Residents near ‘Hacienda Binay’ being forced to testify vs VP – UNA
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Tuesday claimed that residents in the vicinity of the alleged “Hacienda Binay” in Rosario, Batangas, were being harassed by authorities to testify against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
In a statement, UNA interim secretary Atty. JV Bautista said his party had been receiving complaints of harassment from property owners and the neighborhood of Sunchamp Ecotourism Farm, which is owned by businessman Antonio Tiu, an alleged Binay dummy.
“We received pleas from some residents of Rosario, Batangas saying that they are being harassed to testify against the vice president,” Bautista said. “These people supposedly introduced themselves as National Bureau of Investigation agents.”
However, earlier videos showed people openly and willingly pointing to the property “of the Binays.”
Bautista said residents were receiving anonymous threats, forcing them to tag Binay as the owner of the 350-hectare hacienda.
“For their security, the Rosario residents originally do not want to speak up, but they are already being harassed and caught in the middle of a ‘political crossfire,’” he added.
In a Senate hearing in October last year, Mercado alleged that Binay owned the 350-hectare agricultural estate that boasted mansions, a British-inspired garden, a pool, a 40-car garage, two man-made lagoons, and an air-conditioned piggery, among other luxurious facilities.
Mercado said Binay concealed his wealth using dummies.
Since the issue broke out, the Binay family has denied Mercado’s claims.
Bautista dismissed the recent reports of harassment as another politically motivated attempt by detractors to supposedly sabotage Binay’s presidential bid in 2016.
“We are calling on the authorities to spare these innocent individuals,” he said. “We all know that they want the VP to withdraw from the 2016 national elections, and this harassment is one way to force him to do that.”
Bautista accused detractors of “crossing the line” by using government agencies and resources to “neutralize the chances of Binay in 2016.”
“The VP is calling on his detractors to spare these individuals from harassment and threats. They should fight him head on,” he added.
Bautista also said the harassment reports were part of a plan to associate the Batangas property to the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.
Tiu, together with three other Makati City officials, has promised to attend the next Senate hearing on corruption allegations against Binay, which is set on May 28.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.