Binay’s defense before Dumaguete students
An article headline reported: “Graft, corruption not the same, Binay tells students” (News, 12/10/15). Vice President Jejomar Binay, a presidential candidate, while in Dumaguete City (his running mate Gregorio Honasan in tow) fielding “tough questions,” is said to have made this distinction during a forum attended by more than 200 students, as he tried to explain away all charges of graft and corruption against him and his family.
“Graft and corruption are not the same. Graft is about use of power; corruption is about mishandling money.” And as if to drive home the point, Binay gave an example by citing “that giving burial assistance was one of the questionable acts he was asked to explain.”
No doubt the students, who apparently didn’t know any better, got even more confused than ever: Since when did generosity or charity become a crime? If that was really what those accusations are all about, they are peanuts compared to the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam congressmen and senators got embroiled in!
That has got to be the lamest and most disingenuous description of the crimes, punishable under Republic Act No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), we ever heard of. That law is all about stealing—yes, stealing taxpayer money! Graft is not just about the “use of power”—it is the “misuse” of power for personal gain. Corruption is not just about “mishandling (of) money”—it is “pocketing public funds!”
It is only the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that has the “goods” on the Vice President—the testimonial and documentary evidence tending to prove how he and his family got so filthy rich (allegedly amassing billions of pesos during their decades-long stranglehold on the Makati City Hall). To come clean, all Binay had to do was to face the senators and prove them wrong. Well, obviously, liars are never more at home than in the company of the naïve and the gullible.
—NIMFA RINA RICAFORT, [email protected]
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