VICE President Jejomar C. Binay blasted the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Sunday for failing to investigate the bank accounts of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and other leaders of the Liberal Party who have been linked to anomalous transactions
Abad was the brains behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada said was used to bribe members of Congress.
In a privilege speech in 2013, Estrada revealed that several senators received P50 million to P100 million after the Senate impeachment court voted to convict President Benigno Aquino III’s political enemy, Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Abad said some P10 billion or 7 percent of the P144 billion of savings pooled under DAP went to projects identified or endorsed by senators and congressmen.
Drilon topped the list of senators, getting P100 million from DAP.
The Supreme Court later struck down significant provisions of Abad’s DAP as unconstitutional.
Drilon has also been linked to anomalies over the construction of the P700 million Iloilo Convention Center.
Former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada accused Drilon and the two other Cabinet officials of pocketing public funds from the overpriced construction of the convention center.
Last week, the Office of the Ombudsman junked the plunder and malversation charges against Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., saying there was no basis to charge them over the Iloilo convention center.
Interviewed in Mactan, Cebu, Saturday night, Binay question why
AMLC, which he claimed is being used by the administration for political oppression, is not looking into the accounts of leaders of the Liberal Party, of which President Aquino is the national chairman.
Binay also said that the funds in the bank accounts frozen by the AMLC was hard-earned money that belonged to him and his wife, an obstetrician who also served as Makati mayor.
“My acccount that were frozen, in the name of God and the public, that’s clean money. I earned that. I was a practicing lawyer. My wife is a practicing doctor. I was teaching and I’m fond of saving money. That’s clean money,” Binay said.
Of the 242 bank accounts the AMLC ordered frozen, only five are under his name, Binay said.
“If I had 242 accounts, I would be even richer than Bill Gates,” Binay said.
Moreover, Binay noted that when a bank account was frozen, it does not automatically mean the owner of the account is guilty of committing an offense.
“Under the law, AMLC must have to look for predicate crime. Where did this money come from?”
“They won’t find anything there, so it’s sad. And they also froze the accounts of my friends, even the accounts of their children, and parents. This is too much,” Binay said.
The AMLC obtained an order from the Court of Appeals to freeze 242 bank, insurance and security accounts of Binay, his family and alleged dummies, totaling P16 billion. Binay’s frozen assets totaled P600 million.
The freeze order was also based on the findings that Binay’s statements of assets, liabilities and net worth showed incomes from 2007 to 2013 of the Binays to be “disproportionate to the values,
frequency and complexity of their banking transactions.”
The CA order stemmed from the Ombudsman’s investigation of the Makati Parking Building, allegedly overpriced by P1.3 billion, and the Makati Science High School.
The court took note of the AMLC findings that Gerardo Limlingan, Eduviges Baloloy and other alleged dummies withdrew funds from their bank accounts after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged anomalies.
The records of the Securities and Exchange Commission also showed probable links of entities, their directors and officers to the Vice President and his family, the court said.
The Ombudsman is investigating the allegations after a plunder complaint was filed by Renato Bondal and Nicholas Enciso VI against Binay, his son Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and other city officials.
The Vice President’s lawyer, Claro Certez, fired back at AMLC for misleading the CA by deliberately omitting and concealing several details about his bank accounts.
This included omitting the fact that Binay received campaign contributions of P231 million and incurred expenses of P218 million, which were all reported in his statement of campaign contributions and expenses filed with the Commission on Elections.
“The AMLC was also not truthful with the Court of Appeals because it deliberately concealed the fact that Vice President Binay and his wife were earning additional income from their respective businesses in addition to the Vice President’s salary. All these information were duly reported in the income tax returns of the Vice President that span for almost three decades and on file with the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” Certeza said.
On Sunday, Binay said he will present himself in the 2016 elections as a presidential candidate with executive experience and competence, and said a committee within his United Nationalist Alliance party would recommend his running mate.
In an interview in Mactan, Cebu, Saturday night, Binay said he was not referring to anybody when he spoke about his personal view on the need for experience and competence in a presidential candidate.
“When I spoke about these, it was from my personal point of view. That’s how I will present myself... on the issue of experience and competence.... I wasn’t alluding to anybody,” he said.
Binay’s remarks were widely seen as being directed at neophyte Senator Grace Poe, who the ruling Liberal Party is trying to recruit for the 2016 elections.
Poe, reacting to Binay’s statement, said that more than experience and competence, a candidate should have honesty.
She went on to say that Binay has yet to face the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee and address the corruption allegations against him.
Binay on Sunday said the UNA will suggest his vice president after screening potential candidats for the position.
“We are considering a number of people to be my vice president,” he said.
He said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whom he said has the executive experience and competence, is among those being considered.
Binay said the ruling Liberal Party was attacking him with allegations of corruption because he consistently topped opinion polls for the 2016 presidential election.
“They attacked me, they perpetrated lies against me because I am a candidate for president, and my ratings are high. If I were not a candidate, or if I did not have high ratings, they will not fabricate lies against me,” he said.
Binay said he would not give up, however, saying surrender was not in his vocabulary.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.