Binay to assess State of the Nation

To tell ‘everything’ on Makati scandal in public

THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Saturday that he will speak to the nation on live television on Monday and debunk corruption claims against him and his family even as he vowed to get back at his detractors in the Senate and those who continue to smear his and his family’s reputation.

Cavite Gov. and Vice Presidential Spokesman Jonvic Remulla said Binay has grown tired of the ongoing Senate investigation on the supposedly overpriced building that he built when he was still mayor of Makati City in 2008.

“On Monday the Vice President will give his side of the story. He will tell everything,” Remulla said, adding that Binay will also give his assessment of the state of the nation from his vantage point as vice president.

Remulla lamented that as soon as they decided to go straight to public on television, text messages with unknown origins began to circulate claiming that Binay will be announcing his resignation or that he will be breaking away from the administration.

“There is no truth with that,” Remulla said, adding that the text messages came from unknown numbers and sent to media organizations as part of a disinformation campaign.

He also maintained that these controversies would not affect the Vice President rating for his Presidential race in 2016.

“Public opinion polls go up and down. Public sentiments remain constant. The Vice President is impervious to the vicissitudes of the polls. Sentiments will always favor him,” he said.

“The Vice President is not backing down and he will show all the documents to show that the price of the Iloilo Convention Center is more expensive than the one in Makati,” Remulla said. “He will show everything to prove the foolishness of the accusations against him.”

Remulla said Binay wants to show that the cost of work at the Batasang Pambansa, the seat of the House of Representatives, is the same as the cost of the Makati building.

“He will show that the prices of all government buildings are just the same. He will show that the contractor made profits for which he paid taxes and he will show not a single centavo went to him,” Remulla said.

The Vice President’s address will be about “who he is, what he has done, what he knows and what this all means, what this entire controversy means,” Remulla added.

At the same time, Remulla questioned why senators used their authority place under the government’s Witness Protection Program “local detractors” with “questionable morals and dubious reliability”.

Remulla asked the Department of Justice not to allow the abuse of the government’s Witness Protection Program simply to accommodate political gimmicks.

“The Department of Justice should also not allow [former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto] Mercado to abuse the WPP privileges. The agency should not tolerate his gambling habit to the point that it will provide security for Mercado each time he visits casinos or cockpits to gamble,” Remulla said.

In the case of former vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, until now, Remulla said, he has not provided any credible evidence to support his allegations.

“He has also changed his testimony twice. In his first appearance, Mercado replied “most likely” or “malamang” when asked if the Vice President earned from the project. But on his second appearance, he changed his tune. He even produced bags as props. But props in a senate kangaroo court will not be considered evidence in a court of law,” he said.

What is clear, Remulla said, that Mercado himself admitted to receiving kickbacks from the projects.

“And we find it highly improbable if such an admission will qualify Mercado as not being the most guilty. Yet, taxpayers are also paying for his ‘protection’,” he said.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, Mercado admitted that the late Makati city engineer Nelson Morales was the one who prepared the three bags of kickbacks which were delivered to Mercado’s office.

Remulla also hit at lawyer Renato Bondal, the original complainant in the Senate probe, who had already admitted that he gave an untruthful statement under oath in a Senate hearing.

“He just made a guess, but Filipino taxpayers are paying for his protection,” Remulla said, referring to the admission of Bondal that he was just guessing when he said that the cakes Makati City gives to senior citizens cost P3,000 each.

Bondal was a losing opponent of incumbent Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and the Binays have repeatedly said that Bondal only made the corruption allegation for political purposes.

“This will be the ultimate disservice to the WPP and a total waste of taxpayers’ money, all to advance the political demolition agenda of two senators,” Remulla said, referring to Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano.

When asked if the televised address means Binay will no longer attend the Senate hearing, Remulla said the Vice President is still considering the matter, but “how do you answer a lie? When the senate accepts one answer it will ask 10 more. This will never end.”

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