Antonio Tiu on Wednesday lashed out at Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and the other members of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for insulting him and putting at serious risk not only his own life but those of other legitimate Filipino-Chinese businessmen as well.
Tiu, the chairman of Sunchamp Agri-tourism park in Batangas which Cayetano and other members of the subcommittee insist belongs to the family of Vice President Jejomar Binay, called a press briefing to denounce what he described as “baseless” and “unfounded” accusations that have hurt not only his family but also those who depend on his businesses.
“The Senate blue ribbon sub-committee of three is complainant, prosecutor and judge. I am standing by my statement that I am a buyer of the Rosario [Batangas] property in good faith. I made a sound business decision. The papers for the transfer of the titles to Sunchamp is still ongoing and I know Sunchamp, its investors and partner farmers will turn a good profit from the agri-tourism revenues in the future,” Tiu said.
He said he “quietly suffered the insults hurled against me by the senators.”
“I am not a dummy. I am not a money launderer. I am not guilty of any crime. I am a legitimate businessman who has built my business through hard work and perseverance for nearly two decades,” he said.
Tiu asked Cayetano and his fellow subcommittee members Antonio Trillanes 4th and Aquilino Pimentel 3rd why he and Sunchamp was linked to the Makati City Hall Building 2 which was allegedly overpriced so that Binay and his associates could get kickbacks from the project.
“Because the senators could not get hold of solid evidence against me, they have unleashed against my companies the full arsenal of the government—the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue, AMLAC (Anti-Money Laundering Council), DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” Tiu said.
“The unkindest cut is this: Cayetano was not content with demeaning me, he also put my life and that of my family in danger in his insistence that I disclose my bank account. He said there is no danger because I can bargain with kidnappers in case I or a member of my family is abducted,” he said.
He lashed out at Cayetano for uttering the remarks during the hearing of the panel where the senators took turns in humiliating Tiu.
“Senator Cayetano, is it right that you make fun of kidnapping?” Tiu said.
He said getting abducted is definitely no laughing matter for Filipino-Chinese who consider it as a serious and a real threat.”
Tiu said he was in Spain on a business trip when the Batangas property controversy broke out and was dumbfounded upon hearing that his name and Sunchamp were being dragged in the charges against Binay.
“Instead of staying abroad, I opted to come back to clear my name and to personally answer all unfounded and baseless accusations against my person and businesses. I owed it to my family, investors and partner farmers to address the issue head on,” he said.
He said he received several text messages warning him to “cooperate” if he wanted a free pass. Otherwise, various government agencies would run after him and ruin his businesses.
“To my mind, these threats constitute real threats and blackmail,” he said.
He said he was “dismayed” when he first appeared at the Senate, stressing that “my patient explanations of my business practices have been ridiculed, constantly interrupted and branded as lies.”
“Instead of focusing on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II, I found myself being grilled by the senators on issues that I had nothing to do with,” he said.