UNA belies reports on Philrem, law firm
THE UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday night dismissed as “absolutely false” the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report that its standard-bearer used the same remittance company embroiled in the alleged laundering of $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank in remitting his money abroad.
“The basis is a so-called AMLC report whose provenance and authenticity is doubtful. Where did it come from and who gave it to [Philippine Daily Inquirer]? We are asking AMLC to officially comment on this matter. We are 100 percent certain that the allegation against the Vice President is an outright lie and a crude fabrication,” UNA president Toby Tiangco said in a statement.
Binay’s communication director, Joey Salgado, said the Vice President was “not a signatory or involved” in any money transfer carried out by Philrem Service Corp.
Salgado also said Binay was not part of the law firm Subido, Pagente, Certeza, Mendoza and Binay as stated in the AMLC report.
Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, the Vice President’s daughter and now a mayoral candidate in Makati City is, however, a partner-on-leave of the law firm.
“He is only one of the law firm’s clients. And he is not privy to any transaction of the law [firm],” Salgado said in a text message.
Tiangco reiterated his call for the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate who was behind the spread of the supposed AMLC report.
“We appeal to the [Inquirer] to exercise professionalism and objectivity,” he said, noting that the paper’s report on Tuesday was based on an AMLC report “that contradicts official court pleadings of the AMLC in the Manila Regional Trial Council.
Tiangco said the report was “inaccurate and an example of opinionated and sensational reporting.”
He said the AMLC had corrected itself several times in court on its allegations against Binay, which included its claim that the Vice President had 242 bank accounts.
Tiangco said the AMLC told the court that Binay had only one bank account containing P1.7 million and not billions of pesos.
“The timing of the publication of these baseless and sensational stories against VP Binay is no coincidence. It comes a few days before the next presidential debate and at a crucial period in the campaign,” Tiangco said, deploring “this mudslinging and character assassination.”
Binay Wednesday said his political foes were behind the “continuing demolition by perception,” citing the Inquirer report Wednesday on allegations by the AMLC that he received billions of pesos in kickbacks from infrastructure projects while he was mayor of Makati City.
Interviewed on radio in Vigan, Ilocos Sur province, Binay said the AMLC report had been earlier dismissed as “outdated” and “false.”
“This newspaper has hit me again with another headline. There is that continuing demolition by perception,” Binay said.
He said the AMLC report was nothing new, reiterating Tiangco’s statement that the report had been used by the AMLC when it first sought an asset protection order from the Manila RTC.
Binay said his political foes had claimed that they were not into negative campaigning and yet they were the ones behind this attack on him.
He said even the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit were also hitting him, at a time when the second presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections was set to be held this weekend.
And now, he said, the AMLC is joining the fray.
“I hope in a fair and honest reporting, please verify properly,” Binay said. He said he expected the negative campaigning against him to intensify.
Tiangco, speaking in a radio interview, appealed to the AMLC to say whether the report of the Inquirer “was true or not.”
He also asked the media to interview the AMLC and ask for its report so that everyone would know about it.
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