BATANGAS, Philippines – A two-hour drive from Metro Manila is a sprawling 145-hectare estate in the town of Rosario, which businessman Antonio Tiu hopes to develop into an agri-tourism farm, patterned after those overseas.
But to Vice President Jejomar Binay’s critics, this is all but lip service. Dubbed “Hacienda Binay” by a former ally-turned-foe, the property is said to be owned by Binay. Tiu is accused of being his dummy. (READ: Does Antonio Tiu really own ‘Hacienda Binay’?)
Photos of Binay and his wife entertaining guests at the farm after 2010, the year Binay supposedly divested of his interest in the property, were also shown during a Senate probe on Wednesday, October 22. (Check the photos here)
To prove that he’s not hiding anything, Tiu on Thursday, October 23, opened the property to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating allegations of Binay’s corruption. The ocular, led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, doesn’t initially go as planned.
Members of the media are initially barred from entering the property. After minutes of confusion, Trillanes and the media were finally allowed inside.
Aerial photos presented before the subcommittee and media reports showed a “mansion with British palace garden (sic), a mansion with resort pool, a horse ranch, an imported orchid farm, a man-made lagoon, a fighting cock farm, an airconditioned piggery, and a 40-car garage and staff house.”
Inside, the structures don’t seem as grand. Tiu told media the “main house” is being converted into the estate’s club house, while the “mansion with British palace garden” is really just a pavilion where events can be held in the future.
The piggery and cock farm are not part of Tiu’s property and is being operated by Agrinurture, Inc. It’s the same piggery that Binay once owned but eventually divested from after he won the vice presidency in 2010.
Binay has denied all the allegations against him, dismissing the probe, the plunder raps, and all the exposés as part of “Operation Plan Stop Nognog 2016” – a scheme to ruin his chances in the 2016 presidential elections.
Despite the tour, Trillanes remains unconvinced that Tiu indeed owns it, telling reporters this is only the beginning of more exposés on Binay’s allegedly corrupt ways. – Rappler.com