Vice President Binay’s camp on Wednesday said the latest plunder and graft charges filed against him are just another political gimmick, and a new “telenovela” chapter.
Binay himself said he is expecting similar moves from his political enemies as the election campaign season nears.
In a similar statement, Joey Salgado, Binay’s head of media affairs, said a complaint filed by Renato Bondal over an allegedly fraudulent deal between the University of Makati (UMak) and the Sytems Technology Institute is merely guesswork, and has no basis.
Salgado added that the Vice President and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., are ready to answer the allegations, as he challenged Bondal as well as Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th to face the elder Binay in court.
The Vice President earlier filed a P200-million damage suit against Bondal, Trillanes, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and nine others for supposedly acting in conspiracy to malign his name and reputation.
Salgado said they would not be surprised if Ombudsman Morales issues another suspension order against Mayor Binay over Bondal’s latest allegations.
“If the Ombudsman were only fair and impartial, these complaints would immediately be dismissed. But the Ombudsman is part of the conspiracy against the Vice President and his family,” he noted.
Salgado questioned why former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado was not included as a respondent, noting that he was the presiding officer when the city council approved the joint venture.
“Why was Mercado not included when he was the one who shepherded the said city ordinances? Because this is selective prosecution,” he said.
Mercado, who used to be a close ally of the Vice President, is one of the witnesses in the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee’s investigation of the corruption allegations against Binay.
According to Bondal, the Philippine Health Educators Inc. (PHEI), which the local government and STI created to manage UMak’s College of Nursing, was established to “take money from the school system in Makati.”
Salgado refuted Bondal’s accusation, saying the joint venture project has already generated at least P262 million financial benefits to the city of Makati and its beneficiaries.
The PHEI was established on December 17, 2003 between UMak, represented by the elder Binay who was then Makati mayor, UMak president Lopez, the late Ospital ng Makati Director Dr. Ernesto Santos and STI.
Salgado said Binay was named as one of the original shareholders only because he represents the equity holdings of the city government.
The Vice President’s spokesman denied that one of the PHEI’s shareholders, Dr. Jack Arroyo Jr., was a dummy of Binay.