The issue is bigger than Binay

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A distraught reader asks, How can three brash young men, in such a hurry, go berserk in the Senate without being restrained and held to account by the leaders of the Chamber or by the other members? Why have we not heard from the other senators whose faces we see in all sorts of cheap commercial ads and who are occasionally mentioned as “presidential aspirants” for 2016? Have we become so numb or impotent against this lawless display of power?

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Somewhere in the text, the reader identifies the three brash young men as Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Aquilino Pimentel 3rd. The Binay camp calls them and their allies his “detractors.” Vice President Binay has refused, correctly in our view, to honor their invitation to appear before a subcommittee of the Senate blue ribbon committee, which is investigating his alleged wrongdoing and ill-gotten wealth when he was still mayor of Makati.

But on Tuesday he met with Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the public affairs chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reportedly to shed light on the allegations against him. No details have been reported about the meeting. But one malicious texter has suggested that Binay had gone to the bishop for confession, in an effort to obtain “absolution, without restitution.”

This is clearly foul. Confession is a private conversation between a priest and a penitent, inside a confessional, without the media watching from a distance, waiting for a statement. What took place was a private meeting between a hierarch of the Church and a public official, while the media waited outside for a possible statement. It was preceded by a press release saying Binay would like to tell the bishop the facts about the allegations coming from his “detractors.”

Binay’s spokesmen were less than precise in referring to his accusers as his “detractors.” This was not the right word at all; they are attack dogs, pure and simple. One commits the sin of “detraction” when one reveals to another a third person’s private faults without any valid justification. Thus when somebody informs the media that her female celebrity-friend cannot let a single day pass without having to have a male companion in bed, she is guilty of detraction.

The information may be true, but its public disclosure does not serve any good at all. So if you simply call your accuser a “detractor,” you question your accuser’s motive in revealing your private fault, but you do not deny the truth of the allegation. This is not the case of Binay. He has denied everything, so he is dealing with false accusers rather than mere “detractors.”

Now, the CBCP has a genuine interest in finding out the truth or falsity of the allegations against the country’s second highest official. But the CBCP, like the Senate blue ribbon committee, is not the forum, and cannot be the forum to proclaim the Vice President guilty or not guilty of the allegations. It has to be the courts to do this, and the senators’ duty is to go to court if they honestly believe the VP is guilty of any serious wrongdoing. But by throwing all those bricks against Binay in a forum that cannot usurp the court’s function, they may have simply turned him into an underdog, if not some kind of political martyr.

Their worse mistake is that they have given the impression that, as far as they are concerned, the 2016 presidential campaign has already officially begun, and that Binay is already an official candidate for President. Their more serious mistake, which is not less than a crime, is that they have given the impression that they are prepared to participate in any presidential election under prevailing conditions, without first recasting the system that has been thoroughly corrupted and debased by the rigging of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) voting machines in 2010 and 2013.

For many thoughtful and patriotic Filipinos, this is the real issue rather than the worthiness or unworthiness of any presidential aspirant at this point. This is what the legal technicians call the prejudicial question. Four years into the Aquino presidency, we have come to realize that because the PCOS machines were thoroughly corrupted, and it was a private foreign company rather than the Commission on Elections that conducted the elections, we did not have a real and valid presidential election in 2010 nor a real and valid senatorial election in 2013.

Of course this position is debatable. But it impugns the legitimacy of the national officials “elected” in those elections. This is why the National Transformation Council insists that before we start talking of the next presidential elections, and who should be running or not running there, we must first overhaul our electoral system under a non-partisan, multisectoral transitional council, which is not identified with any presidential aspirant.

This is where Trillanes, Cayetano and Pimentel could meaningfully intervene, if they will. Like the NTC, they could insist on a credible electoral process as a conditio sine qua non for the holding of the next elections. Of course, the three senators are committed to destroying Binay. But they certainly have sent themselves on a fool’s errand if they believe that by doing what they are doing they have moved themselves and their rumored principal, Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas, closer to inheriting Malacañang after B. S. Aquino 3rd steps down.

There’s no logic to this whatsoever. By their sheer arrogance and abrasiveness alone, they have destroyed themselves much more than they could have possibly destroyed Binay. If the surveys are to be believed, although I have very serious reservations about them, the three young men are now bleeding (politically) more profusely than Binay. But whether or not the nation’s thirst and hunger for decency and fair play succeeds in giving Binay a much fairer deal, we have to agree that our most pressing business is to get rid of all our corrupt politicians as the Supreme Court has ordered, and a growing number of citizens insist upon. We must change the corrupt regime and the dysfunctional political system before 2016.

fstatad@gmail.com

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39 Comments

  1. silencio mapagmasid on

    Quote from a comment
    I lived in Makati for 15 years and several years of that before Binay took over.

