PROPONENTS of the so-called “Oplan Nognog” will stop at nothing to prevent United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer Jejomar Binay from winning in May, his spokesman said on Thursday.
Joey Salgado, UNA’s campaign communications director, said an elaborate plan against Binay is being carried out relentlessly by people identified with the camp of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
“As far as we know, they will not stop especially now that the VP [Vice President] is leading the SWS [Social Weather Stations] presidential survey,” Salgado told The Manila Times. “Oplan Nognog is their plan to discredit the VP through Senate hearings,” he noted. Nognog in the vernacular is a derogatory word that refers to a person’s dark complexion.
The latest SWS survey showed Binay edging out his rivals at 29 percent.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe tied at second place with each getting 24 percent.
Besides being at the tailend of the surveys, Roxas’ rating dropped from 21 percent to 18 percent in the January survey.
Talks about “Oplan Nognog” were revived as Binay’s lawyers scored two supporters of Roxas for refusing to respond to questions they posed about secret meetings at the Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) Tower in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City (Metro Manila), where the two and a few others allegedly plotted to destroy Binay’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential elections.
“Francis Enrico ‘Eric’ Gutierrez, who owns SR Metals Inc. and subsidiaries San R Mining Co. and Galeo Equipment and Mining Co., and Salvador ‘Buddy’ Zamora, who owns Nickel Asia Corp., refused to answer the Written Interrogatories served to them that sought to elicit their answers on their participation in the conspiracy to destroy the name and reputation of the Vice President,” Binay’s lawyer Claro Certeza said in a statement released to the media on Thursday.
By not answering, the duo indirectly confirmed that there is a demolition job against Binay and his family, Certeza added.
Written Interrogatories, he explained, is a mode of discovery that allows a party in a legal case to demand that the adverse party answer under oath questions material to the case.
Gutierrez and Zamora were supposed to file their answers 15 days after receipt of the Written Interrogatories served on January 28. The questions were required to be answered under oath.
“The plan to derail Vice President Binay’s presidential candidacy allegedly includes the numerous Senate blue ribbon sub-committee hearings, the Ombudsman cases filed by Mr. Renato Bondal, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) strong-arming the Vice President and his supporters,” Certeza said.
Gutierrez and Zamora are among several individuals named in a P200-million damage suit filed by the Vice President before the Makati Regional Trial Court.
The two also refused to confirm that Senators Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th and LP stalwart Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Rep. Edgar Erice also attended at least one of the supposed meetings when the demolition job against Binay was discussed and planned.
Certeza claimed that the two businessmen also refused to confirm that Hernani Braganza, Ronald Llamas, Dexter Estacio, Mari Jogardi, Ariel Olivar, Erwin Antonio, lawyers Jaye dela Cruz and Sarah Lou Arriola, Cecilia Lero, Vince Dizon, Ching and Babes Suba, Raul Ang, Cora Dacong, Dan Kelly and Giboy Salapantan were also present during these meetings.
Estacio, Jogardi, Arriola and Dizon are members of Cayetano’s staff.
“Gutierrez and Zamora also refused to answer if they personally knew AMLC officials Amando Tetangco Jr., Teresita Herbosa, Emmanuel Dooc and lawyer Julia Abad; if they were provided copies of the AMLC report on the bank accounts and financial records of the Vice President; and if the said report was discussed in their meetings at NAC Tower,” the Binay lawyer said.
“The two also refused to answer whether they made contributions to Roxas and the LP for the 2010 elections and are making contributions to fund the LP and Roxas’ presidential campaign for 2016,” Certeza added.
The camp of Binay also alleged that Erice and a person connected with LP accompanied Gutierrez to a meeting to negotiate and discuss a loan Gutierrez had with a banking institution.
Binay’s lawyers also sought to determine whether Gutierrez and Zamora owned the helicopters used to take the aerial footage shown by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado during his testimony in the Senate against Binay.
Gutierrez is the owner of the Cessna planes being used by Roxas in his campaign trail. The two businessmen, said to be among then-Sen. Benigno Aquino the 3rd’s biggest campaign contributors in 2010, were also accused of meeting with witnesses who testified against Binay in the blue ribbon sub-committee hearings.