Aquino confirms meeting Binay over corruption allegations
MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Monday confirmed that he met with Vice President Jejomar Binay last week and discussed the allegations hurled against him.
“Nag-meeting kami sa Bahay Pangarap. Siguro lampas dalawang oras; umabot ng lampas midnight e. Tapos marami kaming pinag-usapan, ‘yung kasalukuyang mga isyung hinaharap niya hanggang doon sa ‘yung mga reminiscing about the olden times,” Aquino said during an interview in Leyte.
(We met at Bahay Pangarap. Perhaps for more than two hours; we were there until past midnight. We discussed a lot of things, from the issues he is currently facing to reminiscing about the olden times.)
Former vice mayor Ernesto Mercado had accused Binay of accepting kickbacks from the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2. He further claimed that the kickbacks gathered from Makati buildings were tapped to develop a 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas, which the Binay family allegedly owns.
Reports came out that the two top officials had a private meeting last week but Binay reportedly denied that they talked about the said issue.
Aquino, however, said the Vice President understands that he needs to answer the allegations.
Despite being under fire, the opposition leader promised his commitment to Aquino’s mandate.
“In my turn naman, ang sabi ko sa kanya, ‘yung ‘I can assure you na you will have, ‘di ba, all your rights and due processes. We will not countenance anybody manufacturing evidence against you. We will try to keep all the processes on a very professional level,” Aquino said.
(In my turn, I told him, I can assure you that you will have all your rights and due processes. We will not support anybody manufacturing evidence against you. We will try to keep all the processes on a very professional level.)
Binay’s camp has accused the senators and the administration of bolstering the investigation against the Vice President to hurt his presidential bid in 2016.
Aquino said Binay had asked him about administration allies in Senate, to which he replied, “Pakitanong mo na lang sa kanila kung ‘yung Senado is known for being 24 independent republics.”
(Just ask them if the Senate is really known for being 24 independent republics.)
“At the end of the day, ‘yon na nga, sabi ko sa kanya, the truth will come out; and between the two of us, you will know what the truth is so, you will know what will be coming out,” he added.
(At the end of the day, I told him, the truth will come out. And between the two of us, you will know what the truth is so, you will know what will be coming out.)
Asked if it was true that Binay asked him to stop the probe, Aquino said, at the end of the day, the case will be with the Ombudsman.
He said the Department of Justice, which has received flak from the camp of Binay, is just supporting the Ombudsman’s efforts.
He emphasized that the Office of the Ombudsman is independent of the Executive.
Aquino dismissed rumors that their relationship was not in good terms.
He credited Binay for achievements in the housing sector.
“His assignments (as housing czar) he has done. After doing his assignments, should I be castigating him? I don’t think that’s proper,” the President said.
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