Binay denies owning Batangas hacienda, says accusers ‘just hallucinating’
MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay categorically denied on Thursday owning a 350-hectare agricultural estate in Batangas province, saying his detractors are “just hallucinating.”
“Nakakatawa po iyon. Matagal nang isyu iyon. Dumami na nga nang dumami. Dati nga 150, tapos naging 200 ngayon naging 300 na,” Binay said in an interview.
(That is laughable. That issue has dragged on. The estate (which I supposedly own) used to be 150 (hectares), then 200 (hectares), and now it’s 300 (hectares).
“Pinaliwanag na po namin iyan. Hindi po ako ang may ari niyan. Nananaginip na lang iyan,” he said.
(We already explained that. I do not own that property. They are “just hallucinating.”)
An erstwhile ally, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado alleged that the Vice President owned the property, which he estimated to cost around P1.2 billion. Mercado said Binay used dummies to hide his wealth.
The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee being headed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III then reiterated the committee’s invitation to the Vice President to attend its investigation into the allegedly overpriced parking building in Makati City.
Asked by a reporter if he would accept the invitation, Binay said: “Ikaw kaya dadalo ka ba doon? Dadalo ka ba sa naninirang puring mga testigo? Dadalo ka ba sa bagay na hindi na dapat kasama pag-usapan? Dadalo ka ba doon kung nasagot na ‘yung dapat pag-usapan? Pang-apat, dadalo ka pa ba doon kung alam mo na kung saan tutungo ang kanilang gagawin? I won’t give dignity to them.”
(If it were you, would you appear in that investigation? Would you answer to witnesses who are out to destroy your reputation? Would you respond to something which we should no longer talk about? Would you still respond to something which has already been explained? Fourthly, would you still attend the investigation when you already know where they are heading?)
The Vice President lamented that the Senate was supposed to investigate the allegedly overpriced building only but it has expanded to other issues.
“Kita ninyo pulitikang-pulitika, ito personalan na. Hindi naman po criminal case ito,” Binay said.
(You see these political moves have already gotten personal. This is not a criminal case.)
He admitted that the controversy has affected his ratings as shown in the latest Pulse Asia survey where he suffered a 15-percentage point drop both in his performance and trust ratings.
“Hindi naman ako magpapaka-ipokrito. ‘Yung doon sa isang Pulse Asia survey, ‘yung naninira sa akin na isang kandidato, contributory din iyon dahil siya hindi nasunod, kasi siya, 5 to 1. Nasa tail-end,” Binay said.
(I am not a hypocrite. One of the probable candidates only got a rating of 1 from his previous five in the latest Pulse Asia survey, and that could have contributed as to why he is out to get me.)
Senate Majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the proponents in the ongoing Senate blue ribbon subcommittee probe on plunder complaints against Binay, got a rating of 1 in the latest Pulse Asia presidential preference survey, along with detained Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.
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