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What has DAR done about ‘Hacienda Binay’ in Batangas?

/ 02:28 AM March 24, 2016

At the height of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigation into the enormous wealth amassed by the family of Vice President Jejomar Binay (now a presidential candidate) during their decades-long stranglehold of Makati City, “Hacienda Binay” in Batangas was exposed. It reportedly has an estimated market value that runs up to hundreds of millions of pesos.

Though the “royal estate,” a veritable getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, was claimed by a businessman to be his, the Senate inquiry tended to show that he was merely a dummy of the Binays. No credible documentary evidence supported his claim of ownership—except a one-page, undated “memorandum of agreement” which no crackpot notary public would even dare to authenticate as genuine. Rural folks in the neighborhood all knew the Binays to be the hacienda’s owners.

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At those Senate hearings, it was further revealed that the hacienda straddles several parcels of land covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which were allegedly bought from farmers and put together under the name of a corporation that set up a vast tourist resort for the rich and famous in the middle of nowhere. A representative from the Department of Agrarian Reform intimated that if those land transfers were done without the approval of the DAR, the same were null and void and subject to forfeiture. Evidently, no DAR approval was ever secured for any of those transfers.

It has been more than a year since the “Hacienda Binay” hit the headlines and stoked public attention and curiosity. How come the DAR has not come out with anything to carry out its threat to cancel the CARP-covered land transfers and have those parcels confiscated in favor of the government?

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Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who vigorously pursued the no-holds-barred inquiry into the corruption of the Binay family to the farthest and fullest extent allowed by law, should hold the DAR to account for sitting on that information up to this time despite indications of a big-time scam. Are DAR’s officials scared that in the likely event of a Binay presidency, they would all be kicked out? Good Lord, what kind of government are we having in this country!

—ARNULFO M. EDRALIN, [email protected]

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Batangas, CARP, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, department of agrarian reform, Elections 2016, Hacienda Binay, Jejomar Binay
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