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Where did Binay wealth come from?

The Binay family’s bank accounts are among the 242 ordered frozen by the Court of Appeals as petitioned by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The Binay bank accounts frozen totaled P600 million. Is that not unusual? It appears that the Binays are not merely rich but super rich.

The big question is: How did the Binay family become that rich? Vice President Jejomar Binay bills himself as a “poor” man. In fact, that’s how he sells himself to voters: “Vote for me because I am poor like you. I know your problems, so I can help you better.” There are many more poor families in the Philippines than middle-class and rich ones combined, and they fall for that line. So Binay always wins in elections.

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But why does the family and its alleged dummies have so many bank accounts? Obviously, so the huge deposits will not attract attention in only one or a few banks. Banks are required by the government to report unusually huge deposits. It appears that the money is spread in many banks so as not to attract attention.

How did the Binay family come to have so much money? The income of the family members comes only from their salaries as government officials. Do they have businesses making huge amounts of money?

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It appears that the wealth started coming when Binay became mayor of Makati. He served for two terms, then was succeeded by his wife Elenita, and then by son Junjun.

According to Binay’s former allies who are also former officials of the Makati government, the money came from kickbacks from overpriced building projects including Makati City Hall Parking Building II, which was investigated by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.

The overpricing was allegedly continued by Elenita Binay when she became mayor of Makati herself. She bought allegedly overpriced hospital equipment, for which she is now facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan. Son Junjun, the incumbent mayor, continued the unfinished parking building, for which he is also facing graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman. The incumbent mayor was suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman, but he went to the Court of Appeals, which issued a temporary restraining order and an injunction on the suspension.

Daughter Abigail Binay, now representative of Makati in Congress, was mentioned as having used her pork barrel allocation on vermiculture (the raising of earthworms for fertilizer) projects for farms in her district. Farms in Makati?

Daughter Nancy Binay was elected senator after the pork barrel scam of alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles broke out, for which VP Binay’s partner in the United Nationalist Alliance, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, has been charged and detained.

Unbelievable as it may seem, let us grant that the Binay wealth was acquired through hard work, whatever that was. But if so, why is it not reported in the family members’ income tax returns and statements of assets, liabilities and net worth?

The Binays and their mouthpieces have denied any wrongdoing, Of course. They claim that the charges against them are just dirty politics, but the VP still refuses to face investigations by the Senate and the Office of the Ombudsman. The investigating panel of the Ombudsman recently found probable cause to file charges against the Binay father and son and others. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the other day that she was still studying the panel’s recommendation.

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Lawyers of the family claim that VP Binay is immune from suits and that Mayor Junjun Binay has been forgiven by the people of Makati because they reelected him to City Hall.

I am not a lawyer, so I am not familiar with the legal technicalities that lawyers like to pull out of their hats to get their clients out of tight squeezes and justify the fat fees that they charge. What I know of the law is only what journalists ought to know.

And one of them is that in case of conflict between the substance and the letter of the law, substance, logic and common sense take precedence. So is it logical to exempt the Vice President from legal suits for graft that he allegedly committed before he was elected to the position?

It is logical for a president to be immune from suits because he/she should not be bothered by legal suits in running the affairs of the nation. But a vice president like Binay is just a spare tire. He does not do anything but twiddle his thumbs and wait for the President to die, be incapacitated, impeached, or to resign. If he succeeds to the presidency, then he should be immune from suits—but not before then, especially for a wrongdoing committed before he became vice president.

As for an elective official being forgiven for previous wrongdoing when he/she is reelected, is that common sense?

Then all crooked officials have to do is steal as much as they can during their first term, then use part of the loot to get themselves reelected through vote-buying and terrorism. Then they can no longer be sued for their crimes.

I don’t care what the lawyers and justices say, but is that the way to dispense justice?

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TAGS: AMLC, Binays, corruption, hidden wealth
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