Graft, corruption not the same, Binay tells students
DUMAGUETE CITY—Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday faced more than 200 students who asked him tough questions on, among other issues, corruption and premature campaigning.
Binay, who was with his running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, gamely answered the questions posed by students from the Silliman University.
Only five students were allowed to ask questions because Binay arrived one and a half hour late for his scheduled 10 a.m. visit, having stopped to hear Mass at the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in this city.
Sophomore student Dale Casocot asked Binay about his stand on lying and corruption. “What do you think of people who are liars and who are corrupt? Do you consider yourself to be one of them?” he asked.
Binay answered that whenever someone is accused, some people already believe him to be guilty.
There are also some who automatically assume that the money used to buy the nice jewelry worn by government employees came government coffers, he said.
Binay, who is facing charges of graft, malversation and falsification of public documents in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, said graft and corruption are not the same.
Graft is about abusive use of power, corruption is about mishandling money, he said.
Binay maintained that 85 to 95 percent of the allegations thrown against him were neither graft nor corruption.
“Those [allegations] were special procedures,” Binay said.
Binay cited that giving burial assistance was one of the questionable acts he was asked to explain. “[They say that] there is no law that allows it,” he said.
“But there is no law that prohibits it,” Binay explained, reminding the students that he once practiced law.
Honasan urged the students to be vigilant and careful in judging politicians.
“Trial by publicity should not be the way. The conviction must come from the courts, not from the 6 p.m. news,” he said.
Honasan said the political landscape in the country has become personality-driven and market-driven.
“It has been about ‘Who got disqualified? Who replaces whom? Who got sick?’ People are not talking about the platforms anymore,” said Honasan. He told the students to look beyond images and ask what candidates can do.
To answer Casocot, Binay said that he will not tolerate graft and corruption in his watch. Honasan, in a separate speech, said the same.
A Sillimanian also asked Binay if the Comelec should sanction him for premature campaigning because of his TV ads.
Binay answered that the airing of his ads was not a form of early campaigning, since the country’s election laws do not consider the ads as campaign materials.
“I am still not campaigning,” Binay said.
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.