Senate probe delays? Binay camp’s fault – Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp is to blame for any delays in the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s probe into corruption allegations against him, according to one of the senators leading the investigation.

In a Christmas eve interview aired on dzRH, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said the Vice President has yet to send “key witnesses” and documents needed in the investigation. (#TalkThursday: Senate probes, demolition or public good?)

Over the course of 4 months and 12 hearings, whistleblowers have accused Binay of amassing wealth during his stint as Makati mayor, allegedly by rigging bids and accepting kickbacks.

Binay then supposedly hid his wealth through dummies and foreign bank accounts. (READ: 'Binay owns 6 condo units in Makati')

Kailangan natin ipakita sa ating mga kababayan na ikaw man ay barangay captain, senador, congressman, kahit VP or Presidente, pag may alegasyon lalo ito mabigat ang ebidensya sa korupsyon, kailangan harapin ito at sagutin,” said the senator, who is currently in Cebu.

(We need to show our countrymen that it doesn’t matter if you’re a village captain, senator, congressman, vice president or president. If there are allegations against you, especially if evidence is strong, you have to face and answer them.)

Cayetano, who alongside Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV, has led the probe, said at least 3 or 4 hearings are still needed because two “heavy issues” as well as old, unresolved issues need to be resolved.

One of them, the senator said, was businessman Antonio Tiu’s ownership of a vast Batangas property which whistleblowers alleged is really owned by Binay. (READ: Does Antonio Tiu really own 'Hacienda Binay'?)

Cayetano said the issue remained unresolved because Tiu decided to skip the hearings “noong nabuko yung inconsistencies at kalokohan sa testimonya niya (when the inconsistencies and lies in his testimonies were unveiled).”

Binay has denied owning the so-called “Hacienda Binay”, while Tiu insists it is his through his company, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation.

In previous hearings, Cayetano showed supposed evidence that Binay was the real owner of the property, including photos from his youngest daughter’s Instagram account and pictures showing Binay touring guests around the property.

The probe will resume by the end of January or the start of February, Cayetano said.

Binay has refused to face the Senate himself, instead opting to submit an affidavit wherein he denied the allegations against him while questioning the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

The Vice President also challenged Trillanes to a debate, but backed out of his own challenge barely a month after making it.

Binay and his camp have insisted that the probe is merely “politically motivated,” supposedly a ploy to ruin his chances at the presidency in 2016. Cayetano and Trillanes have both expressed their openness to seeking a higher post in the next elections.

Despite the months-long probe, Binay remains the top contender for president, although his numbers have dipped since.

In a previous interview, the Vice President expressed confidence the “lies and mudslinging” from his detractors would not affect him in the long run. He did, however, admit he expects even more “attacks” to come in the future. – Rappler.com