Bring it to God first, then bring it to the nation

Binay to bring case to the people
By Christine O. Avendaño, Leila B. Salaverria, TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 -- 2:43AM

Link to source: "Binay to bring case to the people"

Vice President Jejomar Binay is brushing aside the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showing 79 percent of respondents want him to face the Senate and address allegations of corruption against him when he was mayor of Makati City.

Binay’s camp on Monday said the Vice President would rather go directly to the people to air his side, something that it said he had been doing in his provincial visits the past weeks.

Binay is set to appear tonight in ANC’s Beyond Politics program anchored by Lynda Jumilla to respond to the allegations, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s political spokesman, said in a phone interview.

In a statement, Remulla insisted that Binay would not attend the “farcical proceedings” of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee because its inquiry was “not in aid of legislation but in furtherance of political persecution.”

“It would be futile for the Vice President to dignify such farcical proceedings and subject himself and his family to ridicule,” Remulla said.

The SWS survey on Sept. 26-29 released Monday showed 79 percent of 1,200 Filipinos polled thought Binay should appear in the Senate inquiry.

Remulla said Binay had already been prejudged by the Senate subcommittee and pointed to the way its members—Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV—had been unfairly conducting the inquiry.

Remulla said the two senators accepted the “unfounded claims” of former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and were coddling him and even included him in the government’s Witness Protection Program.

binay-survey-1021“There are other venues where the Vice President can address the baseless allegations and lies—venues where there is no other agenda except arriving at the truth,” the Cavite governor said.

“He is determined to bring the issues directly to the people, which he has been doing for the past weeks in visits to Mindanao, Zambales and Bataan,” he added.

Aside from the alleged P2.28-billion overprice in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II, the hearing has also heard allegations that Binay received kickbacks from infrastructure projects when he was mayor, and that he used dummies to hide his assets, including a 350-hectare hacienda.

Trillanes told reporters that he was glad that the vast majority of Filipinos, as shown in the SWS survey, agreed with his call for the Vice President to face the Senate.

Proof of guilt

“We will show our countrymen that [Binay’s] continuous absence [in the hearings] is proof that he is guilty of these allegations,” he said. “He will be on the losing end, until he faces us here.”

Trillanes said anybody faced with false accusations would be so angry and would elect to face his accusers in the same forum to belie their claims.

He noted that former President Fidel Ramos and former Vice President Noli de Castro had attended Senate hearings in the past.

Trillanes also said it remained his prayer that people would be enlightened and shun Binay in the 2016 elections. “If we want a thief for a President, the Philippines will deteriorate,” he said.

He said a lot more of evidence and witnesses would be presented about alleged irregularities in Makati, and that he intended to pursue the investigation of other infrastructure projects and anomalies there.

“We will look into those. What happened in Makati may be happening in other local government units in the country. Who knows, maybe the same thing is happening in Navotas or in the provincial capital of Cavite,” he said, in an apparent dig at Binay’s spokesmen, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco and Remulla.

About time

Opposition Sen. JV Ejercito on Monday said it was about time Binay faced the Senate, pointing out that the government appeared to be mobilizing its resources against the Vice President.

“That’s up to him. But for me, he should answer the issue head-on if there’s a chance, if only to put the issue to rest,” he told reporters. “Right now, three institutions are moving to pin down the Vice President.”

“Probably not,” Ejercito said when asked if he thought President Aquino was involved in the demolition job against him. “But probably his party mates. I’m sure that the Liberal Party (LP) has something to do with this in conspiracy with those spearheading the investigation of VP Binay.”

Asked for comment, Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice chair, curtly said: “Not true.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined the fray amid the ongoing Senate inquiry into the Makati car park, and the Ombudsman’s investigation of a plunder complaint against Binay.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that while the Vice President was immune from suit, he wasn’t immune from investigation.

Ejercito observed that the government appeared to be quick to investigate members of the opposition, but was slow to investigate its allies.

“If it’s VP Binay, or any member of the opposition, nobody can stop the investigation … There appears to be an express lane in the investigation of anomalies.”

Be not afraid

In contrast, Ejercito said the DOJ has yet to file the third batch of cases over the P10-billion pork barrel scam probably because these involved administration allies.

“Is it because there are some allies or members of the Liberal Party that are involved? It should be first in, first out,” he said. “From any angle, there’s selectiveness.”

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Binay should not be afraid of attending a Senate probe because he would be surrounded by his allies, including his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay.

“My advice is for him to go ahead and appear there (Senate) because he appears to be scared of going there. He should not be afraid because I am sure they will respect him because he is the Vice President of the Philippines after all.”

Forum hunting is a "political sport" politicians traditionally do ever since. Senators have their "in aid of whatsoever" platform in the senate to use as forum, while VP Binay uses his [official] visits to various sectors and communities of the country as his forum. Therefore unless these multiple allegations of past corruptions primarily involving VP Binay is brought to the right forum and level, and until there is created a fair, neutral, and legally-binding appropriate forum for where the right authorities can conduct a thorough investigation on this whole issue, in the public's perception, no matter and whatever this so-called "in aid of legislation" probe may have unearthed and exposed to the people, it largely remains to be seen as simply politically motivated considering that VP Binay is a survey-leading Presidential candidate.

The big question and challenge now is this: Do the probe initiators (and the PNoy administration) really have the balls to elevate this whole issue to the right forum and level, and if the allegations are proven to be true, pursue it to its deserving final state? Or are their main [hidden] objective is to politically destroy VP Binay's chance in the 2016 Presidential election?

To VP Binay: Prove your worth Mr. Vice President. Bring your case to the people but only after you have brought your self to God. Don't be afraid to be accountable to God first and to the nation second. People make mistakes and the right way and first step in correcting them is to face an investigation head on but only in the fair, neutral, and legally-binding appropriate forum with the right authorities. Don't go forum shopping. Our time on earth is never enough to fulfill all of our life's aspirations. All the powers and luxuries of a presidential office is nothing compared to your place in eternity.