Debate with Trillanes? More like 'conversation,' says Binay
MANILA, Philippines – Will the scheduled debate between Vice President Jejomar Binay and the man accusing him of largescale corruption, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, push through?
“Depende (depends),” Binay told reporters on Monday, November 10, at the sidelines of the Policy Forum on Yolanda Rehabilitation.
The Vice President on Monday, however, refused to call it a debate and now referred to it as a “conversation.”
“Pag-uusapan namin kung ano ba 'yung parameter 'nung pag-uusapan. Ayokong tawaging debate. Parang hindi naman debate 'yun. Pag-uusap, magpapaliwanagan. For example: Tama ba 'yung ginagawa ng Senado? Hanggang saan na ba nakapunta 'yung Senado?” said Binay.
(We’ll talk about the parameters of the discussion. I don’t want to call it a debate because it doesn’t seem like a debate. It’s more of a conversation, explanation of both sides. For example: Is what the Senate doing right? How far has the Senate gone?)
The camps of Binay and Trillanes are set to meet on Thursday, November 13, to iron out some details for the debate set for November 27. Those details include the scope and “parameters” of the debate.
“Ako, ako ang nagsabi 'nun. Pero, nandoon ang KBP at sila ang mag-iisponsor. Pero, kailangan magkasundo kung anong mangyayari doon sa pag-uusap na 'yun,” Binay added. (I'm the one who suggested [holding a debate]. But the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas [KBP] is sponsoring it, and both camps need to agree on how the conversation should go.)
The two men are on opposite sides of the biggest corruption scandal to hit Binay.
The Vice President faces plunder complaints before the Ombudsmand for the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 when he was mayor. The same building sparked a month-long Senate blue ribbon subcommittee probe, based on a resolution filed by Trillanes.
The hearings have since turned into a stage for whistle-blowers to accuse Binay of rigging bids, getting kickbacks, and owning undeclared properties during his stint as Makati mayor.
Binay has denied these allegations, but has snubbed the Senate’s invites. (READ: Binay blames Cayetano, Trillanes for Senate no-show)
Binay’s allies and family members have made no secret of their opposition to the debate. On Monday, daughter Senator Nancy Binay said she was against the debate from the get-go.
“Why should [Vice President Binay] stoop down to the level of Senator Trillanes?” said the senator.
The Vice President’s wife, Elenita, said the debate was “pointless.” Elenita, who herself was mayor of Makati, has also been dragged into the Senate probe. (READ: Mrs Binay's royal taste? 'Kew Gardens,' aircon piggery)
“'Yung asawa ko lagi kong kasiping sa gabi. Lagi kaming nag-uusap (I sleep beside my wife every night. We always speak to each other),” said Binay when asked if he spoke about the issues hounding him with his wife.
In a text message to Rappler, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla said he will be meeting with Binay on Tuesday, November 11 to discuss the planned “debate.”
Tuesday also happens to be Binay’s 72nd birthday. – Rappler.com