CEBU CITY, Philippines – “Bakit sila takot na takot sa pamilyang Binay?” (Why are they so afraid of the Binay family?)
The Binay political dynasty blasted the dismissal of suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr as an attempt of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) and the Ombudsman to “destroy” the family, which has ruled Makati for over two decades.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said his son’s dismissal has no legal basis, and is the latest in a “series of demolition by perception.”
“Nakakatawang nakakalungkot. Pulitika lang ito mula umpisa hanggang ngayon,” Binay said in an interview here after the Visayas launch of his opposition party. (This is funny and sad at the same time. This is all politics from the start until now.)
The Vice President, his wife Dr Elenita Binay, and eldest daughter Senator Nancy Binay were in Cebu when news broke that the Ombudsman dismissed Mayor Binay and perpetually disqualified him from holding public office over the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building.
The Ombudsman said the bidding, construction, and payment of the project was anomalous.
The Binay patriarch said the family long expected the dismissal after receiving a text message warning about it, and the possible arrest of the Vice President also in relation to the parking building.
A lawyer, Binay said he could not understand why the Ombudsman issued the decision even if cases on the issue are still pending before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
“Ayoko sabihing mahina ang utak ng Ombudsman, pero ang sinasabi napaka-elementary iyan. Kahit ang first year sa college maipapaliwanag. Isa pa, nandoon pa ang Aguinaldo doctrine na ang Ombudsman ayaw maniwala.”
(I don’t want to say the Ombudsman is brainless but this is very elementary. Even a first year college student can explain. Also, there is the Aguinaldo doctrine that the Ombudsman does not want to believe.)
Binay was referring to the legal doctrine that holds that a public official should not be charged for offenses that occurred prior to the last elections. The principle is being contested in the Supreme Court ruling on the parking building.
The opposition standard-bearer also pointed out that, just last week, the Commission on Audit asked Mayor Binay to respond to the case within 15 days.
Binay stopped short of mocking the Ombudsman’s order for dismissal.
“Ako ay naging abogado, nag-practice ako, naiintindihan ko ang elementary rules.” (I am a lawyer. I practiced law and I understand rules.)
The Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ decision came less than 3 months after the Vice President filed a P200-million libel complaint against the Ombudsman and other individuals, whom he accused of having “concerted actions…that contributed to destroying” his name.
Junjun will still file candidacy
Binay and Senator Nancy Binay said the mayor will still file his certificate of candidacy for re-election next week. The dismissal order came just two days before the start of filing set for October 12 to 16.
Senator Binay said the timing was a clear sign that the dismissal was political harassment.
“Ang makakalaban ng kapatid ko sa Makati, member ng LP. The only way makita nila para manalo ang LP, tanggalin nila, i-technical ang kapatid ko,” she said. (My brother will be up against an LP member. The only way they see the LP will win is to take him out and defeat him by technicality.)
Mayor Binay will be up against Acting Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña.
Father and daughter Binay also questioned why LP stalwart Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was not suspended or dismissed in relation to the investigation into the administration spending measure, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Si Secretary Abad, ang P72 billion na DAP case niya, ni ho, ni ha walang suspension tayong naririnig mula sa Ombudsman.” (Secretary Abad has a P72-billion DAP case, but we hear nothing from the Ombudsman about suspending him.)
The Binays said the mayor will pursue his political plans, and the lawyers will take care of filing the proper motions.
End of Binay dynasty?
Dra Elenita Binay, the Vice President’s wife, also branded the case as political. She, too, has graft cases over allegedly overpriced furniture and hospital equipment in Makati when she was mayor.
“This is very sad, what is happening to us. So sad, very sad,” she said.
The Ombudsman has revived graft complaints against Elenita Binay that its own office dismissed 6 years ago.
The Binays’ staunchest critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, hailed the decision as a positive step for good governance.
Trillanes led the yearlong Senate probe into corruption allegations against the Binay.
“The fight was long, difficult and bitter but in the end, truth and justice prevailed. The Ombudsman’s order signals the end of the Binay dynasty. I only hope it would lead to a new era of good governance in Makati,” the senator said. – Rappler.com