Palace denies involvement in Binay 'demolition job'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is washing its hands clean of any involvement in the so-called "demolition job" against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has dismissed allegations against him as politically motivated.

On Wednesday, October 8, the same day a former Makati official revealed Binay’s alleged 350-hectare Batangas farm at a Senate hearing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied that the Palace is behind the moves to bring down the Vice President in preparation for the 2016 presidential race.

“Like you, this is the first time we are looking at the video presentation of Vice Mayor [Ernesto] Mercado. We can say categorically that we are not involved in any way,” Lacierda said, responding to questions.

He added: “We are not aware of any moves by anyone in government. We are not using government resources as to how these are being revealed.”

In the Philippines, the president and vice president may come from different political parties. President Benigno Aquino III is a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), while Binay has created his new political party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), in preparation for the 2016 elections. UNA was the opposition coalition in the 2013 midterm elections.

Lacierda also refused to comment on Binay’s statements that political motives are behind the attacks. The Vice President did not mention who he believes is behind them.

“We will not comment on his statement that it is politically motivated. That is a strategy that he employs on his part and so we won’t comment on that. But if you are asking us if we are involved in any way in this matter, no we are not. We again go to the basic principle of he who alleges must prove the same," Lacierda said.

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, outspoken critics of the Vice President and have actively participated at the Senate hearing, are said to have  ambitions for higher office in 2016.

All eyes are on the Vice President, in the light of corruption allegations against him and members of his family spawned by a Senate probe on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building constructed during his mayorship.

The latest allegation, made by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, is that the Binays own an estate he calls "Hacienda Binay" with an estimated value of P1.2 billion ($26.77 million*) not declared in the Vice President's Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs). The Binay camp denies the allegation.

Binay is currently leading in 2016 presidential polls, although the most recent survey shows a drop in his numbers by 10 percentage points. He is trailed by LP’s presumed standard bearer Manuel Roxas II.

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