Binay camp still silent on 'hidden' dollar accounts

MANILA, Philippines – Did he or didn’t he own undisclosed foreign bank accounts?

It’s been almost a week, but the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay remains silent on allegations that he owned several Hong Kong bank accounts in the 80s and 90s not declared in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

The revelation was made by Binay’s ally-turned-foe former Makati vice-mayor Ernesto Mercado in a November 6 hearing of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee probing into corruption allegations against Binay.

Documents presented by Mercado showed Binay supposedly had 4 Hong Kong bank accounts to his name with another 3 shared accounts with his long-time aide Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy.

Mercado said he got the documents – two boxes worth – from someone in Binay's camp. 

In a Wednesday, November 12, interview on #RapplerTalk, Binay’s spokesman for political concerns Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla could not give a definitive answer on the truthfulness of the accounts.

“There’s a deeper story to that, from what I know. But I think the lawyers have an answer for that,” Remulla said.

Pressed for a clearer answer, the governor said an explanation is “coming.”

“I think they will show the trails and what it’s all about,” he said, adding that he was not privy to the Vice President’s financial concerns.

In a statement issued the same day, Binay’s head for media affairs Joey Salgado, alluded to the bank documents.

“[Senator Antonio Trillanes IV] justifies their decision to continue the hearings by saying that their witnesses, led by Mr Ernesto Mercado, have in their possession a so-called balikbayan box of documents. These documents from the 1980s and 1990s are of dubious origin, relevance, and authenticity. Mercado's box is a box full of lies,” Salgado said.

Binay is in the middle of the biggest political scandal to hit him to date.

On top of plunder charges before the Ombudsman, the Vice President has been the subject of the subcommittee’s hearings where he has been accused of rigging bids, accepting kickbacks and hiding his wealth through dummies and the foreign accounts. 

Despite two invitations from the subcommittee and the mother committee, Binay has so far failed to appear before the Senate to defend himself from the allegations. His camp says it's unlikely he ever will. 

In an interview on his 72nd birthday, a jovial Binay told reporters the attacks of his detractors were “waning.” – Rappler.com