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Binay camp on reopening Senate probe: Trillanes just wants publicity

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV only wants to reopen the Senate investigation into the corruption allegations against the opposition standard-bearer to help boost his vice presidential bid.

“Clearly, the senator merely wants to squeeze from the hearing whatever publicity it can provide him and his catatonic campaign,” said Binay’s media affairs head Joey Salgado on Wednesday, January 13.

The Inquirer reported that Trillanes, the only vice presidential bet without a presidential candidate, is seeking to resume the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s probe on corruption allegations against Binay and members of his family by the end of January.

The last hearing was held in August 2015, when a city hall official from Makati, where the Vice President was mayor for 21 years, revealed how Binay’s “dummies” allegedly cornered contracts in the city for a decade.

Trillanes denied his proposal was triggered by the results of the latest survey of Pulse Asia Research Incorporated on presidential and vice presidential preferences, which Binay topped. The survey also showed the senator lagging behind among the vice presidential bets. 

Trillanes argued that the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee was supposed to hold another hearing on the accusations against the Binays in November 2015, but they had to prioritize the deliberations on the national budget.

Salgado does not believe Trillanes, calling the senator’s statement “a fantastic claim that no one believes, probably not even Senator Trillanes.”

“Two of the inquisitors, after vehemently professing last year the absence of political motives, are running for vice president. The third one is backing a presidential candidate. Puwede ba, sir, huwag niyo na kaming lokohin (Please, sir, stop fooling us),” said Salgado.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is the running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Senate blue ribbon subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is the president of Duterte’s party, PDP-Laban.  (READ: Pimentel defends year-long Senate probe on Binay)

Trillanes is supporting Senator Grace Poe.

Ang daming issues na dapat ginugulan ng oras ng Senado na hindi nila ginawa. Ang daming issues na hanggang ngayon ay wala pa ring kasagutan tulad ng kahirapan, gutom, kawalan ng trabaho. Imbes na harapin ito, mas gusto ni Senador Trillanes na ituloy ang paninira kay Vice President dahil tumaas ang rating ni Vice President Binay sa mga survey,” said Salgado.

(There are many issues that the Senate should be spending its time on. There are many issues that, until now, have not been resolved, including poverty, hunger, lack of jobs. Instead of facing these, Senator Trillanes would rather continue the demolition job against the Vice President because the Vice President's survey ratings increased.)

“In a way, we pity Senator Trillanes. Despite hogging the headlines and airwaves for more than a year, the voting public still does not believe him fit to become vice president. But that probably speaks more of the intellect of the voters,” Salgado added. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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