No smoking gun vs Binay – analyst

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SENATORS’ efforts to link Vice President Jejomar Binay to the owner of an agritourism park in Batangas province have failed, but damaged the institution in the process, legal and political analysts said.

Ramon Casiple, a respected political analyst, particularly mentioned Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th who he said is “performing an investigation in aid of elections.”

Casiple said Trillanes cannot prove Binay’s connection to businessman Antonio Tiu, the real owner of the vast Sunchamp Park in Rosario, Batangas, because “there’s no smoking gun.”

“There’s no direct connection to VP [Vice President] Binay in terms of ownership of [pieces of property]or participation in the alleged practices. Material evidence is lacking,” he noted.

Other observers shared the views of Casiple, also noting that the way senators are handling the investigation of the allegations against Binay is doing the chamber more harm than good.

They said the “lynching” of resource persons during previous hearings could boomerang on them.

“There should be open-mindedness. Instead, conclusions have been made,” said Dr. Antonio Contreras, a political analyst and professor of law at the Dela Salle University.

In a radio interview, Contreras said members of the Senate blue ribbon sub-Committee–Senators Trillanes, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Alan Peter Cayetano–have clearly shown bias against invited guests who are presumed to be identified with Binay, including Tiu, who was alleged to be Binay’s “dummy.”

Contreras observed that when former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and other “witnesses” spoke, there were no interruptions and they were allowed to finish their statements.

“But when Tiu was talking, they [senators]butted in,” he said.

Contreras added that Filipinos are not stupid and many already frown on the lawmakers’ “antics,” which may cause damage to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Dean Amado Valdez of Far Eastern University Law School said the sub-committee was looking at the wrong angle in attempting to connect Tiu with Binay. He pointed out that the explanation given by Tiu was more believable under common practice and the law.

“What Tiu as a businessman is doing is consolidating property, and purposely not getting deed of sale outright because he will be going against provisions of the agrarian reform program. But from a practical point of view, this is what businessmen are doing to compete against big international players who hold hundreds of hectares of land parcels in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.,” Valdez explained.

In the Philippines, he said, one cannot own more than five hectares at a time “so you compile land to compete against international business.”

“You purposely veer away from being the nominal owner so as to not run afoul of the Philippines’ agrarian reform law. But you have all the right to use, transform, destroy, etcetera, the property being the lawful owner,” Valdez added.

Even the photos exhibited by Mercado, he noted, have no value in court because the case would be solely based on the argument that he used to be an employee or colleague of the Binays.

“There are many versions of occupying a property, not necessarily owning it. The court will most certainly delve deep into this, and not take at face value any testimony of a single witness, which is what the Senate sub-committee is doing,” Valdez said.

Contreras agreed with Valdez’s observation that Tiu had explained that he is yet to secure the land title because of an existing mortgage.

“When you’re paying off a mortgage, you don’t have your TCT [transfer certificate of title]at hand. But when asked, yes, I live and use this property… I paid a down payment. I am currently paying amortizations. Yes, I own the land,” he said.

The analyst cautioned the investigating lawmakers against making life harder for Binay because the Vice President may eventually win the sympathy of voters.

Contreras likened Binay to former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who himself was subjected to a lot of accusations and name-calling before winning the presidency in 1998.

“But the bigger issue is that the process of investigation, of inquiry, is being compromised by the demeanor of the senators in the sub-committee. And all this badgering, bullying, will backfire on them, and on the institution of the Senate, in general,” the law professor said.

In Malacanang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan the much awaited debate between Binay and Trillanes is welcome, calling it a part of a healthy democracy.

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28 Comments

  1. Contreras added that Filipinos are not stupid and many already frown on the lawmakers’ “antics,” which may cause damage to the Senate.

    So why is it 79% of Filipinos want Binay to attend the Senate hearings?

  2. If binay is not guilty of any wrong doing as alledge by his accusers why not face them ang debate them one by one face to face at the senate instead of going to forum shopping interviews ectera attend the senate hearing and prove yourself innocence

  3. These three senators are no different from our dumb police investigators. After arresting a suspect, the police investigators, because of lack investigating skills, employ torture and threats to extract a confession from their ward. These senators, especially Trillanes, greatly believe that VP Binay is corrupt but since some invited personalities appearing in the investigation incidentally are smarter that them, these senators employ arm-twisting and threats which I liken to torture employed by some unskilled police investigators. Casiple and the other analysts are correct: the senate guys are only demeaning the institution they represent. I believe this is the proper time that the investigating committees of both Senate and the House of Representatives should be abolished since it will only make the people see clearly the clowns they elect to these chambers. It’s abominable and nauseating to behold that will result to the people’s loss of confidence and respect to these legislators occupying the committee.

