LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines – So we know that the second presidential debate held in Cebu City on Sunday, March 20, was delayed by one and a half hours because candidates were arguing over a mistaken permission for Vice President Jejomar Binay to bring documents to the podium.
In the end, Binay, still bringing documents that he said would prove wrong allegations of money laundering and corruption against him, was prevented from presenting them during the program.
TV-5 executive Luchi Cruz Valdes said she gave the Binay camp the go signal to have the Vice President bring “notes” to the debate. She belatedly realized that there was a Commission on Elections rule against it, and which prompted administration party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II to question Binay’s documents, thus delaying the start of the event.
On Monday morning, March 21, the Vice President held a press conference in Lapu-Lapu City to present the documents he wanted to show in the debate.
“What difference does it make if I bring these documents to support my position?” he said in Filipino. “As long as we follow the same time restrictions as everyone else.”
Binay said he was “satisfied” with his performance in the debate, but was “slightly” affected by the mudslinging and by other candidates ganging up on him over corruption allegations. Roxas, Senator Grace Poe, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte joined the debate.
At Monday’s press conference, Binay presented the 9 documents he wanted to show during the Cebu presidential debate:
1. Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)
The number one question that has hounded Binay is where he gets his wealth. To answer this, he showed copies of his SALNs since 1988, when he was first elected Makati mayor.
He didn’t explain the listed assets in detail or what accounted for his net worth, but said he would open these documents up to the public because the documents speak for themselves.
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2. Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE)
The SOCE contains a list of the contributions that a candidate got in an election and how he spent them.
In the 2010 elections, Binay declared in his SOCE that he spent P217.9 million – sourcing all of it from contributions.
He added that he received P231,480,000 from 641 contributors, consisting of private corporations and individuals.
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3. Blue ribbon committee affidavit
He said this was his official response to the year-long Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced P3.8-billion parking building at the Makati City Hall compound.
When asked why he would not attend Senate hearings to present this affidavit himself, he said that he would answer to the court, which is the proper venue for him to be judged.
4. Income tax returns (ITR)
“I may have some wealth, but at least I file and pay my taxes on time, unlike a lot of other guys here in the Philippines,” Binay said in Filipino.
According to a Rappler report published in 2014, from 1986 to 2013, Binay and his wife Elenita recorded a consolidated net income of P83,115,268.23 ($1.9 million), with taxes amounting to P23,054,751.93 ($518,635).
He said he would furnish copies of his ITRs to reporters within the day.
5. Bank secrecy waiver
This was the document he challenged other candidates to sign during the first round of the debate on Sunday, but which they didn’t.
Questioned by rivals about the sincerity of his vow to pass a Freedom of Information (FOI) law if he is elected, Vice President Jejomar Binay brought out a paper and challenged his rivals to sign with him a bank secrecy waiver.
The copy he brought to the press conference was unsigned by him, but his signature was affixed when he sent it to local media.
6. Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) motion to drop respondents
This affidavit was to show AMLC’s ex parte motion to drop from a Manila court case the companies linked to Binay: the JCB Foundation, Agrifortuna, and 6 other respondents.
During the press conference, Binay denied owning more than 200 bank accounts, allegedly under names of relatives and associates.
The AMLC already filed a civil forfeiture case with the Manila Regional Trial Court against Binay, his family, and alleged dummies.
The AMLC is seeking for a freeze order that covers 139 bank accounts and 19 real properties under the name of the Vice President and his co-accused.
See related Rappler stories:
7. Medical certificate
Is the 73-year-old Vice President fit to run the country for 6 years?
According to the medical certificate, Binay is “physically and mentally fit for his candidacy as President of the Republic of the Philippines.”
The medical certificate was signed on January 27, 2016, by doctors Regina Macalintal-Canlas, Juaneha Alfredo Las, and Irma Macalinao of the Makati Medical Center.
It was issued at a time when questions about the health and fitness of presidential candidates made it to the news.
8. United States oath of allegiance
This was the only document not related to Binay. It was the US oath of allegiance, the statement that a person reads when taking their oath as a citizen of the US.
He had this with him at the presidential debate.
“Alam mo, Madame Senator, pinag-uusapan natin rule of law, ha? Lagi mong sinasabi na ikaw ay tunay na Pilipino, paano ka magiging tunay na Pilipino? Eh sumumpa ka maging Amerikano at kinahihiya mo pinanggalinan mo,” Binay told Poe.
According to Binay’s account, when he was in New York, United States, and had just passed the bar, he almost applied to be a naturalized American citizen, but couldn’t do it when he heard the oath of allegiance.
“The hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” he said. “They were asking me to renounce being Filipino. I couldn’t do it,” he said in Filipino.
9. Good governance awards
Binay also brought with him awards and citations to prove his track record for good governance:
- A plaque for the 2011 Seal of Good House Keeping from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, signed by late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo
- A plaque for the 2014 Blue Certification for Business Permits from the Office of the Ombudsman signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
- A plaque from the National Competitive Council recognizing Makati for being the most competitive city in the country.