Binay apologizes to KBP for backing out of debate
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday, November 13, has formally apologized to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) for backing out of a debate that he had asked the group to organize.
The KBP, which had facilitated meetings between the camps of Binay and Senator Anotnio Trillanes IV, had set the debate on November 27 but the Vice President decided to withdraw from it on November 11.
"Hihingi na lang ako ng dispensa (I would like to apologize). This is a formal apology to the members of KBP. I know you have prepared for this. You have prepared your members if there would be such a thing," Binay said at the KBP's 40th top-level management conference in Cavite.
The Vice President personally informed the KBP why he changed his mind.
"My feeling was ito: Kapag may nangyari doon sa harapan, [sasabihin niya], 'Sinabi ko na sa inyo iyan ay mapagsamantala, oportunista, alam naman niyang kawawa ako sa kanya, pinaggigiitan na kami ay magkaharap.' So para wala na po tayong ganoong conclusion pa, ayaw ko na," Binay told members of the KBP at the gathering at the Taal Vista Hotel.
(My feeling was this: If anything should happen during the debate, [Trillanes would say], 'I told you he was an opportunist; he knew I was at a disadvantage, and yet he still insisted we face each other.' To prevent that conclusion, I said I don't want to do it anymore.)
The Vice President's explanation did not include any reference to the Yolanda rehabilitation – the official reason given by his spokesperson, Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla, for Binay's withdrawal from the debate.
Remulla had said that “the Vice President realized that engaging [in] a debate with Senator Trillanes is a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from the Yolanda tragedy."
Speaking before KBP members on Thursday, Binay again emphasized that he did not exactly want a debate, even if he had made the challenge to Trillanes, but a "properly moderated" conversation.
"I know you have prepared for this...pero ganoon po ang pangyayari (but that's what happened)," added the Vice President.
Binay faces the biggest corruption scandal to hit him in his nearly 30-year political career. Aside from plunder charges before the Ombudsman, the Vice President is also at the center of a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee probe into an alleged overpriced Makati City building. (READ: VP Binay: 'Attacks against me weakening')
The probe has since turned into an avenue for whistleblowers to accuse Binay of profiting from his stint as Makati mayor by rigging bids and getting kickbacks. Binay supposedly hid this wealth through dummies and foreign accounts. (READ: Binay camp still silent on 'hidden' dollar accounts)
The Binay camp has dismissed the allegations against him, accusing his detractors of being part of a plot of ruin his chances at the presidency come 2016. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com