Pimentel pa, son never bring up Binay | Inquirer News
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Pimentel pa, son never bring up Binay

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 02:58 PM November 30, 2014
Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.  AFP FILE PHOTO

Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Nowadays, former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. and his son, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, talk about anything and everything—except Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The elder Pimentel has made it a point not to bring up the Senate inquiry into charges of corruption and ill-gotten wealth against the Vice President presided over by his son at the dinner table.

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“I refrain from even talking with Koko about this matter. I don’t. Even at home when he drops in, calls on the family, I’m totally hands off,” Nene Pimentel said in an interview during the Nov. 17 necrological services for the late Sen. Juan Flavier at the Senate.

“Because I want Koko to arrive at his decision on his own discretion using the evidence,” he said.

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The younger Pimentel, as chair of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, has presided over a dozen hearings on allegations linking Binay to anomalies in Makati City when he was its mayor.

For sake of exposure

From the allegedly pricey P2.28-billion Makati office and carpark, the subcommittee has expanded its inquiry to cover Binay’s alleged ownership of a vast, high-end P1.2-billion farm in Batangas and of condominium units through dummies.

Binay has scoffed at the hearings as a forum to vilify him ahead of the 2016 presidential elections, and has continuously denied the charges against him.

Claiming that the Senate had no power to expose “for the sake of exposure,” he has skipped two invitations to attend the hearings. He has argued that the Ombudsman was the proper body to hear the charges against him.

The Senate inquiry resumes in January.

Nonconversational topics

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The elder Pimentel was lecturer and head of the Center for Local Governance at the University of Makati, the city government-run university, until he left in September, when the inquiry began. Since then, he said he and Binay had never talked, except once.

In October, they were invited to the same forum on local governance in a Davao City hotel, and Binay sought Pimentel out and went up to his room for a chat.

“We said, ‘How are you?’ We talked about very non-controversial topics. I only told him, ‘I wish you well and I hope the truth will come out to vindicate everyone if that’s possible,’” Pimentel said.

When the Senate inquiry opened in September, the elder Pimentel stopped holding office at the University of Makati to avoid controversy.

“I thought that the situation called for my getting out. Otherwise, either way, if the investigation results in the acquittal, or cleansing of Jojo [Binay], people might think, even if it’s not true, that the reason for that is that his [Koko’s] father is there,” he said.

“On the other hand, if convicted, the other side, those partisan to Jojo, would say: ‘What is he doing there? He’s there, and he’s done nothing.’ So either way, it doesn’t look good,” he said.

Pimentel first left the Univesity of Makati after Binay broke his ties with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which the two formed two decades ago, over political differences.

He agreed to return after Binay implored him not to allow politics to get in the way of his good programs at the university.

Deeper differences

Binay left PDP-Laban early this year over what he called party disunity to form his own party for the 2016 presidential elections.

He said he found it odd that the party president, now Senator Pimentel, was allied with the administration, while his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, belonged to the opposition.

But the differences ran deeper.

The cracks began to show when the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), a coalition of Binay’s PDP-Laban and Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, included Sen. Miguel Zubiri in its 2013 senatorial slate.

Koko Pimentel had accused Zubiri of robbing him of a Senate seat in the fraud-marred 2007 senatorial elections.

In November 2011, the Commission on Elections and the Department of Justice charged former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Comelec officer Lintang Bedol over the allegedly fraudulent 2007 election in Maguindanao. They allegedly conspired to ensure a 12-0 win for administration candidates, including Zubiri.

Zubiri was proclaimed the 12th senatorial winner, but quit in August 2011 after Bedol admitted the fraud. Koko Pimentel, who placed 13th and filed an electoral protest against him, served the remainder of Zubiri’s term.

Pimentel won a fresh term in the 2013 elections while running under the administration coalition.

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TAGS: Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., Binay probe, Jejomar Binay, Politics, Senate probe
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