MANILA, Philippines – Who is more credible: Senator Antonio Trillanes IV or the Binays?
The senator said it is up to the public to answer this question, standing by his bribery allegations against the family of Vice President Jejomar Binay even as he faces a libel case and possible contempt of court.
Under fire over his failure to present evidence so far, Trillanes vouched for his unnamed “reliable sources” who informed him that two Court of Appeals (CA) justices received P50 million ($1.12 million) to issue orders stopping the suspension of Binay’s son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
A former Navy lieutenant senior grade, Trillanes said in a press briefing on Wednesday, April 15, that he validated the information, describing one of his sources as “A1.”
“In the military, there are different classifications of intelligence,” he said. “We can say that the information was confirmed to be true, then the sources of information, there is an Alpha and there is a Bravo, meaning there’s A1 and also B1.”
Asked if he meant that he had two different sources, Trillanes said: “No, but A is a group. On B, I won’t say anymore. You’ll have to understand that if I give the information, the source might get into trouble.”
The Binays and CA Justice Jose Reyes Jr said that Trillanes should show proof to support his allegations, and even file a graft and corruption case in court. For Trillanes, the Senate investigation he is pushing for will be the forum to flesh out his claims.
“I can’t say [who the sources are but] I didn’t pluck this name out of thin air. I stand by my track record. So far, parang wala pa tayong sablay.” (It seems I haven’t failed yet.)
Trillanes said that the Senate can conduct executive sessions, or he can ask his sources to talk to individual senators. Still, he gave no assurance that the sources will face the probe.
“That is their decision because it involves their lives. We will provide them protection …. [Fear of the Binays] is part of the decision. Their world might change. They will turn back on their life,” Trillanes said.
On Monday, Trillanes filed a Senate resolution saying Reyes and CA Justice Francisco Acosta of the 6th Division were allegedly paid to issue a temporary restraining order and an injunction in favor of Binay. He said that lawyer Pancho Villaraza supposedly facilitated the two transactions.
He said on Wednesday: “That’s the information given. As to how it was given, if the money was deposited to their accounts or put in a bag, we will find out in the investigation.”
The bribery allegation is the latest claim against the Binays following various corruption charges as the Vice President runs for president in 2016 under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). A member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), Trillanes wants to be vice president but maintains that regardless of politics, Binay should be jailed for corruption.
Trillanes’ allegations started with construction projects in Makati, where the elder Binay was mayor for 21 years. These evolved to include a lavish estate in Batangas, a housing scam, and now extended to the judiciary.
‘I have immunity’
Mayor Binay responded to Trillanes’ allegations by filing a libel case against him.
Trillanes is unfazed, saying parliamentary immunity protects him.
“They know that you can’t do that to a senator because this is our job. We expose anomaly. So if they will dangle that on our heads, then no one will talk about these issues,” he said.
Trillanes said he has “resource persons, witnesses and documentary evidence” to prove his claims. He said he will look into the history of the rulings of the CA justices even in other cases.
“Even the ruling itself is the evidence. The absurdity of the ruling proves may kalokohang nangyari (an anomaly happened). You will see the pattern and frequency, the flip-flopping decisions.”
Trillanes said he is willing to submit all the information he has to the Supreme Court, which is in charge of investigating corruption allegations against justices and judges.
Next target: Abby Binay’s PDAF
Makati Representative Abigail Binay, a daughter of the Vice President, urged Trillanes on Wednesday to apologize to the CA for his “nasty and irresponsible accusation.”
“Senator Trillanes clearly risks facing contempt charges. Since he has already confessed that he has no evidence to support his reckless allegation, other than purported ‘raw intelligence reports’, or hearsay, then the right thing for him to do is promptly say sorry to the court,” Representative Binay said.
She added: “Better yet, the senator should resign his seat. Frankly, he is a big embarrassment to the Senate.”
Trillanes said he noticed that Representative Binay is the latest to “make noise” against him.
“[The Binays] are like children. They keep on challenging me but when you invite them to the Senate, they don’t appear. I will not take on that challenge but the challenge to investigate the anomaly of her PDAF, ginanahan ako,” he quipped. (I want to take that on.)
Trillanes referred to the allegations that came out in a white paper last year that Representative Binay allocated her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for vermiculture or earthworm-growing projects.
The Ombudsman is also investigating the case. Representative Binay delivered a privilege speech last year denying the allegations.
The senator said he already asked his staff to look into the allegation. He compared the projects to the pork barrel scam of alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, whose fake NGOs were allegedly used to funnel the development funds to the pockets of lawmakers.
“Pina-research ko ang mga bulate sa Makati. May nag-allocate ng organic fertilizer sa mga bulate sa Makati eh walang lupain doon. At ang PDAF nilagay sa foundation. Parang Napoles-type NGO. Connected sa kanila, sa mga Binay,” he said.
(I am asking my staff to research about the worms in Makati. She allocated her PDAF for organic fertilizers for worms in Makati but there is no farm land there. And her PDAF went to a foundation, a Napoles-type NGO that is connected to the Binays.)
Trillanes said he will not stop attacking the Binays. “’Di tayo matitinag. In fact, lalo tayong ginaganahan habulin ang mga ito, at ‘di ako titigil hanggang ‘di makulong ang mga Binay.”
(We will not relent. We are enjoying running after them, and we won’t stop until the Binays are behind bars.) – Rappler.com
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