Binay defends self on corruption allegations

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(File photo) Vice President Jejomar Binay

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) once again denied corruption allegations hounding his candidacy, saying only a Philippine court can determine whether he is guilty or not.

“Corruption is a criminal offense. Pero hindi ka pwede namang masabing guilty kung walang hatol ang hukuman,” Binay said in response to Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II during the second PiliPinas presidential debate — organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), KBP, TV5 and Philippine Star — on Sunday (March 20).

[Translation: "... But you cannot be found guilty without a court ruling."]

Binay_Corrup-Allegiations_Presidential-Debate_CNNPH.png  

When given a chance to ask a question for Binay, Roxas urged the vice president to defend himself on allegations that there was graft and corruption under his term as mayor in Makati.

Related: COA report proves Binay not worthy of presidency, says Roxas

Roxas mentioned several allegations against Binay, citing reports from the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman. These include the controversial P2.2 billion Makati Carpark Project and several overpriced purchases for the Ospital ng Makati.

Binay said even during the start of the debate, he wanted to present documents to prove his innocence, including his statement of assets and liabilities and net worth (SALN) and income tax return (ITR). But he was not allowed by the debate rules set by the Comelec. 

He added only the court and not Roxas’ or anyone else's accusations can find him guilty. “Bakit hukuman ba yung COA para magsabing guilty or not guilty?” he asked.

[Translation: "Is COA a court to find someone guilty or not guilty?"]

Binay also accused Roxas of being behind efforts to derail his candidacy, dubbed by the Binay camp as ‘Oplan Nognog.’

“Talagang kumbinsido na ho ako na ikaw ay isa sa namumuno dun sa paggawa ng demolition by perception,” Binay said.

[Translation: "I am really convinced that you are one of those leading the demolition by perception."]

Corruption allegations against Binay

On February, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales affirmed decision to file criminal charges against the vice president and his son former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay for their alleged involvement in the anomalous P2.2 billion Makati Carpark Project.

In the past, Binay also repeatedly denied corruption allegations involving the so-called Hacienda Binay, a 350-hectare land in Rosario, Batangas allegedly owned by the Binay family.

Quoting a report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), a national daily recently published that Binay got billions of pesos from several infrastructure projects when he was still Makati mayor.

Also read:  Senate wraps up probe on Binay family’s wealth

Political analyst: Binay needs to recover from corruption issues

Prior to the start of the presidential debate, political analyst Dindo Manhit said Binay needs to rise up from the results of the first presidential debate, where he “obviously failed to answer properly queries about his family’s wealth.”

Kung ito ay maharap, masagot ni Vice President Binay it could be a game-changer, papalo siya, makakabawi. Pag hindi niya masagot nang maayos ‘to in the eyes of the voters, baka maging problema ‘to sa kampanya niya.”

[Translation: “If this (corruption allegations) will be faced, answered by Vice President Binay, it could be a game-changer, he can recover. If he cannot answer these properly in the eyes of the voters, this can be a problem in his campaign.”

Manhit said the debate can either strengthen or weaken a candidate’s image.