Trillanes: Binay lied in TV ad on Senate probe

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV alleged that Vice President Jejomar Binay lied in his television advertisement lamenting the yearlong Senate inquiry into corruption allegations against him.

Trillanes hurled the accusation against Binay on Tuesday, January 26, the 25th and last of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s hearings on the Vice President, the members of his family, and his alleged “dummies.”

In the advertisement released in September 2015, Binay described the Senate probe as “masakit, malupit, pagkatao ay minamaliit (painful, cruel, my person is belittled).”

Ginhawa sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino Lalong tumitibay ang panindigan ko na ipatupad ang tunay na pagbabago tungo sa pag ginhawa ng bawat Pilipino. Posted by Jojo Binay on Friday, September 18, 2015

 

In the ad, the Vice President said the Senate panel snubbed all his explanations and the documents he submitted, as piles of documents supposedly left untouched flashed onscreen. 

To this, Trillanes replied: “Para lang sa kaalaman ng lahat, ito pong mga folders na ito na ipinakita diyan po sa video ni Vice President Binay na narito sa likod natin, ay ito po ang ebidensiya laban sa kanya. ‘Yan po, hindi po niya sinubmit ‘yan. Kinuha po naming ebidensiya laban sa kanya at mga kopya po niyan ay naiforward a sa Ombudsman."

(For everyone’s information, the folders shown by Vice President Binay which are now behind me are actually evidence against him. He didn’t submit them. We got these pieces of evidence against him and copies have been forwarded to the Ombudsman.)

Trillanes, a vice presidential candidate and a staunch critic of Binay, said the documents were given by the Makati city government to the subcommittee upon the senator's orders as they investigated the alleged overpricing of the Makati city hall parking building II.

Trillanes added that the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee had repeatedly invited the Vice President to give his testimony, but he refused to show up.

In relation to his statements na pinagtutulungan siya, pinepersonal, minamaliit, hindi po. Binigyan ng pagkakataon ni Senator [Aquilino] ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, ang ating chairman, ng lahat ng panahon para depensehan niya ang kanyang sarili, pero he chose not to appear,” said Trillanes.

(In relation to his statements that we're ganging up on him, taking the issues personally, and belittling him, those aren't true. Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, our chairman, gave him many chances to defend himself here, but he chose not to appear.)

Instead of showing up at the Senate and answering senators' questions, Binay submitted before the panel an affidavit in November 2014 responding to allegations that the Makati City Hall parking building II was overpriced by as much as P1.38 billion ($28.723 million). Binay's camp released the affidavit on May 29, 2015.

In the 8-page document, Binay said that there was no proof that the P2.28 billion ($47.466 million) building was overpriced. (DOCUMENT: Binay affidavit says no proof of overpricing)

Binay camp: Who lied?

EVIDENCE AGAINST THE VICE PRESIDENT. The folders of evidence Trillanes referred during the January 26 Senate hearing. Photo by Alex Nuevaespau00f1a/Senate PRIB

EVIDENCE AGAINST THE VICE PRESIDENT. The folders of evidence Trillanes referred during the January 26 Senate hearing.

Photo by Alex Nuevaespau00f1a/Senate PRIB

Binay's spokesperson, Joey Salgado, however, said the Vice President did not lie in his ad.

“The folders displayed by the senators were submitted by the city government to show cooperation with the Senate. It shows that all transactions and projects are transparent and in compliance with established rules and procedures. By their own admission, the senators did not read all the documents,” Salgado told Rappler in a text message.

During the hearing, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile asked the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee members if they completely analyzed the pile of documents Trillanes was referring to. 

It was the first time Enrile attended the hearings because he was detained for plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam when the Senate investigation began. Enrile was released on bail in August 2015.

“We have gone over a lot of the documents, but I cannot say that it’s 100%,” replied Pimentel.

However, he reasoned that the subcommittee’s partial report, which recommended plunder charges against Binay and his son, dismissed Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr, cited several of the documents from the Makati city government. (READ: Ombudsman sets charges vs VP Binay, 23 others)

Salgado said it is “not surprising” that the Senate panel did not completely go through all the documents.

“This is not surprising because the senators have already prejudged the matter even before the hearings started more than a year ago. Ang malaking kasinungalingan ay ang mga paratang laban kay (What’s false are the accusations against) Vice President Binay,” he said.

Salgado previously said the members of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee – Pimentel, Trillanes, and Alan Peter Cayetano – were politically motivated to derail Binay’s presidential bid. 

Both Trillanes and Cayetano are running for vice president, while Pimentel is the president of the PDP-Laban, the party of presidential candidate and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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