    Over time I started hearing rumors, talks in coffeeshops, restaurants, business clubs, etc. about corruption, anomalies at city hall, re purchases, building permits, etc. I was president of a makati rotary club and you meet and talk to a lot of people in business and in government. And I heard all this.

    I won’t get into those details since that’s the topic of at least one senate investigation. But I will share something people should know. In his 2010 political infomercials, Binay implied, suggested or inferred that he brought about free or subsidized education, free hospitalization and other public services and benefits to Makati City. Long before he came to power as mayor,

    I had been made to understand that the Makati Medical Center had long been donating 20 Million pesos per month and some or all of its doctors and staff had been giving pro bono services to the Ospital ng Makati.

    Free and subsidized education had long been paid for by a percentage of the real property taxes from the city’s property owners. I know because we still have property there for which we pay taxes and the receipts show that 20% goes to provide educational subsidies and scholarships to indigent students.

    Clearly the scholarship program had already been in existence under Binay’s predecessor, former makati mayor Nemesio Yabut. I’m not a fan of Yabut’s, never voted for him, but it’s the truth. I also know this because my wife was a “Yabut scholar” at Pio del Pilar high school in Makati. Funeral benefits, birthday cakes,etc., were already being done long before Binay.

    So I wondered, Why didn’t Binay ever give credit or recognition to Yabut, the Makati Medical Center, its doctors, nurses and staff, the taxpayers of Makati?? He took all the credit for himself to make himself look worthy or better than he was. And he was very poor when he started. Look at him now…

  2. At least one of the CBCP members does not believe Binay’s presentations. He even said that he is scared if Binay becomes a president. Why he said so. Binay is a pathological liar. He only said he is not guilty without proofs. He has never been transparent and accountable.

    • silencio mapagmasid on

      This is TRUE
      “I don’t believe him, his explanations were unconvincing and I’m scared at the thought of him becoming President,”Fr. Gariguez said at a press briefing.
      Ahhh , So why the Vice President hurriedly left, he was exorcised

  3. Mario Antonio G. Lopez on

    The seeds for this deep systemic corruption goes all the way back to our colonial history and was further deepened by the regime Mr. Tatad served faithfully. Our tragedy as a people is that we do not read and heed our history properly. We find ourselves denying relaity and living illusions of our own creation. I do not excuse the gross shortcomings of the Aquino Regime. But we will be foolish to think that getting rid of it without uprooting the systems that helped bring it about will bring the changes we want.

  4. Absolution without restitution? Simple restitution can consist of the donation of the whole kit and caboodle to the City of Makati. That is, if it’s citizens can stomach the flamboyant bad taste of the developments and improvements on that Batangas property. Who was it who said, “some people have taste; some only have money.” Again, to quote Eamon de Valera: “What is morally wrong cannot be politically correct.”

  5. Whether or not the senate is the proper forum is not the issue here. The issue is that, despite all the allegations and documents presented that leads to the conclusion that Jejomary Binay is corrupt, he refuses to respond to these allegations. He instead opts to attack the 3 senators, an “ad hominem” issue if I may say so. Defending himself is as simple as presenting more solid evidence against the documents and information presented against him.

    The only reason why the 3 senators continue their hearing is because the public is on their side. The very moment the public is against them, these 3 will stop with the proceedings. The only way for VP Binay to convince the public of his innocence is to go to the senate, face the senate blue ribbon committee, and present undeniable evidences that will destroy the credibility of all the evidences presented against him.

    • The 3 stooges at least have got the balls to expose the corruption that some are trying to cover up in the hope that binay will throw some crumbs to them if binay (OMG,pls no) wins in 2016.

  6. Francisco Sevilla on

    Kit, why explain to CBCP? The bishops are not the ones accusing Jojo Binay. The Senators are. So he must go and confront his accusers. If his conscience is clean and he is able to convince them, he might win them over to his side. By refusing to face them, he is digging his own political grave. If the accusations are true, then accept his guilt, renounce his sins, be remorseful, restore the loot. Then reconciliation will follow and in no time, we will have a President Jejomar C. Binay.

  7. I never knew that CBCP as a body is receiving communion. Tatad confuses priest with CBCP. At any rate, CBCP is not the proper forum. The senate is. At CBCP matters discussed are hidden from the people. Before the senate, issues are discussed before the people. Besides, the stand of CBCP on corruption is nebulous. Remember their silence on GMA.

