MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/13 October) — Maybe Vice President Jejomar Binay owns the 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas. Maybe he doesn’t. Or maybe he used to own it but had sold it to another individual or a corporation. Regardless of what the truth is, from a technical viewpoint, there is as yet to no fool-proof evidence of who really owns – or owned – what. Nothing though may prevent people from forming their own conclusions on whether Binay is innocent or not.
With the systematic – and seemingly well-funded – campaign to destroy his chances in 2016, evidence may surface soon that, indeed, he and his family had amassed wealth beyond their means. But unless and until such evidence comes out they, like any other citizen, are entitled to presumption of innocence regardless of what the person on the street thinks about them. Some reports however were presented in such a way that already suggests guilt on the part of the Vice President.
The reports however all failed to mention that the Senate subcommittee investigating the allegations against Binay and his family is yet to come up with evidence that can stand in court. If Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV have been unforgiving in their words against Binay, it is mainly because they wanted to boost their own political stock as presidential contenders. As a lawyer the Vice President knows this, and so appears unfazed by the plunder case that has been filed against him in court by an anti-crime group.
Cayetano and company said Binay’s refusal to appear before the Senate subcommittee suggests guilt, or at least an attempt to hide something from the public. Maybe. But Binay knows, as all of us know, that these hearings are not really in aid of legislation but a legalized form of demolition job. As an astute politician, he knows he stands no chance in the Senate hearings where the senators control the proceedings. Again, the issue is not the guilt or innocence of Binay but the real motive behind the move.
Given the web of interests surrounding the issues against Binay, and the self-serving motives of the officials who are ganging up on him, I’d rather see such issues settled in court. If the senators and whoever is masterminding the move are indeed sincere in making the Vice President answer the graft charges, then they should exert effort to unearth evidence that are admissible in court and not rely on testimonies that would amount to nothing (except to affect the ratings of presidential wannabes) in the absence of a credible paper trail.
He owns or owned the Rosario estate? Show the documents not just aerial photos. The Makati City Hall Building 2 is overpriced? Get a report from the Commission on Audit that it is so. And then hail him to court. That should force Binay to face his accusers and resolve the issue once and for all.
What better way is there to stop graft other than escorting the suspected pork barrel scam mastermind to the police? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at email@example.com)