Trillanes, media allowed to enter ‘Hacienda Binay’

Bea Cupin
Businessman Antonio Tiu earlier said he would open the controversial Batangas farm to members of a Senate subcommittee

INITIALLY REFUSED ENTRY. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and members of the media are initially refused entry at a Batangas farm purportedly owned by the Binays. Photo by Bea Cupin

BATANGAS, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and members of the media were finally allowed to enter the so-called Hacienda Binay shortly past 2 pm Thursday, October 23.

Trillanes and media groups arrived in the area Thursday noon, a day after Tiu told a Senate subcommittee that he was willing to open his property for ocular inspection by senators.

They were initially barred from entering the property. Tiu’s lawyer earlier said their guidelines for the ocular inspection state that members of the media are not allowed inside and that the inspection should be held between 3-5 pm.

The 350-hectare farm is the subject of an exposé by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who said it is owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay through dummies such as Tiu.

Tiu however has denied he’s fronting for the Binay family, but admitted he has no land titles to prove his claim that he had bought it from Binay after the Vice President divested himself of his interest in the farm in 2010. (READ: Does Antonio Tiu really own ‘Hacienda Binay’?)

STAKEOUT. Members of the media wait outside the so-called Hacienda Binay on Thursday, October 23.  Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

The guidelines sent by Tiu to the Senate Thursday morning stated that only the members of the subcommittee investigating alleged corruption in Makati will be allowed entry, but by the time these had been sent the media convoy had already left for Rosario.

Ang usapan ay members land of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee… no media please. Ang ating client ay may constitutional rights. Ito ay accommodation lamang sa members of the subcommittee,” Tiu’s lawyer Czarina Quintanilla earlier told reporters waiting at the gate. “I hope you understand.”

Trillanes and media members left the area by 1 pm but returned to it at around 1:45 pm.

By that time, Tiu was already in the farm and allowed the senator and media members to enter the property. As of posting, they were already being led inside the farm. 

The Vice President is caught in the biggest corruption scandal to hit him and his family since he started public office in 1986. He has repeatedly insisted that Mercado is being used by his political rivals to thwart his chances to become president in 2016. 

The Senate subcommittee that is investigating allegations against  him and his family has invited him to attend the hearings, but Binay refused, describing it as a “kangaroo court” that has already prejudged him. – Rappler.com

 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.