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Friend compares Erap and Binay on corruption

/ 03:39 AM December 19, 2014

Vice President Jojo Binay is in denial. He told reporters that he is still the candidate of Manila Mayor and former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. But that is only if his opponent in the 2016 presidential race will not be Sen. Grace Poe. Wait until Grace runs against him; Erap will dump him like a dirty rag and support the daughter of his best friend, fellow actor and kumpadre Fernando Poe Jr.

That is why Binay is actively courting Grace to be his running mate. He was present at the ceremony marking the 10th death anniversary of FPJ, to be photographed with Grace and her mother Susan Roces, although he was not invited.

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But why would Grace agree to have someone with heavy baggage as a running mate? In fact, why would anybody agree to be Binay’s running mate?

There were a few who aspired for it before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee began its investigation of the corruption charges against Binay and he was still way ahead in the surveys (one of them was former mayor Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela, ha ha ha). But they changed their mind when details of Binay’s alleged corruption while mayor of Makati surfaced and his ratings plummeted.

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Some people say that Erap and Binay are two of a kind: Erap was convicted of plunder and Binay is facing two cases of plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Excuse me, that is not correct, said an Erap ally, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Erap was never convicted or accused of stealing public money. He was convicted of plunder for receiving money from jueteng lords. The whistle-blower was former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson. Binay, on the other hand, is accused of overpricing the construction of Makati parking and school buildings and pocketing the difference. Erap did not steal a single peso; Binay is accused of stealing hundreds of millions of pesos.

Erap is said to have used the money given by jueteng lords not for himself but to increase the salaries of policemen and other local government employees. Binay allegedly hid the money from the kickbacks by buying expensive properties in Batangas and the United States.

It is on record that Erap favored legalizing jueteng because it is corrupting public officials and that after decades of fighting it, the illegal numbers game is still thriving. So many people depend on it. What will happen to the hundreds of thousands of cobradors, cabos and other jueteng employees who depend on it to support their families? Also, jueteng gives hope to the millions of poor bettors. For a few centavos, the next lottery may haul a family from the pit of poverty. And what is jueteng but a smaller version of the government-run lotto?

Erap himself told journalists why he accepted money from jueteng lords. He said that when he became president, he had heard that the police, military and other local government officials were being bribed by jueteng operators.

So he called the operators and asked them whom they were bribing and by how much. Hesitantly, they revealed that they were delivering thousands of pesos every day to police chiefs, provincial commanders, policemen and soldiers, and other local government officials.

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So Erap told them: From now on, give the payola to the national treasurer. The accumulated fund he used to increase the pay of policemen and other government employees so they are not tempted to accept bribes from gambling operators. After some time, the treasurer told him that there was still some money left.

So Erap used that as a trust fund for Muslims. Not a single peso went to him, he said.

That trust fund was Erap’s undoing. The fund had grown to more than P50 million, which put it on the level of plunder. But he insisted that it was not for his benefit but for Muslim beneficiaries. Compare that with the hundreds of millions of pesos that Binay allegedly pocketed for himself, according to his accusers.

Binay’s own undoing is that he is a “habitual double-crosser,” the Erap friend said. He is said to have double-crossed his vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado. Now it is Mercado who is spilling the beans on him.

He also allegedly double-crossed his former aides in Makati, who are lawyers. Now they have filed plunder cases against him.

He promised that Erap’s son Jinggoy would be his running mate in 2016. When Jinggoy got into trouble, Binay deserted him. When he and Erap were campaigning, Binay allegedly campaigned only for himself. Erap, in contrast, campaigned for both of them. That is why Binay won and Erap lost. Erap was not happy with that, the friend said, since Binay could not have won without the all-out support of Erap and his PMP (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino).

Is it surprising for Erap to support the daughter of his best friend FPJ, who helped him when he ran for president? When it was FPJ who ran for president, Erap was unable to return the favor because he was already in detention. Supporting FPJ’s daughter when she herself runs for president “is the only way I can repay him,” Erap said.

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TAGS: Chavit Singson, corruption, Ernesto Mercado, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Joseph Estrada, jueteng lords, plunder, pmp, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, Sherwin Gatchalian, Susan Roces
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