  8. How could one attend to a forum and defend his position if long before that same forum has declared him guilty. And even if he attends and answers the question it is expected that they will call him liar. What’s the point? Let the three senators face Binay before an impartial Tribunal.

    • Kung assumption guilty siya-Let Binay refute it. The Public will see if there is bias and intimidation. If there is-The more they will love Binay. Habang umi iwas si Binay-common sense will tell you-The guy is truly Guilty

  9. Rene L. Canlas on

    Tama si Sen. Miriam Santiago..ang taong walang kasalanan at malinis ang konsensiya ay hindi takot harapin ang mga batikos at katiwalian na binabato sa kanya…pero ang taong may tinatagong mga kasalanan ay iwas ng iwas humarap sa katotohanan at ang daming dahilan na hindi katanggap-tangagap sa taong bayan. Mga kababayan, gumising na po tayo sa pag boto sa mga taong tatakbo sa 2016. Panahon na para maupo ang mga taong hindi magnanakaw at tapat sa bayan. Ang political dynasty sa ating sistema ay dapat ng matigil para ang corruption sa gobyerno ay matigil na rin or at least mabawasan man lang.

    • Tama ka dyan Rene, matuto na dapat ang mga Pilipino. Sa kasabihan, kung walang usok ay walang apoy. Kung totoo na wala syang kasalanan ay dapat harapin niya. Ang taong bayan ay di mangmang sa mga kasalukuyan na nangyayari. Ang magnanakaw ay walang puwang upang maging lider.

    • Tama. kahit ano pa man ang KASALANAN mo, pinaparatang man o ibinibintang sayo. DAPAT at Dapat lang na HARAPIN mo at ipagtangggol mo ang iyong sarili either to DENY or Shed Light, or worse but better aminin and be sorry kung may kasalanan ka nga… Yung mga ibang ATTY na magkokoment, (bato bato sa langit…) puro RULE of this and That Presumption of Innocence before the trial etc. etc. Di po ako nag aral ng pagkaabogasya o Abogado. Napasimple lang po naman ang tanong at ibig malaman ng katulad kong isang simpleng botante. KAYA MO BANG IPAGTANGGOL ANG SINASABI MONG sinisiraan KA lang? at Kung naging PRES nga ang ating Mahal na Vice- Pres. Binay e, pag tinuligsa ay sasabihin Pinagkakaisahan at sinisiraan sya… Ari-arian palang po nya ay ganyan na ang sinasabi or alibi(?) e pano na po kung Buong Bansa ang Bibigyan ng SOLUSYON sa magkakabilang Problema. Observation ko lang po sa mga nagdaang araw…

  10. Herman P. Hondojare on

    Dear Filipinos,

    The Facts and Truth about the allegation to VP Binay dismissed by Sandigan Bayan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jejomar_Binay

    Graft Charge
    In October 2006, the Department of the Interior and Local Government issued a suspension order against Binay, Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, and all members of the City Council following an accusation of ‘ghost employees’ on the city payroll by former Vice Mayor Roberto Brillante, a political rival.[7] Refusing to cooperate with the suspension order, he barricaded himself inside the Makati City Hall. Among those who expressed support were former President Corazon Aquino, actress Susan Roces – the widow of the late movie star and 2004 opposition presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. – and several Catholic bishops.[8][9] After a three-day stand-off, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order. Before it lapsed, the court issued an injunction order, thereby preventing the Office of the President from enforcing its suspension order until the case was resolved.[10]

    Binay was upheld by the courts in a graft case filed by the Ombudsman over allegations of overpricing in the purchase of office furniture. The case was also filed by Brillante, who at that time was leading in Makati a Palace-supported signature campaign to amend the Constitution. The Sandiganbayan Third Division dismissed the graft case filed against him and his six co-accused for lack of factual basis.[11] Critics claim

    BIR
    On May 2, 2007 the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) froze all the bank accounts of the city government of Makati and the personal accounts of Binay and Mercado.
    And again, barely a week before the local elections, the Ombudsman suspended him based on allegations made by a local candidate allied with Malacanang. It would be revealed that the charges were supported by falsified statements. In a repeat of the October 2006 incident

  11. These are the irreducible facts in this frenzy over Binay. He is courting the voters to make him president. His own people in the Makati City Hall are accusing him of monumental corruption. He responds by resorting to legal sophistry, as if two lawyers arguing over the law can actually settle anything. The language of truth is plain simple and unadorned, according to the bible. Let me reduce this burning issue to one plain and simple question: do you think Binay has passed this major test of his character as a presidential candidate?

