Why is Binay afraid of Senate probe?
Fear. That is both the ally and the enemy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Antonio Trillanes told a Quezon City forum hosted by Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz.
Fear that Binay may become the next president—because of an opinion poll that showed Binay ahead in the choice for president by voters, a conclusion that has been questioned by some experts, including pollsters themselves—has cowed many politicians into silence, said Trillanes. At the first hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building, only Senators Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano questioned the witness, Binay’s son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. The other senators, usually very voluble, were silent. Why? Because they were afraid that if (God forbid!) Binay becomes president, he can get back at them in many ways, Trillanes said.
“I can see how senators are being cowed into not investigating,” Trillanes said. “He’s just the Vice President and they’re already afraid of him.”
Even some members of the press, Trillanes lamented, have been cowed. That is why, he said, criticism in media is muted.
On the other hand, fear that he may be elected president in spite of the corruption charges against him has driven many people, him included, to question Binay’s fitness for the presidency.
The overpricing of the Makati parking building, Trillanes said, was committed when Binay senior was the mayor of Makati. “Imagine what Binay can do if he becomes president,” he said. “This is just Makati. What more if he is in command of the national budget?”
The P2-billion overprice, he added, is only for one project. It is a P2-billion scam, while the money stolen in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam totaled only in hundreds of million pesos for each lawmaker, for many projects. Imagine what Binay, as president, can do with all the projects and the trillions of pesos at his disposal.
For decades, graft and corruption has been the number one problem of the Philippines and the reason the Philippines has not progressed and the majority of Filipinos become poorer every day. The anticorruption campaign of President Aquino is slowly bearing fruit only now. His term will end in two years. The fight against corruption must be continued by his successor or else we would slide back to where we were four years ago, mired in corruption. But what would happen if he is succeeded by a crafty politician who is himself accused of corruption? In fact, not only him but his family. His wife, son and daughter are also accused of graft. It seems to run in the family.
Three senators and other high government officials are at present being tried for plunder, with more officials slated to join them, according to the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman.
Two of the senators are allies of Binay. What would happen if Binay becomes president, Trillanes asked.
It is not hard to imagine that they and their allies who helped them steal the people’s money through the PDAF would be off the hook and they would be laughing all the way to their banks to reclaim their loot. Sayang naman the progress in the anticorruption campaign. When will the Filipinos be totally freed from the clutches of greedy politicians? When will the Philippines progress enough to claim its place in the sun?
The defense of the Binays in the building overprice is the usual mantra of politicians when accused of wrongdoing: “It is politically motivated; it is a demolition job.”
So what if it is politically motivated? Do they mean that just because the charges were made by their political rivals the accusations are false? Thank God for political rivals, otherwise many wrongdoings by public officials would remain hidden.
The Binays and their mouthpieces do not want the Senate to investigate the Makati scam because, they said, the “Ombudsman is already investigating the case.”
Again, so what? The Ombudsman is investigating to find out if there is enough evidence to elevate the cases to the Sandiganbayan. The Senate investigation is in aid of legislation.
Why be afraid of the Senate if you are innocent?
Mayor Junjun Binay claims that they have been charged because “our father is running for president.” Well, whose fault is it? Vice President Binay is already campaigning for the presidency so early in the game. When you are running for public office, expect the criticisms to follow. As Solita Monsod said in her column last Saturday, “It is not a mayoral position that (Jojo Binay) is contesting. It is the presidency. The people are entitled to have a president that has no corruption attached to his name.”
* * *
Because there is a supermoon (when the moon is closest to Earth and therefore looks bigger) Aliw awardee Margaux Salcedo will sing songs with moon and stars in them during her gig at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Fans can ask her to sing their favorite songs with these celestial bodies in them.
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.