Binay camp links ombudsman move to Roxas

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday questioned the timing of the release of resolutions by the Office of the Ombudsman affirming the filing of corruption charges against him and his son over the questionable Makati City carpark building project.

“The ombudsman resolutions are plainly political tools against the Vice President,” Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said.

“Last year, the ombudsman released its resolution against the Vice President on the day he filed his certificate of candidacy. Now it released another resolution on the motion for reconsideration just a few days before the start of the campaign period and after Vice President Binay regained his lead in the presidential surveys,” he added.

The ombudsman said yesterday it has denied the appeals of the Vice President, his son dismissed Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin and 22 other Makati City officials and employees against the filing of charges against them in connection with alleged anomalies in the P2.2-billion Makati car park building project.

But in one of the resolutions, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales stressed the criminal cases against the Vice President would be filed only after he steps down from office and loses his immunity from suit. As an impeachable official, the vice president is immune from suit while in office.

Binay is running for president under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). He has regained his lead in surveys, closely followed by Sen. Grace Poe.

Salgado said the ombudsman’s move to investigate the elder Binay – despite his immunity from suit – was meant to ensure the continuation of black propaganda against him and improve the chances in the polls of administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

“Simply put, the move of the ombudsman fits into the orchestrated effort of Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party and its allies, including Roxas’ mouthpieces masquerading as Palace spokesmen, to attack the Vice President,” Salgado said.

“We have never expected fairness and impartiality from the ombudsman. We look forward to disproving all their allegations in an impartial court,” Binay’s spokesman added.

In a statement, the ombudsman stressed it has the authority to investigate the Vice President in accordance with the Constitution, law and jurisprudence.

Campaign starts in Welfareville

 Spared from criminal charges for now, Binay is set to launch his miting de avance on Feb. 9 at the Welfareville compund in Mandaluyong City.

Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. said his city is ready to welcome the opposition presidential candidate.

“We are ready to receive him. Our constituents strongly believe in his leadership,” said Abalos, noting Binay wanted to spend the first day of his presidential campaign with the poor. Abalos is Binay’s partymate in UNA.

Two big fires hit the Welfareville compound recently.

The presence of Binay would be a big morale booster to the fire victims, Abalos said.

When asked about the choice of Mandaluyong City, Abalos pointed out that they are neighbors and their performance brought their two cities to greater heights in terms of financial gains.

Furthermore, Mandaluyong City is located in central Metro Manila and Binay supporters from other parts of the metropolis would have easy access to Welfareville compound.

“Makati City and Mandaluyong City are like brothers. We are helping and guiding each other in performing our mandates to raise our revenues and uplift the lives of our poor residents,” said Abalos.

Abalos is serving his third and last term and would be replaced by his wife, Menchie, who is running under UNA.

“Vice President Binay wants to launch his campaign with ordinary Filipinos who have been left behind and continue to struggle with poverty, hunger and unemployment,” Salgado said in a statement.

“The Vice President chose to hold his proclamation rally at Welfareville because he wanted to share with the masses his vision of a nation where rich and poor share the benefits of economic growth,” he added.

Cavite, Laguna next

After Mandaluyong, Salgado said Binay will continue with his campaign in the nearby provinces of Cavite and Laguna.

“The Vice President will continue to present his platform of government anchored on uplifting the lives of the people, something that he has done in Makati,” Salgado said.

“He will continue to talk directly to the people about his track record of decisive and pro-poor management, and his programs to bring more jobs, improve the quality of education, provide accessible healthcare and address poverty,” he added. 

Two of Binay’s opponents will also hold proclamation rallies on the same day in Manila: Poe in Plaza Miranda and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in Tondo.

Roxas will begin his campaign in his home province in Iloilo, while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago will be in Ilocos Norte, home province of her running mate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Expected to be with the Vice President in Mandaluyong is his running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, as well as the party’s candidates for senator.

They include former Special Action Forces director Getulio Napeñas, Parañaque councilor and actress Alma Moreno, Princess Jacel Kiram, labor lawyer Allan Montaño and broadcaster Rey Langit. – With Non Alquitran


















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