  12. Ang bottom line nito is that question nagnakaw ba si binay o hindi? Binay should answer this question showing evidence kuna paano siya nagkaroon ng ganyang kalaking pera. Hindi puro general statement na political attack kuno but show us in detail kung saan mo kinita yang pera mo. Logic lang na magkano ba ang sweldo ng mayor ng Makati at saka bago ka maging mayor magkano ba ang assets mo?Totoo ba ang tsismis na six months ka pa lang mayor ng makati ang dami ng suot na alahas si Dr.? Power point presentation from the start kung paano mo napaangat ang buhay mo at pag napakita mo yan na wala kang ninakaw seguroda ako pang-ulo ka ng pinas.

  13. we now know how Binay handles political pressures: he avoids them. That
    is not a good trait for a self-proclaimed presidential candidate, and
    not a very hopeful future for us if ever binay gets to be president. to
    paraphrase a qoute : “if binay can’t stand the political heat, he should
    get out of the government” pakipost comment ko ha, walang violation sa comment guide yan, baka naman ayaw mo lang ng anti-binay post kaya di nyo nilagay

  14. Bert O. Romero on

    I fully support VP Binay’s decision to snub Senator Guingona’s invitation and the other invitations earlier extended by the senate’s subcommittee. If he appears before any forum inquiring on VP Binay and his family’s alleged corrupt activities, his appearance will erase any lingering doubt as to their guilt. With his continuing refusal to appear before the senate, at least he is able to maintain the fiction of innocence. Remember the saying its better to keep one’s mouth shut leaving other people to think he’s a thinker rather than opening his mouth and leaving no doubt he is empty headed ? Only in the issue at hand, what is involved is not stupidity but corruption.

    • This is not a good strategy to be quite or “stay out of the oven” as they say. If you are being accused then face your accuser. Binay should be aware of the Bill of Rights Article III Section 14.

  15. The political system is dysfunctional. Money and only money is the driving force. We must remove all unallocated funds from the budget. We must pass a FOI law. Then we will have cut off the major flow of money and can see what the government is doing. It is not the end-all, but it is the beginning of correcting the system. If we take the money away, then ideas will be honestly debated to improve the Philippines.

    • Disagree with your first three sentences. The political system in our country is great. It was patterned from US constitution. It is the bad behaviour and effective implementation of many of our government officials who do not adhere to the system. What’s lacking is the check and balance. Money is not the sole force and removing funds does not solve the problem.

  16. NO NEED FOR LONG INSINUATIONS TO FIND THE TRUTH. ONLY THREE WORDS TO DISPROVE THE ALLEGATIONS THAT BINAY IS CORRUPT AND AMASSED ILL GOTTEN WEALTH. THE WORDS ARE EVIDENCE, EVIDEMCE AND EVIDENCE DISPROVING THE ALLEGATIONS.

    • “Affirmati Non Neganti Incumbit Probatio” is a Latin maxim that means “the burden of proof is upon him who affirms – not on him who denies.”

  17. The people yearns what is the truth about the cancer of corruption in our society. Of course we based on evidence adduced. What then and where is then the best forum? Our courts?the ombudsman?,the sandiganbayan?, the courts of appeals?, the supreme court?
    While these are our institutions founded by us under normal conditions, they are but a few to listen and evaluate the evidence presented. The public is practically excluded! With the notoriety of some of these institutions, we the people have lost our sense of reliability on some of our institutions some of which are open within the commerce of men . It is on these senatorial public exposures where the people who care, really care for country that will rendered the verdict.

  18. These 3 muskethieves know that they may have no direct evidence or any credible evidence against Jojo Binay other that tsismis, loose talk or lies so they are trying to put Binay guilty by inuendos. Agree, if they have concrete evidence, they should file a case already rather than organize a circus and follow self-serving script. They should follow the lead of Mejorada and company who filed cases against Drillon et, al in the office of the Ombudsman. As simple as that, if one is talking fair play.

  19. Yousuf Ibrahim on

    Mr. Tatad that is your line of thinking or I would say perception and I don’t agree with any of it.

  20. Even though that the three senators are labeled by the supporters of VP. Binay, as attack dogs, they now, become an instrument by many Filipinos local and abroad to find the truth, how this politician starting as mayor became so wealthy without being helped by other means. It is becoming more credible that something is fishy going on, with this family’s wealth that needs to be known before he runs for Presidency of the republic. The country is waiting for an honest, fearless, disciplined, scrupulous person to be the next President. May God help the country and people.

