• Prove raps vs Binay – Palace

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    MALACAÑANG on Wednesday dared critics of Vice President Jejomar Binay to prove allegations that he got kickbacks from the construction of the controversial Makati City Hall 2 building and that his family owns a vast estate in Batangas province.

    While keeping a safe distance from the ongoing Senate investigation of the allegations against the Vice President, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Binay’s critics should present evidence to back up their claims.

    Lacierda added that the government is not using any of its resources in what appears to be an effort by Binay’s foes to reveal the Binay family’s supposedly undeclared wealth.

    “We again go to the basic principle of he who alleges must prove the same. We are not aware of any moves by anyone in government. We are not using government resources as to how these are being revealed,” the Palace official told reporters.

    According to him, he was not even sure if President Benigno Aquino 3rd has been following the Senate hearings.

    “Like you, this is the first time we are looking at the video presentation of Vice Mayor [Ernesto] Mercado. We can say categorically that we are not involved in any way,” Lacierda said. He was referring to the vast estate in Rosario, Batangas, that includes expensive infrastructure supposedly owned by the Binays.

    The camp of the Vice President immediately denied the allegations.

    Lacierda maintained that whether the 350-hectare property really belonged to the Binays, those who accuse them and the public are in the better position to evaluate the facts. He said Malacañang’s comment is “immaterial.”

    “We will not comment on his statement that it is politically motivated. That is a strategy that he employs on his part and so we won’t comment on that. But if you are asking us if we are involved in any way in this matter, no, we are not,” he said.

    “It is not a question of interest. It is not a question of interest of the Palace. It is all laid out in the revelations in the Senate hearing. So whatever is our interest, whatever is our comment on the matter is not material, as this has already been laid out for the entire public to see,” the Palace spokesman pointed out.

    Lacierda explained that since the investigation had been launched by the Senate, the lawmakers should do what is right.

    “Again, our comment will be immaterial because this is being launched or conducted by the Senate, so they have their own mind as to the investigation proper. Senators [Antonio] Trillanes [4th], [Alan Peter] Cayetano and Sen. [Aquilino] Pimentel [3rd] have already explained the role of the Senate blue ribbon committee,” he said.

    But while it is the right of the Senate blue ribbon panel to investigate, Lacierda argued that it is “also the right of Vice President Binay and his family to respond to these allegations.”
    Malacañang, according to him, will defer to the Senate action on the case.

    “We don’t even know what revelations, in fact, I was not aware of the revelations that they were going to present today. So, it’s up to the Senate blue ribbon committee to decide and we don’t know who their witnesses are,” Lacierda said.

    “So, again, we are all observers in these events being played out,” he added.

    Gov. Jonvic Remulla, the Vice President’s spokesman on political concerns, said Mercado’s claim that Binay owns an estate in Batangas is a dud.

    “It was no surprise that the detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay will attempt to link him to the property ever since we revealed the helicopter sighting a few days ago,” Remulla added.

    “The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima expose.’ Any doubt that the Senate probe was after legislation on Makati City Hall Building 2 has been erased by today’s hearing,” he said.

    The Office of the Vice President (OVP) earlier disclosed that employees of a piggery and flower farm leasing a property in Rosario, Batangas, reported seeing a helicopter flying around the property last week.

    The OVP said based on records, the lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

    Martin Subido, Binay’s legal counsel, said the Vice President had leased, not owned, a property in Rosario for JCB Farms.

    “From 1994 to 2010, the Vice President operated a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas.

    This piggery business was a sole proprietorship duly reported in his SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth] and in his ITRs [Income Tax Returns],” Subido added.

    “The Vice President did not own any land where his piggery business was operated.

    Rather, he was a lessee of around nine hectares of land, with the improvements he introduced for the piggery business duly reported as ‘Leasehold Improvements’,” he said.

    Binay sold the piggery farm in 2010 to Agrifortuna Inc., a company owned by Laureano Gregorio. Binay and his wife had been incorporators of Agrifortuna for a paid-up capital of P50,000 but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

    “In 1995, or almost 20 years ago, the Vice President and his wife sold their interest in Agrifortuna to Laureano Gregorio who likewise subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60 percent of the company. These are reflected in the filings of Agrifortuna with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission],” Subido said.

    Gregorio made additional investments in Agrifortuna in 2008 that gave him 97 percent ownership of Agrifortuna.

    “The house, swimming pool and garden mentioned in reports are not owned by the Vice President. They were owned by Laureano Gregorio,” Subido said.

    “At present, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation is the absolute owner of the improvements and facilities mentioned in today’s inquiry. In fact, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation has likewise introduced new improvements such as an asparagus farm, greenhouses for high-value crops, hotel, all in line with its vision to create an agri-tourism park.”

