MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay branded the suspension of her brother, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr, as part of the ruling party’s supposed demolition job against her father called “Oplan Nognog.”
The senator said the preventive suspension of the Makati mayor over the allegedly graft-ridden Makati City Hall Parking Building was the latest political move to derail the presidential bid of their father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“For us, may Oplan nga eh. Isa lang ito sa gagamitin nilang strategy sa Oplan Nognog. Ang natutunan ko from the Vice President is life is a constant struggle, and this is just one struggle na kailangan nating malagpasan,” Senator Binay said on Wednesday, March 11.
(For us, there really is a plan. This is just part of the strategy they are using called Oplan Nognog. What I’ve learned from the Vice President is that life is a constant struggle, and this is just one struggle that we need to overcome.)
The senator referred to the alleged plot her father first linked to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the president-on-leave and expected standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP). The elder Binay said last year Roxas was behind “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016,” a dirty tricks campaign to bring down his candidacy.
Roxas then said that Binay should just respond to the biggest corruption scandal he is facing instead of pointing fingers.
The Ombudsman announced on Monday that it is suspending Mayor Binay as it conducts preliminary investigation into his and his father’s alleged violation of anti-graft laws, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and several irregularities in the procurement, and award of contracts for the design and architectural services and construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building.
The same issue was the basis of a Senate inquiry into Binay that began last year, and evolved to expose the Binay dynasty’s web of alleged corruption in the two decades the family ruled Makati, the country’s financial district.
Senator Binay did not address the corruption allegations, but said that the administration is targeting members of the Binay family one by one.
“Baka sa susunod ako naman, ang kapatid ko naman. I guess baka ‘yung doon sa kabila nakikita nila kahit anong ginagawa nila ay di naniniwala ang mga kababayan natin,” she said. (Maybe next time, it will be me, or my sister. I guess maybe those on the other side see that the public is not buying what they are doing.)
Senator Binay said the family will first discuss with their lawyers their next legal move.
‘Mamasapano has closure, we don’t’
Senate President Franklin Drilon, a stalwart of the LP, said that Mayor Binay should just accept his suspension, and abide by the law.
“He should follow the order. Our colleagues here in the Senate accepted the suspension as part of the process.”
Drilon was referring to senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr, and Jinggoy Estrada, who have been suspended and detained over the pork barrel corruption scandal. The senators were automatically suspended for 90 days in accordance with the plunder law. They are accused of funneling development funds for the poor to bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for multi-million peso kickbacks.
Drilon said Mayor Binay can still question his suspension before the Court of Appeals.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Binay’s critic, said the Binays should stop crying political persecution.
“Bili na lang sila ng bagong diksyunaryo. Puro ‘pinupulitika’ lang alam nila,” he said. (They should buy a new dictionary so they have a line other than politicking.)
Still, Senator Binay lamented the suspension, and the ongoing Senate probe into her family, which will hold its 16th hearing on Thursday, March 12.
The Vice President repeatedly criticized the Senate probe as a “political drama” but refuses to face the investigation to respond to senators’ questions.
Binay compared the Binay inquiry with the Senate investigation into the January 25 Mamasapano tragedy that killed 65 people.
“Sana ganito sila kasipag sa iba pang dapat i-hearing ng Senado tulad ng Mamasapano. Buti pa ‘yun, magkaka-closure ang hearing, magkaka-report. Sa amin siguro hanggang filing [ng certificate of candidacy], October tuloy-tuloy ang hearing.”
(I hope they are this industrious in other matters that the Senate must hear like Mamasapano. Good for that case, there will be closure, there will be a report. In our case, maybe until the filing of certificates of candidacy in October, the hearings will go on.)
Senator Binay said her father’s critics were just out for “free publicity and free airtime” in the Senate.
She said her father will not give up his presidential bid no matter what.
“Para sa akin kung kailangan naming pagdaanan ito para makapagsilbi ang ating Vice President, kaming mga anak niya willing to go through this over and over again.” (To me, if we have to go through this so our Vice President can serve, we his children are willing to go through this over and over again.) – Rappler.com
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