Nothing is proven yet in Senate report - Binay camp

NOTHING substantial has been proven by the Senate in its investigation into the alleged anomalies committed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee partial report recommending plunder charges to be filed against the Vice President and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., for the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 was signed by 10 senators.

They were subcommittee chairman Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Grace Poe, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III, Francis Escudero, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pia Cayetano and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.

But lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay's spokesman for political affairs, maintained that there is "nothing concrete or sufficient has been established up to the present despite the fishing expedition conducted by the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee."

This was contrary to Escudero's remarks, saying that the initial report has shown there were serious anomalies in the construction of the building, and that a plunder charge would allow Binay to answer these allegations in the "proper forum."

Escudero endorsed Binay for vice president in the 2010 national elections and has always been credited for the former Makati City mayor's victory.

They had a falling out during the 2013 midterm elections when Escudero decided to run under the administration's Liberal Party (LP).

"The allegations thrown against the Vice President are no different from the lies peddled by his political opponents in Makati every election time," Quicho said.

"Senator Escudero could not turn a blind eye to the fact that these unfair accusations are not new to the Vice President," he added.

These accusations were simply rehashed and reused "for political mileage and to bring down his survey ratings," Quicho alleged.

If only the senators conducted the hearings after "mature deliberation of the facts and objective assessment of the testimonies of so-called resource persons," then it would not have dragged for 11 months, Quicho said.

"But by now it is obvious that the intent is to prolong the hearings until the campaign period in order to bring down the Vice President's ratings. To reiterate, the hearings are not in aid of legislation but in aid of political demolition."

Binay's relationship with the administration, which is primarily hinged on his friendship with the Aquino family, had always been civil.

The Vice President resigned from the President's Cabinet last month and proceeded to attack and criticize the Aquino government's alleged ineptitude and insensitivity to the needs of the people.

This was after 11 months of being subjected to the Senate inquiry, which the Vice President's camp believed was a machination of the LP to malign the reputation of the Vice President ahead of the 2016 presidential polls.

"The signature of Senator Escudero on the Senate sub-committee partial report will not validate or legitimize the lies and half-truths that will not stand in a court of law," Quicho said.

"What it does prove is that we cannot expect consistency, integrity, fairness, and decency from highly partisan and ambition-driven politicians," he added. (CVB/Sunnex)

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