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Binay saddened by Senate probe on Makati parking building

MANILA, Philippines - A Senate inquiry into allegations of overpricing in the construction of a parking building at the Makati City Hall compound is hurting Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“I would be a hypocrite if I say I was not hurt. I am just a human being to feel hurt,” he told reporters after receiving the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor award yesterday.

“It’s very clear, it’s all politically motivated,” Binay said, citing a senator’s pronouncement that he should be investigated because he is running for president in 2016.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee grilled his son incumbent Mayor Junjun Binay last Wednesday on allegations of irregularities in the construction of the parking building.

The vice president was Makati mayor for many years.

While he welcomed the investigation, Binay declined to say if he would attend the next hearing.

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Binay, his son and some Makati officials are facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged anomalies in the construction of the parking building.

The vice president said the Senate probe was apparently not solely in aid of legislation.

He also stressed that the building in question functions not only as car park but also as offices.

His senator-daughter Nancy Binay, for her part, said she was saddened by the Senate’s allowing itself to be used by her family’s political enemies.

“What was saddening for me was that the Senate gave Attorney (Renato) Bondal a venue… I mean, where can you see a Senate where the supposed to be resource person is shouting out words like ‘magnanakaw’ (thief)? They allowed the Senate to be used by our local opponents as a forum for name calling,” Binay said. Bondal is a staunch Binay critic.

“It feels like my colleagues here have done everything but carve a letter M on me to show everyone we’re a family of magnanakaw (thieves),” she said.

Binay inhibited herself from the hearing but she stayed in the gallery to observe.

She said she felt the hearing was no longer in aid of legislation, making her participation pointless.

She said Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano – based on the manner of their questioning – were clearly trying to pin down or embarrass her father and brother.

Trillanes and Cayetano are members of the Nacionalista Party, which is part of the administration coalition.

“I was no longer surprised with the line of questioning of Senator Trillanes. As we have seen in other hearings, if it’s someone on his side, he is very nice. But if not, then he will apply pressure. I think the biases all came out with the questions that were raised,” she said.

She said it was as if her brother was thrown into an arena where the odds were stacked against him and he had no way of fighting back.

“Senator Cayetano and the others have the upper hand in these hearings. The mere fact that you have to be respectful to the senator, to the ones asking the questions, this hearing is not a fair venue,” Binay said.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who presided over the hearing, said at the start that he would be impartial and objective and that he would do his best “to help the public understand the issues involved in the subject matter of this investigation.”

He said the issues raised against the Binays should be treated as nothing more than mere allegations.

“This investigation is precisely to ferret out the truth from all these allegations and this is based on the motto of the Blue Ribbon committee, Veritas Liberabit Vos, meaning the truth shall set you free,” Pimentel said at the start of last Wednesday’s hearing. – With Marvin Sy                                                                  

 

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