Binay would rather talk to people than attend Senate ‘circus’
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay will rather tour the country and talk to each Filipino to answer the accusations against him than attend the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing.
Lawyer JV Bautista, interim secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), in a televised press conference on Thursday said Binay was willing to go around the country and talk to 100 million people.
“Ngunit hindi po sya tutungtong dito sa circus ng Senate…” Bautista said.
(But he will not set foot at the Senate circus).
“Hindi po pwedeng madungisan ang kanyang pagkatao at ang kanyang opisina nitong tatlong nagwawalang senador na ito,” he added.
(His reputation and his office should not be tainted by these three senators who are running amok.)
In his letter to Senator Teofisto Guingona III, committee chairperson, Binay said it would not be proper for him to attend the hearing.
“This will set a bad precedent, where the Vice President, the second highest official of the land, can be summoned to a hearing by some senators,” he explained.
Binay, who is in Cebu, accused the senators of being a party to “a syndicate of lies.”
Binay is being accused of pocketing kickbacks from the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall parking building. Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernest Mercado also accused his family of owning a 350-hectare estate in Batangas. Mercado said Binay’s ill-gotten wealth was used to purchase and develop the property.
Binay, who will run as president in 2016, said his political rivals were behind the black propaganda against him.
Guingona and the other senators were expecting Binay to appear before the Senate and answer corruption allegations. However, media reported that Binay arrived in Cebu on Thursday morning to meet with business and government officials.
Bautista read Binay’s letter in a press conference at the Senate while the hearing was ongoing.
Binay said he initially wanted to attend the hearing upon receiving Guingona’s invitation after the senator assured him of being given respect that “befits (his) position as Vice President of the Republic.”
However, he was dismayed with Senator Alan Cayetano who “drove away” Bautista and Navotas Representative Tobias “Toby” Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
“The behavior of Senators Cayetano and Trillanes last October 30, and in previous hearings, proves that they are not ready to hear any explanation that contradicts their conclusion that I am guilty,” Binay wrote.
He said Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were bullying and intimidating people whose testimony before the Senate contradicted their views.
“If these senators were not even admonished in the past eleven hearings, and if my authorized representatives were treated like criminals, I see no assurance that I will be given the chance to speak freely, that my rights will be recognized, or that the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines will be accorded the respect it deserves,” Binay said.
He said he would also submit his affidavit containing his “detailed response to the baseless accusations and lies of our political rivals”.
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