Cruto’s testimony may end up favoring VP Binay
Are you familiar with the old adage, “Numbers do not lie”? Alas and alack, that may have now been replaced by “Liars use numbers,” thanks or no thanks to the latest “pasabog” of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in the 23rd Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, last Aug. 19.
Arthur Cruto, head of the Makati City Action Center and principal resource person in the last session, testified, among other matters, that based on 2010 records, the Makati senior citizens had each been receiving annual benefits of P11,750, broken down as follows: cash benefits—P3,000, birthday cake—P300, special groceries for Christmas—P1,500, free maintenance medicines—P1,500 monthly, and an average of P350 for free movies (Inquirer.net, 8/20/15).
But, look, the components do not add up to P11,750! Of course, in fairness, the news report did kind of clarify that the action center had estimated the cost of the free medicines at P6,600. I am sure this is per year, because at P6,600 instead of P1,500 monthly for maintenance medicines, the annual benefits will indeed sum up to P11,750. Fine! But P6,600 divided by 12 months is only P550.
I am also a senior citizen; ask any other, or a doctor, for that matter, and for sure both will tell you that that amount is rather too low per month even for one generic drug prescription. That, alongside the plain truth—let’s get real, please—that an old man’s monthly maintenance medicines are in most cases made up of one drug for hypertension, one for the heart or to reduce cholesterol, and probably another for diabetes or high blood sugar.
Likewise, Cruto has in effect suddenly admitted that the cost of the birthday cake delivered under Binay’s watch was really only P300, in turn indicating some people lied in the previous hearings when they quoted something close to P1,000.
Finally, I did not know that a senior citizen in Makati is directly given cash when he goes to a movie. As far as I know, he is simply asked to present his senior citizen’s ID card, and that the movie house does not charge City Hall for the cost of the ticket. Why, then, include free movies as part of City Hall’s expenses?
The foregoing are only some of the inconsistencies one can readily dig up from Cruto’s testimony. There may perhaps be more. Whether the inconsistencies would end up as a plus or a minus factor for Binay is beside the point. It is not my intention either to winnow the chaff from the grain any further. The point is, I merely wish to put across an honest opinion that, all told, Cruto’s testimony may even redound to Binay’s benefit for the purpose of the 2016 polls. Why? For the simple reason that with the sudden revelation of the innumerable benefits the Makati senior citizens have since been getting—otherwise previously unknown to most Filipinos nor found nowhere else from Batanes to Jolo—not a few among us would have most likely exclaimed: “How lucky they are, indeed, in Makati; can’t their boons be ours too?”
—RUDY L. CORONEL, rudycoronel email@example.com
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