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MANILA, Philippines – The odds were stacked mostly against Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2015, as more evidence of his alleged corrupt practices – along with that of his family and allies – was unearthed this year.
For one, the investigation on the overpriced Makati City parking building – first revealed in 2013 and made basis for the plunder case filed against Binay – continued, with more details exposed.
The decline in Binay’s mid-year survey numbers remained inconclusive based on past election results. True enough, by December, Binay’s numbers are up again.
Will all these make a dent in his bid for the presidency in 2016? That’s what many are watching and wondering about, although his camp has been boasting that his core of supporters has remained solid despite all the mud thrown at him. His track record of many years as chief executive of the financial district speaks for itself and this has made him resilient amid all the accusations, they say.
The December 4-11 survey of Pulse Asia on presidential preferences showed Binay at the top spot with 33%, representing an increase of 14 percentage points compared to the September survey. Will this hold through May 2016?
This year, there were new allegations hurled against Binay aired mostly in the long-drawn Senate investigations described as politically motivated. Among these are the following:
- The overpriced fixtures in the comfort rooms of the parking building. Rappler compared the retail prices of the toilet fixtures with the prices listed in documents provided by the Makati city government, and found major discrepancies.
- The bidding process for the construction of the parking building raised red flags, and cast some doubt on the integrity of the process.
The Senate came out in May with a partial report that recommended to the Ombudsman the filing of plunder charges against Binay, his son, and co-conspirators over the overpriced parking building.
In a podcast interview, former vice mayor Ernesto Mercado – Binay’s principal accuser – said he expects an indictment of all those involved in the overpriced transactions, with indicted city officials possibly facing administrative or criminal cases.
The alleged dummies of Binay were also not spared from the ongoing investigation on other graft issues.
In May, the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a freeze order on 242 bank accounts and investments of Binay, his family, and his alleged dummies. This was the result of a probe by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Among those in both freeze orders are bank accounts under the name of Erlinda Chong. We found her to have been used by Binay in purchasing a billion-peso-worth commercial strip in Barangay Comembo in Makati for a much lower price. (READ: How a Binay dummy got a P1B Makati property)
A complaint was already filed in 1999 before the Ombudsman, which decided that the property should not have been sold to Chong. But a review of a separate graft panel reversed the decision. (READ: A Mormon church, Binay dummies, and a land scam)
In August, a review of Makati’s service contracts ordered under the leadership of Makati Mayor Kid Peña revealed that the alleged Binay dummies cornered the bulk of Makati’s IT, janitorial, and security services by running the same companies that won bids in a span of almost a decade.
The findings against Binay did some harm to his presidential bid. While he began the year as front-runner in the presidential surveys, his ranking suddenly dropped during the mid-year surveys because of the issues raised against him.
This decline in survey scores remains inconclusive, however, based on the Benigno Aquino III-Manny Villar experience in the 2010 elections. True enough, by December, Binay’s numbers were up again.
Despite all the negative issues raised against him, Binay has been doing better in performance and satisfaction ratings compared to President Benigno Aquino III.
In the end, will he emerge victorious in 2016? – Rappler.com