    • Absolutely correct Nito! There are many Filipinos who don’t agree with Kit’s line of thinking. I only agree on confession which is must remain private between the priest, the confessor and God. For sure there are people who are enraged with the aggresive questioning of the 3 senators. But this is a very good technique of increasing the heat to get the truth and get us to the bottom of the real issue. And Binay is unfortunately the real issue full stop. Do we want a President who is questionable on his integrity?

  21. Dear Mr. Tatad,

    Whom Mr. Binay calls detractors, the 3 musketeers of the Senate, may have done their inquiries (investigation, inquisition) in not a lawful manner, hence they should stop and do it the correct way.

    However, the people’s questions still stand, “What fortune does Mr. Binay and his family possess? How did he obtain them?

    When will the country have leaders whom the people will be proud of? I am dreaming, I’d say if we all shun corruption, cheating, stealing and whatever synonyms there are in the vocabulary, beginning today, in our homes and teach the children, especially those who are yet to be born, we will have good leaders in the year 2050 or so.

    More power to you, sir. I remain,

    Very respectfully

  22. we now know how Binay handles political pressures: he avoids them. That is not a good trait for a self-proclaimed presidential candidate, and not a very hopeful future for us if ever binay gets to be president. to paraphrase a qoute : “if binay can’t stand the political heat, he should get out of the government”

  23. Sana lahat ay sumang ayon na linisin at alisin ang lahat ng corrupt Official ano man ang kulay na sinusuppotahan nila, para sa ikabubuti ng bayan.
    Dapat ang lahat ay makipagtulungan,.ang tanong mangyari kaya ito?sana!

  24. Mr Tatad calls Binay an “underdog’ if not a political martyr” for investigating Binays unexplained wealth and alleged corruption activities as Mayor do Makati. Just because the three Senators insist that Binay explains his side on all the serious charges, the Senators are abrasive and arrogant. I believe that the three Investigating Senators are pursuing the right track to bring out the truth of Binays true moral character, especially Binay has openly declared his strong and unabashed intention to become President. The hearing of the Binays source of unexplained wealth gives the people the opportunity to know the real Binay and family as persons and as a rich leader though Binay proclaim himself as pro-poor as he was once poor? The Senators’ line of questioning of Binays supporters and political enemies are not inquisitorial but rather guidance for resource person to tell the truth, so that no stone is left unturned.
    Mr Tatad labeling Binay as underdog, short of a political martyr, is a very prejudicial comment devoid of personal objectivity as a so-called journalist. Just because the Senators are aggressively pursuing the inquiry against Binay who tried to be elusive and hiding behind his own spokespersons, you make him an underdog or political martyr. The issue or accusations are not simply a a minor lapse of judgment in performance of official duties or a misdemeanor, they are bigger than the Sierra Madre mountain that involves the interest of the whole country. Imagine having a President whose previous behavior in running a small city is so corrupt that he became rich and millionaire from overpricing, commissions and kickbacks of all projects and making him own an Hacienda worth 1.5Billion of real estate. What happen if he becomes the President to the financial and social projects and development for the country. Such blemish on Binays reputation will provide a chaotic perception that Binay as president will be more corrupt and promote Family Dynasty.

  25. Mr. Tatad, how about if you also include cleansing of the courts of corrupt judges/justices. These corrupt men in robes contribute to the distrust of most Filipinos in the dispensation of duties of elected and appointed officials of our country.
    The erosion of values creeps in the daily life of people day after day directly and indirectly caused by the different things going on in the government from the barangay all the way to the national level and the impact of consumerism and media to the people’s psyche. The marginalized and ordinary citizens struggle to survive day to day and yet get bombarded by issues of greed and/or nonchalance attitude ( by those in power and in business), criminality, unabated corruption in the different sectors of society, disregard/delayed attention to victims of calamities, etc. Have we ever stop to think, really think even for a moment what kind of foundation we’re building for the future youth? Is it only about short-term goals to acquire this and that, go to places advertised by media, post on Facebook/Twitter, Instagram what new signature clothes were bought and worn where and other mundane things. Is this the direction our country is really headed for?

    • VP Binay already proved that he can work the sandigan bayan, that’s why I like the hearing to on, once it goes to court everything will be suppress and issue will be subject to privacy. Why is Mr Tiu could easily file charges against Sen Trillanes and Binay camp cannot file any charges against Mercado?

  26. Any leader worth his oats and wrongfully accused of graft and corruption should face his detractors head on if he wants to be the leader of 100 million citizens.

  27. That’s a good one … Great joke (and many Pinoys would say… makes sense, siguro nga!!!) that Binay had gone to the bishop for confession, in an effort to obtain “absolution, without restitution.” Wala ding taxation.