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Binay presidency scares priest who sat on CBCP panel with VP

A priest who sat in at a meeting of a group of Catholic prelates and religious with Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday found implausible Binay’s explanations about the corruption allegations being thrown at him.

If anything, Fr. Edu Gariguez, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa), finds a Binay presidency to be a scary prospect.

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“I don’t believe him, his explanations were unconvincing and I’m scared at the thought of him becoming President,” Gariguez said at a press briefing yesterday on the Catholic Church’s rehabilitation program for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Gariguez, who accompanied Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the public affairs head of the CBCP, to the meeting with Binay, stressed that what he was saying was his personal opinion and not the official stance of the CBCP.

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Binay’s name came up at the press conference that was supposed to be about post-Yolanda rehabilitation, when Gariguez was asked by reporters about his views on the calls for President Aquino to resign because of the slowness of the government’s action in the Yolanda-devastated areas.

Gariguez replied that he did not support such calls knowing that Binay would succeed to the post.

“I don’t want to call for Aquino’s resignation because Binay will replace him. And that’s even worse, it’s scary,” he said.

“With all the anomalies happening …. The situation with P-Noy is that he’s very inefficient. If Binay replaces him, it would be more than just a matter of efficiency. It will be a combination of past administrations like Joseph Estrada who is popular, at the same time Imeldific like the Marcoses … with houses as big as a palace,” he added.

‘Just clarified issues’

Gariguez would not reveal any other details of what was discussed during the more than two-hour meeting.

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“We discussed about housing, relocation, since he’s the one in charge of the administration’s housing concerns,” he said.

But he was quoted earlier as saying that Binay had “just clarified issues hurled against him” during the meeting.

Binay also gave Pabillo a paper titled “The Truth about the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee Hearing,” where he denied all the allegations against him.

Advised to attend hearings

Gariguez said that during the meeting, the Church group had advised Binay to attend the Senate hearings. “But he said he was already prejudged,” he said.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has been investigating allegations that Binay took kickbacks from infrastructure projects and other contracts awarded to favored contractors when he was the mayor of Makati.

Binay was appointed by President Cory Aquino as Makati officer-in-charge in 1986. He was elected mayor in 1989 and served two nonconsecutive nine-year terms until 2010.

Binay is also accused of owning, allegedly through dummies, a P1.2-billion, 350-hectare farming estate in Rosario, Batangas.

“He said he was already prejudged but if you don’t go to such forums, there will be lingering doubts that those accusations are true. The debate between Binay and Sen. (Antonio) Trillanes will be a competition of who argues better. But in the Senate where he can defend himself point by point, it will be the people who will judge if he’s telling the truth,” Gariguez said.

‘Truth will set you free’

“He thinks he’s being persecuted, but if he believes that what he’s saying is true, the more that he should go (to the Senate) to defend himself. If you have the truth you have nothing to fear, the truth will set you free,” the priest added.

According to Gariguez, Pabillo had met with Binay in the spirit of fairness, having earlier met with the seven whistle-blowers who are Binay’s main accusers.

The whistle-blowers are former Makati government officials who have accused Binay of enriching himself from kickbacks from Makati’s infrastructure projects, including the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

Binay has denied the allegations, saying these were all political persecution aimed at destroying his bid to run for President in 2016.

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TAGS: Binay, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, CBCP, CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, corruption, Fr. Edu Gariguez, Graft, Jejomar Binay, Justice and Peace, Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa, overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, Supertyphoon Yolanda, Vice President Binay
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