'Binay’s propaganda war trivializing Senate probe'
MANILA, Philippines – Try as his camp may, a “propaganda war” will do nothing to refute evidence against a vice president with “unli-greed,” said one Philippine senator.
“[Vice President Jejomar Binay] cannot face the Senate because he is guilty of all these allegations raised against him. If he’s not guilty, he would have been indignant. He would have been first to explain and clear his name… but sadly, that didn’t happen,” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said in a Thursday, November 20 #TalkThursday interview on Rappler.
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Binay is caught in the biggest corruption scandal to hit him in his almost 30 years in politics. Whistleblowers have accused him of amassing illegal wealth by rigging bids, accepting kickbacks, and using dummies to hide properties during his stint as Makati mayor.
Trillanes is one of 3 senators in the subcommittee spearheading the probe, which started 3 months ago.
“Based on what we saw so far, the greed of this man is bottomless," Trillanes said. "Unli... unli greed.”
The Vice President has thus far refused to face the Senate, tagging the subcommittee as a “kangaroo court” that’s merely politically motivated.
Instead, Binay and his team of spokesmen have opted to answer subcommittee exposés through media.
“All they have are press releases and press conference, which don’t count. Those are just part of the propaganda war they’re waging,” said Trillanes.
“To say it in the context [the Binay camp] is saying it would be trivializing everything. We’ve presented evidence. Witnesses have testified and all of these things were not refuted by the Binay camp because they failed to show up in the Senate hearings,” added Trillanes.
Where are the explanations?
Despite the barrage of accusations, Binay seemed unfazed – at least in public. The past two weeks, Binay has been visiting vote-rich provinces, his bailiwick Makati city, and members of the Armed Forces.
Boodle fight and photo ops can only so do much, noted Trillanes, when Binay has yet to address the allegations against him.
Thus far, his camp has remained silent over supposedly “hidden” foreign accounts from the 80s and 90s.
Trillanes also noted that their responses on some issues have been incomplete – such as Binay’s supposed ownership of at least 6 condominium units in Makati city through dummies.
“They’re focusing on one. They conveniently failed to explain the others,” he said.
Another supposed proof of Binay’s ill-gotten wealth is a vast 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas tagged “Hacienda Binay.”
Although 150 hectares of the property has since been claimed by businessman Antonio Tiu, some documents have linked the property to Binay.
Tiu purchased the land from Laureano Gregorio’ AgriFortuna, Inc in 2013 and is supposedly in the process of transferring everything to his company Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation.
Land within the property, however, are still under the names of Binay’s friends and former aides.
Still, Binay has flatly denied the accusations against him. The Vice President challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate to answer the allegations against him, but Binay himself would back out of it weeks later.
Trillanes said he will not be fazed.
“I’m not really afraid of [Binay] because I’m standing on very solid moral high ground here… If we’re only fabricating these things, then the public will also get back at us for trying to fool them. We’re comfortable with where we’re standing,” he said. – Rappler.com