MANILA, Philippines – Jejomar Binay is down to his last hours as Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. But do not expect him to go out of the limelight just yet.
The outgoing Vice President told Rappler that he still plans to be of service to Filipinos after holding the second highest position in the land.
“I have never left politics. Continuing political activities is part of my life,” he said.
He will once again have an office at the Makati-based law firm he co-founded, the Subido, Pagente, Certeza, Mendoza and Binay (SPCMB) law office.
Binay had to take leave from the SPCMB when he ran but lost in the 2016 presidential elections.
Before becoming Vice President and Makati mayor for 21 years, Binay was known as a fierce human rights lawyer who represented the political detainees during the Martial Law years.
Does this mean Binay will return to law practice?
“Ay ‘di na. ‘Di ko na kaya ‘yung litigation. Taga-advise-advise na lang (No. I can’t do litigation anymore. I will just become an adviser),” said the Vice President.
His daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, said it was “good timing” that the SPCMB was expanding its headquarters around the time her father was due to to step down as vice president.
“After June 30, meron na siyang lilipatang office. Parang tumugma na kahit papaano, even if we didn’t plan for that scenario, puwede na siyang mag-office (After June 30, he has a new office to transfer to. It all fell into place somehow that even if we didn’t plan for that scenario, he can hold office again),” said Nancy.
The SPCMB, however, came under scrutiny in the middle of the campaign period this year.
An Anti-Money Laundering Council report alleged that the law firm deposited P100 million to a Hong Kong-based company through remittance agency PhilRem Service Corporation.
PhilRem is linked to the biggest money laundering case recorded in Philippine history – $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank found its way into the Philippines’ banking system and ended in its casinos, which are not covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Running the Binay foundation
Nancy said her father might be travelling some more after June 30.
He is also thinking of devoting this time to running the JC Binay Foundation, which Binay and his friends formed in 2005 to conduct philanthropic and charitable projects within Makati City.
When Binay was elected as Vice President in 2010, the foundation expanded its projects nationwide in 2012.
“Yeah, [I might focus on JC Binay Foundation as well], kasi ‘yun isang pamamaraan para magpatuloy ako ng pagtulong sa ating mga communities (Yeah, I might focus on JC Binay Foundation as well because that’s one way of continuing our help to different communities),” said Binay.
The JC Binay Foundation, however, found itself in the middle of the corruption controversy that hounded Binay for two years and eventually affected his chances of becoming president.
Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado alleged that he and Binay got kickbacks from various Makati city projects with the help of “dummies.” (READ: How Binay ‘dummies’ cornered Makati contracts for a decade)
Two of these alleged conspirators are Binay’s financial adviser and JC Binay Foundation president Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan, and JC Binay Foundation director and treasurer Edgardo Lacson.
Binay stands to face criminal charges over the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II after the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict him and his son dismissed Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has filed criminal charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against Junjun and other former city hall officials in February.
But Binay said he is ready to face this hurdle, confident that he would win the case should it reach the anti-graft court. – Rappler.com