge innocence or guilt but is just a forum for tsismis and wordmongering!

    9. “Let us hope that the probe was not intended only to bring Binay’s ratings down.” How naive can you get Ms. Valderama?

    10. I am not a Binay supporter. But I am on his side against a 3 person kangaroo court. The Senate should not waste our money on political attacks.

    11. Jose A. Oliveros on

      The Vice President of the Philippines is not immune from suit; unlike the President of the Philippines and presidential immunity from suit is not by express constitutional provision but by jurisprudence. This privilege is even personal to the President and cannot be invoked by his subordinates acting for and on his behalf. It is not, therefore, correct to say that VP Binay “enjoys immunity from criminal suit.”

      The anti-Binay bias of the three members of the Yellow Ribbon Subcommittee is not only obvious but evident. Advising VP Binay to appear before that body is like advising a girl about to be raped to still spread her legs.

    12. Ano naman ito si Tita Valderama. Hindi mo ba nakikita ang kayamanan nina Vice J Binay? Maliwanag pa sa sikat nang araw.

      seguro ang ibang mga filipino laki-lakihan ang mata para makita.Saan kinuha ang pera?

    13. MADAM WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE IT TO THE OMBUDSMAN, THE CASE IS WITH THE OMBUDSMAN, WHY WE ARE WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY TO SENATE INVESTIGATION WHICH IS CRYSTAL CLEAR POLITICALLY MOTIVATED? IF THEY ARE REALLY WANTING TO SOLVE CORRUPTION, WHY ARE THEY NOT INVESTIGATING THE LARGE SCALE SUPREME COURT RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL PDAF/DAP CORRUPTION ASSOCIATED WITH BUYING OUT OF ENTIRE CONGRESS TO IMPEACH POOR CORONA; THE MRT MESS INVOLVING A FAVORED CONTRACTOR WHERE BREAKDOWNS STARTED IN 2011 UP TO PRESENT UNDER AQUINO REGIME PLUS THE HELLISH METRO MANILA TRAFFIC PLUS THE ELECTRICITY ELECTRIFYING HIGH COST AND BLACK-OUTS… HAVING ITS MAXIMUM EFFECT TO US THE LAW-ABIDING FILIPINOS WHICH IS THE FAVORITE PUNCHING BAG TO ABSORB ALL THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT.. WHICH IS A LESSER PRIORITY THAN THE MILF REBELS RECEIVING BILLIONS OF PESOS OF FUNDING FROM THE AQUINO DAP.. GOD SAVE US FROM THIS HIGHLY POLITICIZED UNCARING GOVERNMENT WHOSE FAMOUS WORDS FOR US “IS THAT WE ARE STILL ALIVE, SO WE SHOULD JUST KEEP QUIET” AND TO HIS BLIND FOLLOWERS.