MANILA, Philippines – If Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wife and eldest daughter had their way, his much-anticipated debate between Senator Antonio Trillanes IV won’t be happening.
“Medyo hindi rin ako sang-ayon sa debate. Unang statement ko nga (I’m not in favor of the debate. Like I said in my first statement), why should he stoop down to the level of Senator Trillanes?” the Vice President’s eldest daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, told reporters after a mass to celebrate her parents’ birthdays.
Elenita, the Vice President’s wife and a former Makati mayor herself, said the planned debate was “pointless,” but did not elaborate.
Senator Nancy was referring to a debate between her father and her colleague, a result of a challenge from Binay himself. Trillanes is one of 3 senators leading a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee probe into allegations of corruption against the Vice President.
Referring to Trillanes’ claim that he is the underdog in the possible debate, Senator Nancy said: “Kung nakikita ‘nyo naman sa pangyayari ngayon, sino ang totoong underdog, di ba? Siguro strategy niya ‘yan (You’ve seen what’s going on. So who’s the real underdog? Maybe that’s just Trillanes’ strategy).”
The Binay patriarch is the the middle of the biggest corruption scandal to hit him. He and his only son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, face plunder complaints before the Ombudsman over the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
The same complaints prompted Trillanes to file a resolution calling for a probe into allegations of corruption. The Senate investigation has since morphed into a forum for Binay’s former allies and long-time foes to blow the whistle on him.
According to whistle-blowers, Binay amassed wealth while he was Makati mayor for over 2 decades by rigging bids and accepting kickbacks from city projects. The wealth was allegedly hidden through dummies and foreign accounts, said former Makati officials.
Binay has dismissed the allegations against him, at the same time snubbing invites from the Senate to appear in hearings.
“Ang concern ko, unang-una: may mangyayari ba pagkatapos? For me the proper venue pa rin is the court. Kung may mga alegasyon, bakit hindi sila magsampa ng kaso?” said Senator Nancy on Monday.
(My first concern: After the debate, will anything happen? The proper venue is still the courts. If they have allegations, why don’t they file cases?).
She said she had yet to speak to her father about the latest issues hounding him.
Since the probe began, Binay’s survey numbers have slipped. He, howevever, is still the country’s most trusted public official and continues to be the leading possible presidential candidate.
‘Are my kids next?’
In attendance during the mass were the Vice President, his wife, and two children, Mayor Binay and Senator Binay. The Vice President’s other daughter, Makati Representative Abigail Binay, was not at the event.
Also absent was another Binay daughter who recently turned controversial: Joanna Marie Binay. (READ: Caught on Instagram? VP daughter’s ‘Hacienda Binay’ photos)
The youngest Binay’s posts on Instagram were used during one Senate hearing as “proof” that the Binays actually own a 350-hectare estate dubbed “Hacienda Binay,” allegedly through a dummy, businessman Antonio Tiu.
The Vice President has criticized Senator Alan Peter Cayetano for dragging her daughter into the political mess.
Senator Nancy said the allegations against them are expected. “Medyo binigyan na kami ng warning na may bagyong darating sa pamilya namin (We were warned this would happen), so more or less we’ve prepared for this.”
“Di na ako magtataka kung pagdating ng 2015 pati ‘yung mga anak ko, mga pamangkin ko, kasama na rin doon sa bibigyan nila ng allegations,” she added. (I won’t be surprised if by 2015, they’ll start hurling accusations against my children and nephews and nieces).” – Rappler.com