Binay skips senate probe, barnstorms Cebu
Binay: I’m ready to face Trillanes
Rather than attend yesterday’s Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing, Vice President Jejomar Binay flew to Cebu for a two-day visit.
Immediately upon arrival, Binay went straight to a radio station in Cebu City where he said in an interview that he was prepared to face Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in the Nov. 27 debate being organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP).
“Basta ako ho ay handa na sa (I am ready for) November 27,” the vice president said.
KBP president Ruperto Nicdao Jr. said in an earlier interview that they would hold the debate in an area close to Congress.
They plan to invite sectoral representatives for the gathering. Binay said he chose to debate with Trillanes because he sponsored the resolution calling for the Senate investigation on the Makati City Hall building II.
Binay and his party that included former Manila Mayor and now Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport on board a Philippine Airlines flight.
Also in the same flight was Joel Villanueva, director-general of the Technical Skills Education and Development Authority (Tesda) and a close political ally of President Aquino. Villanueva was in Cebu to preside over the graduation of 600 Yolanda survivors who took a training course with Tesda.
Binay’s interview took place about the same time as Sen. Teofisto Guingona III convened the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing where the vice president was supposed to be the principal “resource person”.
Binay said that when he received Guingona’s invitation to attend the hearing, he decided outright that he would go.
“Kaya lang may mga pangyayari at doon sa mga nang yari parang mukhang hindi ako dapat sumipot (But something happened and based on what happened it appeared that I should not attend),” he said.
Instead, he sent a letter to the Blue Ribbon committee informing the senators why he’s not attending.
Binay said he cannot be at the Senate investigation especially if Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano won’t change their behavior.
“Nakita niyo naman ang asal ni Senator Trillanes, ni Senator Cayetano. Nang hihiya, nang lalait, nang hahamak. Eh paano naman ako pupunta doon? Kagabi lang narinig ko na anim na oras daw nila akong hindi tatantanan (You all saw the attitude of Sen. Trillanes and Sen. Cayetano. They humiliate, they insult and they degrade resource persons. So why would I go there. Last night I heard that they will grill me for six hours),” the vice president said.
“Kahit iyong garantiya ni Senator Guingona that they will be in proper decorum hindi niya kaya iyon. Iyong dalawang iyon? Iyon namang ginagawa nila pang TV lang (Even with Guingona’s guarantee that they will observe proper decorum, he cannot do it. Those two? What they’re doing is for TV only),” he added.
Binay said he doesn’t consider as urgent the Blue Ribbon investigation because he already answered the questions that the senators would want to ask of him on the reported overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
“Nasagot na ho lahat iyon. Ang masama ho niyan lagpas na ho ang tinatanong nila in aid of legislation (I answered it all. What’s bad about it is that what they’re asking exceeded the need) in aid of legislation,” he said.
Binay referred to the Senate investigation which dug up his alleged ownership of a property in Batangas.
“Hindi naman kasama iyong mga Tiu (businessman Antonio Tiu accused of fronting for Binay as the owner of the Batangas property). Napunta na sa properties (ang Senate investigation) na ibinibintang sa amin (The Tiu family isn’t involved in this. The Senate investigation had gone to the properties which they accuse me of owning),” he said.
Binay said he would not allow the Senate investigation to shame him and the Office he represents.
“With the demeanor of the senators, what’s at stake is my Office. I won’t allow them to humiliate my Office,” Binay said.
Binay also complained that he was already pre-judged even before he received Guingona’s invitation.
After the radio interview, Binay left for Toledo City at noon where he had a “boodle fight” with the employees of Carmen Copper Corp.
White T-shirts were given to the employees that bore the message “Tatak Binay” and some leaflets. Carmen Copper Mining resident manager Rodrigo Cal said Binay scheduled the mining visit three days ago.
“We received him here as a visitor. He also requested for the boodle fight. I don’t have any idea about the Senate hearing today,” Cal said.
Binay also paid a courtesy visit to former senator and now Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña.
He met with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, former Danao City mayor Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr and Toledo City councilors for 30 minutes.
Reporters covering the visit were unable to interview Binay, who only told them that he was following up on local housing projects.
“Binay came here mainly as a friend. We have been friends since the 1984 Edsa Revolution. We have been helping each other. He’s here as part of his job on the housing project,” Osmeña said.
The vice president also visited the public markets in the towns of Pinamungajan and Aloguinsan before he met with businessman Willy Go for dinner.
Binay will be in Cebu City for an early morning walk through from the senior citizens park located in front of the City Hall executive building passing by the Carbon Market to the Taboan Market.
After the walk, he will have breakfast with Taboan market vendors.
Binay will then grace the Boy Scouts of the Philippines’ Centennial Jamboree for the Visayas grand opening at the Capitol Hills Scout Camp before heading for more market visits in Talisay City and Consolacion town.
He will spend a second night in Cebu and take an early morning flight on Saturday for Zamboanga City.
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