Binay on Senate hearing: Nothing new
ANDA, Pangasinan—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday said there was nothing new during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee looking into corruption charges against him.
“I say it again: These are just allegations, demolition through perception,” said Binay shortly after meeting with some 500 residents of this island town.
“There’s nothing. They know for a fact that they are lying. They know for a fact that it’s only the courts that will say whether you are guilty or not,” he said.
On Tuesday, the subcommittee headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III dwelt lengthily on Binay’s absence and that of his suspected dummies—Gerry Limlingan, Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, Dr. Jack Arroyo, Laureano Gregorio and Erlinda Chong.
Binay did not attend the resumption of the hearing and chose to travel to western Pangasinan for a three-day visit starting in the towns of Dasol, Burgos, Agno and Mabini.
On Wednesday, he covered the towns of Bolinao, Anda and Bani and Alaminos City, where he spoke in programs prepared by local governments.
Binay also distributed wheelchairs, bracelets, shirts and wall clocks to groups of senior citizens and barangay (village) officials.
He said despite the many cases that he is facing, he has never been suspended or convicted.
Asked to react to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s accusation that he was hiding Baloloy and Limlingan, Binay said: “I will sue him. Enough of his demolition [job].”
Binay also said that his visit to the province’s small towns was his way to introduce himself in preparation for the 2016 presidential elections.
“It is my ambition to be president. In 2010, when reporters asked me what my plan was for 2016, I said I will run for president. If I won’t run for president, I would not be doing this (visiting the provinces),” he said in Bolinao.
Pangasinan, one of the country’s vote-rich provinces, has a voting population of about 1.6 million, representing 60 percent of voters in the Ilocos region.
In his stop in Bolinao, Binay said he was ready to face anyone in a debate about political dynasty.
“I am ready to debate with people who frown upon the election of siblings and family members to government posts,” he said.
Binay’s children are serving the government in various elective posts. Daughter Nancy is a senator, son Jejomar Erwin is Makati City mayor and another daughter, Abigail, is Makati representative. Binay’s wife, Elenita, is a former Makati mayor.
In defending his position on the issue of political dynasty, Binay cited the Celeste family of Pangasinan.
“Mayor Arnold Celeste, Vice Mayor Alfonso Celeste, Congressman Boying Celeste, napakaraming Celeste. But there is a saying that what the people want should prevail. Why should we have a law that would prohibit people from serving just because they are relatives?” he said.
He said sound governance and being close to the people are among the reasons members of a political family are voted into office, citing the Celestes as examples.
In popular democracies like the United States, political dynasty is not an issue, Binay said, citing the Clinton and Bush families.
“Even in England, candidates belong to the same family. It is only in the Philippines that political dynasty is a big issue,” he said.
On Tuesday, during his visit to Dasol and Burgos towns, Binay said that as sister towns of Makati City, residents there can send their children to study at the University of Makati for free.
Informed later that acting Makati City Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr. had suspended the sister cities program, Binay said Peña could not just do that.
“It’s sad. But [Peña] may have forgotten that he is there in an acting capacity, it’s temporary,” Binay said.
Binay’s son, Junjun, stepped down from office last week as he awaited the Court of Appeal’s decision on his plea for a temporary restraining order on his suspension by the Ombudsman.
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