    Lawyer JV Bautista, interim secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said the Vice President will answer the issues raised against him but not before the Senate.
    “Definitely, the Vice President will explain. The people deserve an explanation and he is not running away from these [issues]but he will not do it before the [Senate] sub-committee which is already polluted,” Bautista added.

    He said the sub-committee, which is headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, has refused to follow its own rules.

    The UNA cited the panel’s decision to junk the jurisdictional challenges filed by the Binay camp seeking to stop the Senate inquiry into the Makati City Hall Building 2 for lack of jurisdiction.

    The challenges were filed by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., Ebeng Baloloy, Makati legal officer Pio Kenneth Dasal, former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra, University of Makati professor Tomas Lopez of University of Makati and some department heads of the Makati City government.

    Pimentel junked all five motions and push through with the hearing on Wednesday.

    “How can a sub-committee decide on matters and questions that have been raised before the mother committee?” Bautista asked.

    The Makati mayor reiterated that the inquiry being conducted by Pimentel’s sub-committee is not in aid of legislation but a mere act to determine the fitness of his father to run as President in 2016.

    “The ongoing inquiry has clearly gone beyond the scope of its original purpose,” he said.
    “If they [senators]think that they can prove that there are irregularities, then they can bring them to the Ombudsman,” the Makati mayor added.

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    17 Comments

    1. Have you observed that both columnists and most people who respond to them seem to spend all their energies by expressing their emotions, their outrages on anything wrong in this country? Not even with logic or reason as long as they appear passionate! The work is mostly by their mouths! No energy is left for concrete, necessary, and practical work that should eliminate the problem. No energy left for their hands working and feet moving to get things done! All work is to produce air!

    2. if Binay’s explanation and defense on this issues are true then the person or persons spreading this false accusations and rumors should be charged for or sued for defamation of character and pay damages and some imprisonment. this false rumors can be serious and damage the reputation and future of the person accused. especially VP Binay who is running for president in coming elections.

    3. lorenzo legisniana on

      it’s about time the binays specifically the vp should confront his accusers at the senate hearing..otherwise slowly he will be losing in the field of public opinion

    4. Hacienda sa Batangas..at walang pumiyok na taga-roon…Ate Vi and Hubby tulog yata kayo diyaan. Something humongous and smelly and nobody dared to ask or simply for future political aspiration safety net. This is the reason BNAY KO PO sa 2016 will be worst than the FM regime. MELDY has the shoes while the Lady Doc has the British Garden and she was merely the wife of lower ranking gov’t official. Frozen Man (FM) got most of his wealth while the Boss of RP, BNAY while lording over a Class A City. Now we come to know about his LORDSHIP ESTATE here in RP….wait till someone stumbled on some numbered accounts somewhere outside RP and this is not far fetched considering that a crook has always a Plan B.

    5. Being amateurish and myopic, the executive and the legislative branches of the Phillipine government are building and encouraging conflicts instead of relationship. This is the reason why governance has gone haywire. Problem resolution can’t be done through recrimination and division, especially national problems. This is a basic concept that even a lowly citizen accept as truth but PNoy and his lapdogs in the Senate and House of Representatives are doing the opposite. There are institutions that should take care of those malfeasance as these senators are very happy to go after, like the Ombudsman, etc., but they seem to relish their acts, which is however understandable being traditional politicians. The Senate Blue( is it Yellow?) Ribbon love to do their inquisitorial mandate to the hilt just to push for their political ambitions. The committee, since the PDAF investigations, is drunk with its mis-used power and clearly the dumb media and citizens are entertained.

    6. Sa dami ng mga nakakadudang paliwanag tungkol sa mga nakakadismayang nangyayari ngayon sa ating bayan at pamahalaan, may napapansin ako kapag humaharap sa media o kaya nagsasalita sa T.V. si Mr. Lacierda at Mr. Coloma-parang nagkakapareho na lang ang facial expressions nila at hindi na makatingin ng derecho sa tao. May iba pa bang pwedeng maging spokesman ang Malacanang na medyo disente, kapani-paniwala at nakakawiling pakinggan?

    7. kaming mga mamamayan naghahanap ng katibayan sa mga bintang…may mga opisyal at legal na papeles ba c mercado na ipapakita na c binay ang nagmamay-ari ng hacienda?..sinasamantala ksi ng mga senador at mga resource person ang katangahan ng mga pilipino na maniwala agad kahit tsismis lamang ang ebidensya….tanga ka rin…??
      !!!

