Vice President Jejomar Binay will be judged by the people, not by his critics who have implicated him to alleged graft and corruption when he was still mayor of Makati City,
Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City said on Saturday.
Gatchalian, who is being considered as one of Binay’s senatorial candidates in 2016, noted that the public, not Binay’s accusers, will be the ultimate judge.
“For those who believe in the integrity of Vice President Jejomar Binay, there is no need for additional explanation. But for those who are against Vice President Binay becoming president in 2016, no explanation is possible,” he said in a statement.
On Thursday, Binay addressed allegations that the Makati City Hall Building 2, which was constructed when he was mayor, was overpriced and that he benefited from the project.
Gatchalian, a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said the Vice President’s speech was not for the critics but for ordinary Filipinos.
“The issue of overpriced building is very complicated for ordinary people to understand. Numbers are hard to understand. The speech crafted in straight Filipino was directed at Juan de la Cruz. I believe the Vice President delivered his message clearly,” the lawmaker said.
“The 2016 Presidential elections will be participated in by the Filipino electorate and they will be the ones who will say if the Vice President will be the next president of the Republic,” he added.
Gatchalian said Binay made a good point when he drew the line between those who want to help the poor and those who do not care about them.
“I could not agree more with the Vice President when he said that his fight was for those who, day in and day out must fall in line to get a ride on the MRT and the LRT, braving the traffic and flood, and going home at night with fear in their hearts because of rampant criminality,” he added.
In a related development, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said on Saturday that Binay did not mean to insinuate that the structures inside the Batasan Complex, namely the Mitra Building and North Lounge extension, were also overpriced since these were built by Hilmarc’s Construction Corp., which also constructed the Makati City Hall Building 2.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said Mitra building houses the offices of lawmakers which are all each equipped with bathrooms, while the North Lounge extension is being used by the House Secretariat and the Office of the Speaker.
Remulla, who serves as Binay’s spokesperson for Political Affairs, noted that the Vice President merely wanted to convey the cost per square meter in comparison with different public buildings undertaken by the same contractor.
“We concede to the point of Speaker Belmonte that the Batasan Pambansa building is a very different public building. A major cost factor for Makati Building 2 is the strengthening of the structure built beside a river, which people in offices must share with moving vehicles in an elevated parking garage,” Remulla said.
“This is all the Vice President wanted to convey, and there was no intent to offend the Speaker,” Remulla added.