Binay apologizes to BSP for controversy
DAVAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay apologized to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) on Thursday, May 21, that the organization had been dragged into corruption issues thrown at him.
"Tanggapin 'nyo sana (Please accept) again my sincerest apologies," Binay said told BSP councils leaders when he swore in the newly elected members of the national executive board in Tagum City.
Binay, BSP president for two decades, asserted during the open forum that the allegations he earned from the organization's funds and assets were meant to derail his plans to win the presidency next year. (READ: Did Binay use Boy Scout funds for 2010 bid?)
Binay's critics in Makati, given a venue in Senate hearings, have alleged that the BSP was shortchanged when Binay allowed it to lease its prime property in Makati to property developer Alphaland based on rates that the company, and not the BSP, determined. In exchange, Binay supposedly got commission from Alphaland which he used in his 2010 vice presidential campaign.
At the time, the BSP issued a statement, saying there was no truth to claims that Binay made kickbacks from the contract with Alphaland.
Binay told the BSP council members on Thursday that because of politics and "baseless" accusations, Filipinos are now unfortunately fighting against each other.
He said he was dismayed that people were now criticizing him who dedicated his time to serving government and the country.
While he previously vowed that he would refraining from talking about politics while wearing his Boy Scouts uniform, Binay spoke to the hundreds of scout leaders in a calculated tone.
Support as individuals
Many in attendance expressed their support to Binay's candidacy in 2016. In several instances during the session, council leaders addressed him as "Mister President" or "President Binay." Each time, they applauded, hinting that the title was not just in reference to his being the president of the BSP.
To add to the election mood in the gathering, Valenzuela Representative Sherwin Gatchalian was addressed as "Senator Gatchalian" while raising a motion during the session.
Gatchalian was recently elected as the chair of the BSP in the National Capital Region.
While Binay was officiating the oath-taking of the 4 re-elected members of the national executive board, someone on the stage commented over the microphone that it was like a preview of the upcoming elections and that hopefully, like in the BSP, Binay would win unchallenged.
Binay has been the national president of the BSP for 19 years straight with almost no opposition every election.
A national council member, who refused to be named, lamented how the organization was dragged into controversy just because of its association with Binay.
"What is painful is that, just because Binay is our president, they would put malice in our every move. The BSP is a democratic group and we always ensure transparency. If they have evidence to prove their accusations then they should file it directly on court instead of putting Binay and the BSP through trial by publicity," the scout leader said.
Another national council member said he would wish for no other president for the country than Binay, given the kind of commitment that he showed to the scouting community.
"Nobody is perfect, but with Binay I am sure that he is guided by scout laws. In fact, in the BSP, I don't think anyone can surpass him as president," the council leader said.
The same scout leader shared that he is from Davao City, but he would still support Binay even though he has been appreciative of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is also being groomed for a presidential bid.
But for Arnel Delute, who is a member of the national executive board, the national council meeting is apolitical and was not in anyway connected to the upcoming presidential elections.
He explained that there are politicians who are also boy scouts who are not from Binay's political party. "We are from different colors here. And this is not a solid bloc vote group. We are here for the BSP."
Several scout leaders said that they will definitely campaign for Binay in the upcoming elections, but they explained that they will do it not as an institution but as individuals
One scout leader shared, however, that the organization had used gatherings of parents of young boy scouts to air the side of Binay and the BSP in the Alphaland deal controversy. – Rappler.com