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MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday, September 24, insisted that every single peso to his name and all of his properties are accounted for, amid accusations of corruption when he was mayor of Makati.
“Allegations are easy to concoct but numbers are hard to refute,” said Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, in a press conference on Wednesday, September 24.
Binay’s wealth has been under scrutiny following a plunder case filed against him over an alleged overpriced Makati City building. The plunder raps sparked a Senate probe, which has since become the setting for one exposé after another on the Vice President's alleged corrupt ways.
Ahead of the Senate’s sixth hearing on the issue, Binay released his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) from 1988 to 2013. Binay was Makati mayor from 1986 to 2001, and from 2004 to 2010.
He took a "break" from 2001 to 2004 after serving 3 consecutive terms as mayor. His wife, Elenita, was elected Makati mayor during that time.
As of 2013, Binay and his wife have a declared net worth of P60,118,766 (*$1.4 million), a huge leap from their declared net worth when he first assumed his post as mayor of Makati.
Back in 1988, Binay had a net worth of P2,527,724.85 (*$56,870.46), and 5 real properties under his name: a house in San Antonio Village, Makati; a house in Laguna; houses in Alabang, Muntinlupa and San Pedro, Laguna; as well as agricultural land in Isabel, Batangas, and Bataan.
From 1986 to 2013, the couple recorded a consolidated net income of P83,115,268.23 (*$1.9 million) with taxes amounting to P23,054,751.93 (*$518,635).
The same day, Binay released his SALNs to the public, he led the first organizational meeting of his new "party" for the 2016 elections. In a meeting featuring his allies from all over the country, the Vice President announced that the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) would turn into a political party in time for the 2016 polls.
Binay is thus far the only confirmed candidate in the 2016 presidential race.
Remulla and Binay’s legal counsels Martin Subido and Princess Turgano said a review of Binay’s SALN and Income Tax Returns would show how the Vice President and his wife amassed wealth through legal means, refuting the claims of key resource persons in the Senate probe.
Former allies and Makati officials allege that Binay and his family – his wife, son Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, and daughters Senator Nancy Binay and Makati Representative Abigail Binay – all benefitted from the city’s coffers.
The Vice President allegedly got a 13%-kickback for every city project. Funds were also supposedly used to finance their campaigns in the 2010 elections.
Although Binay’s camp has dismissed the hearing as merely political in nature, Remulla said his SALNs and ITRs were released to the public in the spirit of “leadership by example.”
Binay isn’t the only public official whose finances are under intense public scrutiny. Police officials are set to undergo lifestyle checks after a string of crimes involving men in uniform.
“We thought that it be best we do [lifestyle check] first to show that the VP leads by example,” said Remulla.
Based on documents released to the media, Binay’s income grew by leaps and bounds in a span of almost two decades. Binay’s cash cow then was “JCB Farms,” a piggery business based in Rosario, Batangas.
From 1994 to 2010, JCB Farms brought in over P44.4 million for the Vice President.
Prior to starting his piggery business, Binay’s income did not even hit P10 million. In 1993, Binay reported a net worth of P7.7 million.
“From 1989 to 1991, the Vice President’s only source of income was his salary as mayor of Makati,” Turgano added. In those same years, Binay’s wife ran a flower shop business that sourced its products from a leased property also in Rosario, Batangas.
His camp also clarified that the land was never owned by Binay, and that he was leasing the 9-hectare property, refuting a 2001 Newsbreak report. (READ: The Lord of Makati: Can Binay explain his wealth?)
“The visibility of the Vice President and his family in Rosario, Batangas, is therefore due to the piggery business and the flower farm for Dra. Binay’s flower shop business,” said Turgano.
After winning the vice presidency in 2010, Binay divested from JCB farms. That same year, the Vice President reported P13,541,711 in excess campaign contributions. Fresh off his electoral win, Binay’s net worth increased by almost P13 million – from P44.8 million in 2009 to P58 million by the end of 2010.
Remulla said they have yet to clarify if excess campaign donations are considered income and are thus taxable but said Binay “is willing to submit to the Bureau of Internal Revenue if there are any requirements as such.”
The Binay couple has 11 real properties totalling P13.9 million to their name: the same house and lot in San Antonio Village, Makati which is now worth around P7.1 million (fair market value) and 9 other residential lots and agricultural land.
As of 2014, Binay’s only source of income is “his salary and the Blooms and Bouquet flower business of his wife,” according to Subido. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.45