    8. OIC palang si Binay, kilala na si Dra. Elenita Binay na bumibili ng orchids in thousands of pesos noon palang 1980’s. Kilala rin na si Jejomar Binay ay dating mahirap, siya mismo ang nagsabi niyan. Malinaw pa sa araw na ang kayamanan nila ay nakaw. Hindi man nagsalita si Mercado, kalat na yang information na corrupt si Binay. May kamag-anak ako na nasa construction at siya mismo sinabi niya na hindi na siya kumukuha ng project sa Makati dahil sa laki ng hinihingi ni Binay. Dati raw, isang unit lang sa isang building, ngayon daw isang buong floor na!

      Kung wala tinatago si Binay, bakit di siya sumipot sa Senado at sagutin ang mga tanong? Bakit di niya ilabas si Limlingan para linisin ang pangalan niya? Simple lang naman kung wala kang ginawang masama, sagutin mo ang mga accusations.

      • wala akong tiwala dyan sa mga binay. They are a bunch of corrupt government officials. lahat na lang sa kanila. Vice President, Congressman, Senador, mayor..Tingnan nyo ang mga kakampi di ba puro mga kawatan. Si enrile na dating defence minister ni marcos. si dating pres estrada at mga anak nya, lahat yon ay magnanakaw..ang mga tao naman madaling makalimot binoboto pa rin. Kapag si BINAY ang mananalong presidente, magdasal na tayong lahat at wala ng matitirang pera ang gobyerno. Makikita na lang natin ang sobrang kayamanan ng mga BINAY. Ayyyy nako. Ipagdasal na lang natin ang ating bansang pilipinas.

    9. Wala talagang kahihiyan ang tatlong itlog na senador natin, kasama na yung lider-lideran nila. Tuluy-tuloy lang sa kaga$#@&^ nila. Di ba mas tamang I-demanda na lang ang mga Binay kung totoo lahat ng mga ibinibintang sa kanila? Kung in-aid of legislation lang ito, hindi pa ba sila nakakabuo ng batas na gagawin nila mula sa mga narinig nila sa nagdaang mga public hearing nila.

      Bumababa na rating ni VP Binay, puede na silang huminto at I-follow through na lang nila sa pagdedemanda. Doble pa pakinabang ng bayan (kung iyon talaga gusto nila mangyari).

    10. Rolando Sapayla on

      Binay’s family are worst than arroyo. Jun jun is so arrogant even before his dad became as Vice President. His sister Nancy looks a Katulong and not as a senator. Your hiding a lot of ill gotten wealth that makati poor residents should have received.

    11. Simple lang sana ang gawin ng mga Binays, go to the Senate hearing and answer all the allegations against them once and for all para wala nang masyadong istorya kung nag nakaw ba sila o hindi. Kung hintayin natin ang imbestigasyon sa Ombudsman baka abutin pa natin ang siyam siyam. Alam naman natin ang justice system sa Pilipinas mabagal at pumapabor lang sa mga maykaya baka matapos na ang termino ni Binay sa pagkapangulo e nasa Ombudsman pa rin ang kaso. Political motivation as a reason to dodge the Senate hearing is nothing compared to the serious allegations of stealing people’s money. Nakakahiya tayong mga pinoys sa mga mata ng buong mundo.

    12. I noticed that one item connected directly or indirectly to the issue of the Makati Building 2 probe that has just been ignored was the killing of Engineer Nelson Morales. Was there any investigation done at all after his death? Or was the issue treated as another of many things that had been reserved along the lines of-“Oh well, life goes on!”

    13. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

      “Binay’s critics should present evidence to back up their claims” according to Lacierda. What a “charade”! Not only Binay, but also the president’s partymen being investigated for corruption, instead of defending them even at the start of allegations. Everything is politically motivated. and going to “nowhere”; the country and the prople will always be the victims of too much politics in the country. with insincere leaders.

      Charge the Binays, the PNP Chief, the ariculture chief, etc. and, ultimately, the CI Chief. .This is the real transparency!.

    14. Mr. JV Bautista. Senator Guingona and Senate President Drilon already referred and given authority the sub-committee to decide the matters which was junked. Read the rules of the Senate before you keep on going to media press releases which is not under oath. You are only trying to confuse the public which are not idiot like some highly educated and highly paid lawyers.

    15. How? Mr. JV Bautista? It is when the mother commitee says that the sub committee can make that ruling, or is vested with powers inherent in it, to make the ruling. simple, really.

    16. Revilla, Subido and JV Bautista hanggang kailan ninyo ipagtatangol ang kasuwapangan ng mga Binays. Sana magalit ang Diyos sa pagtatangol ninyo sa mga kasinungalingan ng mga Binays. Huwag ninyong sabihin “trabaho lang ito” dahil pag nagalit ang DIYOS sa inyo ay sana mas masahol pa sa impyerno ang patutunguhan ninyo. Hindi natutulog ang Diyos at alam niya kung sino ang nagsisinungaling. Ang asawa ni Binay ay masahol pa pala kay Imelda.