  4. eliseo p. tenza jr. on

    why do I believe that VP Binay is corrupt or incompetent.
    I will not consider the statements of the former Vice Mayor Mercado, nor the other witnesses against VP Binay. I am considering the testimony of the chairman of the Hillmarc const. co . that got the contract to build the “World Class, Green Parking building” at a total cost of Php 2.7 B.
    The chairman admitted that there were no structural plans for the building. He admitted that he was not aware of how many storeys the building are.
    According to the architect the architectural plans were only 20% complete, and without structural plans, there could never be a proper bidding. By not knowing the total height of the building, not knowing the total area of the project, a contractor cannot give a Bid price for the project. unless,
    1. the contract price, has been agreed upon, between the Mayor (the person awarding the contract) and the contractor, without the proper documents for bidding. This then suggest corruption.
    2. That the Mayor relied only on the recommendation from the bids and award committee and without verifying the basis of the cost, awarded the contract.
    This suggest incompetence on the part of the mayor,

    The continuous failure of the VP to prove his innocence and his fear of confronting the investigators and his accusers, tells me that he is not worthy to be my President.

    • nonetheless, JB will still win in 2016 bec. when the investigation is over this year, filipinos, with short memories will disregard all this and vote for JB. They will say “eh wala pala silang maisampang kaso, puro demolisyon lang pala…”

  5. The overpriced building projects (I and II) of Makati City’s gov’t have not been adequately explained.

    The sources of strong allegations against Binay were former members of his inner circle.

    The results of the COA’s audits have not helped him either, which indicate suspicious irregularities in how the biddings and awarding of bids were conducted.

    Thus far, Binay has not come up with presentations to convince the public that he had a legitimately acquired wealth; moreover, the media, especially the investigative ones, have found circumstantial indications that Binay has either amassed unexplained wealth or acquired the same thru people, who wittingly or unwittingly, participated to hide the same.

    And in the face of all the above, what Binay’s camp has merely done is to simply dismiss the allegations and the senate hearing as being parts of conspiracy to destroy his electability as a 2016 presidential candidate.

    Pathetic.

  6. Daniel B. Laurente on

    My view is why the Senate Blue Ribbon Committe has to conduct further investigation if their only purpose is to legislate and why VP has to be forcefully invited. The even created so much bills already without resorting to an investigstion. Why dig more informations when they have already obtained sufficient datas where a legislation can be made. Oh…Politicos and more political drama.

  7. Trillanes and Cayetano did not damage Binay but their own personalities and worse Mar Roxas took a massive beating. After Bondal allegations on the prices of the cakes that is was just on hint the sub committee should have stop. Now Mercado presented an videos of the farm saying it was 350 hectares without verifying the exact measurement of area which is less 200 hectares worse it is now under Binay name. The piggery is not even air conditioned as alleged and the bags did not even have monies. These investigations are making a mockery on the intelligence of the our people. Next time Trillanes and Cayetano should better do they homework or resign na sasakyan ang oras at pera ng bayan sa mga ginagawa nila.

  8. Bert O. Romero on

    Regardless of the so-called absence of a smoking gun, VP, his family and his presidential campaign must be suffering tremendously – personally, familialy, emotinally and politically – in the face of this relentless avalanche of corruption charges hurled against him in the senate sub-committee inquiry. The inquiry has been likened to earlier Pacquiao fights during which almost every Filipino was glued to tv and radio stations eagerly salivating for every salacious detail and vivid photos that former VC Mercado and other erstwhile Makati officials would dish out regarding alleged corruption acts of the Vice President and his family. Were it not for the propensity of Senator Cayetano to talk too much and project himself as somebody who knows all consequently shortening the time which could have been used by Mercado and other resource persons to expound on their exposes, the inquiry would have achieved its goal to the maximum .
    I said the Binay presidential campaign is hurting because the Vice- President has now engaged in a dangerous demagoguery by trying to pit the poor against the rich thereby plausibly igniting an internecine class war. The irony here is the Vice President is now farthest from being a spokesman for the poor: he has become filthy rich.
    I join the 79 percent of polled Filipinos who want the Vice President to appear before the senate. Now that Senator Guingona as chair of the mother committee has agreed to invite the VP upon the latter’s suggestion as his precondition for appearing before the senate, hopefully the Filipino people will finally hear his side. Why be afraid of the truth anyway?

  9. The kind of bias shown by the 3 senators has lowered the esteem of the senate. The hearing being used as a political attack machine is absurb. Let’s stop wasting our money on a telenovella made for TV by the senate. The Senate must work for the people and deal only in the truth. Stop wasting our money!

