The Senate blue ribbon sub-committee finally ended on Tuesday its investigation of allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay when he was the mayor of Makati City.
The usual resource persons like former Makati City Mayor Ernesto Mercado, Renato Bondal, and Mario Hechanova attended the hearing presided by Senator Aquino Pimentel 3rd, the chairman of the sub-panel. He was joined by Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th and Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
“We will end today with the consent of the author of the resolutions. This representation would like to assure everyone that legislative ideas based on the evidence that we have gathered and our findings on the two resolutions shall be forthcoming,” said Pimentel in his opening statement.
No new issues were presented in connection with the corruption allegations against Binay. The resource persons only summarized the issues that were previously tackled by committee.
Bondal highlighted the vice president’s declared net worth which he claimed to have increased by 2,300 percent from P2.5 million in 1998 to P60.25 million in 2014.
“If that’s P2 million then, what’s it’s value now?” Enrile asked, to which Bondal replied that he based his figures on the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of Binay.
Bondal also tried to establish Binay’s ties with Gerardo Limlingan, the alleged bagman of the vice president by linking him to JC Foundation.
But Enrile said that he sees no direct link between Binay and Limlingan to the foundation that reportedly oversees control of dummy corporations allegedly connected to the vice president.
Bondal also tackled the 242 bank accounts allegedly belonging to the Vice President but was named after various dummies including Limlingan and Eduviges Baloloy, Binay’s secretary.
The said bank deposits and financial instruments amounting to P11 billion were ordered frozen by the Court of Appeals last year.
Enrile however said that there was nothing in Bondal’s presentation that could involve the vice president directly, adding that he only managed to show Limlingan and Baloloy transferring money to each other.
Trillanes after the hearing maintained that the evidence gathered during the inquiry was enough to be used as basis for the impeachment of Binay in case he becomes president.
But the camp of Binay said the hearing ended the same way it began: with half-truths, rehashed lies, and baseless allegations.
“The sub-committee’s so-called final hearing highlighted the obvious. After 25 hearings, no credible and admissible evidence has been presented to support the outrageous allegations against the Vice President. The hearings were just a waste of time and resources of the Senate,” Rico Quicho, presidential spokesperson for political affairs, said.
Quicho said the final hearing showed that the resource persons, particularly Bondal and Mercado, have no personal knowledge whatsoever of the issues they testified on.
“Mr. Bondal based his testimonies from newspaper clippings from a biased newspaper.
Mr. Mercado, meanwhile, merely repeated the lies that he has been peddling since the hearing started last year. He even maintained the lie that there are ghost employees at Makati City Hall even if the head of human resources appointed by the acting mayor of Makati has testified before the Makati city council that Makati has no ghost employees,” he said.
“The rest of the ‘testimonies’ are just political rhetoric from a vice presidential candidate lagging behind in the surveys,” Quicho added.