Binay’s daughter lashes back at Trillanes
Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, the daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, lashed back on Wednesday at Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV after her father’s tormentor accused her of using her congressional pork barrel to issue checks to a former Makati official in charge of the city’s senior citizens’ program.
“Senator Trillanes, as a fellow lawmaker, my advice is that you first study what you’re talking about. Do not just make accusations without any evidence. Do not fool the people just to raise your ratings,” she told a news conference.
Binay said she had always been forthright and transparent in the use of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) before this was discontinued in 2013 by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional.
“I have always said that my [PDAF] funds are open to scrutiny, because I know I used the money correctly and the process is supported by documents,” she said.
“Can Senator Trillanes and his expensive Senate consultants, as well as his brother, say the same?” Binay said, alluding to reports that Trillanes hired relatives as part of his staff.
At the Senate hearing on irregularities involving the Binay family in Makati City, Trillanes confronted Ryan Barcelo, former officer in charge of the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD), about 15 checks the senator said he received from the congresswoman.
Test of credibility
Barcelo was testifying to deny the existence of “ghost” senior citizens in the Makati program for its elderly residents.
“Just to test your credibility, did you receive checks from Congresswoman Abigail Binay’s PDAF?” the senator asked.
Barcelo initially denied receiving checks from Binay but later said he could not recall if he did.
Imputation of wrongdoing
Binay, however, said there was nothing wrong with Barcelo receiving checks from her, notwithstanding Trillanes’ imputation of wrongdoing.
“Senator Trillanes, if you studied this before you made an accusation, you would know that before the Supreme Court declared PDAF unconstitutional, I, as a legislator, placed funds for the local government of Makati for medical assistance and funeral assistance to my constituents in the second district,” she said.
She said the money was placed in a trust fund that could not just be simply withdrawn.
“If Senator Trillanes bothered to investigate, he would know those checks were issued from the trust fund to Makati’s implementing arm for medical assistance, which is the MSWD that was then under the leadership of Mr. Ryan Barcelo,” she said.
Binay said Barcelo was the bonded officer who could disburse the funds, and thus was the recipient of the checks.
“Perhaps Senator Trillanes does not know, but before funds are released for medical assistance, this undergoes strict scrutiny by the Makati COA (Commission on Audit) auditor. A lot of documents are required, and these are double-checked by the MSWD. The receipts are submitted to the COA,” she said. DJ Yap