    • Better have our money spent on this investigation to expose the hidden wealth of binay than to let people like binay remain in the government and continue to amass wealth from fooling the Filipinos.

  10. crisostomo ibarra on

    a senior reporter who is not credible…i think the news was written in a rush…not even a research by the reporter…Dean Amado Valdez is with The University Of The East…not FEU that this senior reporter is telling the readers…

  11. These young senators are giving us what we want. At first using their Intuition,brilliant instincts followed by tangible factual presentation there could never be a better way to expose Corruption today. Instinct and good intuition has been used by american police to solve major crimes. It starts with a simple clue that arrives at a correct conclusion. The way it’s conducted for public information, is better than closed door,or limited hearings. Those who really understand Due Process will agree that this it.By and large filipinos have good gut feelings who are the crooks in our government.

  12. Is it not obvious that at the start of the inquiry you are already bias with the reporting on the corruption issue against the VP. If he is really honest as you personally believes, why is he still side tracking the issue? That’s means he is rotten to the core like most of you in the media,

  13. No matter how Binay and Tiu hiding their connections, later on The truth will set us free, once BIR, show whose paying the taxes dues, and the owner of TCT, proof of ownership and also capable to pay off such Collossal haciendas, then Binays and Tiu number is near. Also the PSE and SEC will uncover the evidence. AMLC will show how the money transfer and network made. Binay was so affected when accused his the owner of The hacienda Binay. Binay would not react if he has nothing to hide. If Binay accused in daylight why he shying in the senate and afraid to face his accusers for that matter alone you can see his fear that will finally pin him down to plunder. Speak out while he has still time. For Purisima at lead the face the senate house.

  14. Roldan Guerrero on

    Trillanes has committed a maximum personal degrade and continues to swallow the shame he is doing. This mutineer does not deserve in any aspect to be called a Senator of this Republic. I just could not realize how a traitor to his own country could win a seat on the Senate.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      Right. Cannot understand how the people voted for one who on several occasions tried to undermine his own country and how the people voted for one on the basis of emotions not qualifications. God bless the Philippines.

    • yes a traitor in his own institution oh how the whole AFP accept this kind of people anyway he is now a senator od the PH nakakahiya ka. un 2 member ng i tlog a brilliant lawywer kuno return to your school and then research kung tama ba yan ginagawa nyo

  15. Mr. R. Casiple, if you are a respected analyst who claim no smoking gun on Mr VP. Binay alleged enrichment due to illegal means, then support the upcoming debate between Sen. Trillanes and the Vice President, after all he was the one who challenged the Senator. The people needs to know, not only from the expert like you.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      We are all for the debate. But Trillanes is coming out with excuses even after immediately reacting and accepting Binay’s challenge in saying that it be held in Binay’s farm but now is saying that he will arrange his sked. Trillanes does not seem to have the canon BALL to fight his battle. God bless the Philippines.

    • Why challenge Trillanes? Because Trillanes is not a lawyer. Seasoned lawyers like Binay and Cayetano could make white in to gray. Look at what happened to Tiu despite his seemingly confident demeanor was systematically destroyed by Cayetano(despite what the self- proclaimed expert said.) Why not challenge Cayetano himself ,pareho silang UP law graduate and he is the one who wants to be president not Trillanes. Or better still why not Vice Mayor Mercado ? Seguro tatayo ang balihibo ni Binay sa takot. Coward, dishonest . That is what he is. Iam not a spammer.

    • With the content of your column I doubt your integrity as a respected analyst lest you don’t understand what you have written. It’s plain and simple corrupt politicians doesn’t deserve to be elected whether from Pnoy or Binay camp. Instead of writing useless lines why not help the majority of our voters by educating them on how to vote wisely? It’s a good start to expose all them regardless who they are. We can still change the destiny our country for the better if all Filipinos with sane mind discard these trapos in our society. God bless our country.

  16. mauricio palao on

    Smoke and mirrors; facts and figures that have nothing to do with the truth; and, counter accusations leveled at irrelevant persons and entities..these are what Binay and his camp of hacks and acolytes try to pass off to the public as ‘valid answers’ to the allegations of wholesale plunder against him. Their fora of choice are the so called ‘public’ who can not ask questions and newspapers, columnists and ‘pudits’ who have exclusive platforms and their own agendas. The ‘public’ will soon wise up to this and simply conclude that.. “what walks like a duck and quacks like a duck has got to be a duck”…and Binay, over the years has waddled and quacked quite a lot.