BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Vice President Jejomay Binay could go the way of former Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached for, among others, not declaring his foreign bank accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
The latest bombshell to blow in the face of the embattled Binay was detonated on Thursday, November 6, in a Senate committee hearing by former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, whose expose on alleged anomalies by Binay when he was mayor of Makati City has triggered a full-blown investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee.
Testifying at the hearing of the Sub-Committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Mercado bared that Binay had ar least 7 hidden foreign bank accounts that were not included in his SALN.
Mercado submitted to the Sub-Committee bank documents on Binay’s alleged deposits in various Hong Kong banks. He said the hiden wealth were not reflected in Binay’s SALNs.
According to documents presented by Mercado, Binay had the following foreign accounts:
- US Dollar Time Deposit Account in Citibank Hong Kong (document presented: May 27, 1986 deposit slip)
- US Dollar Savings Account in Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Hong Kong (document presented: May 9, 1989 deposit slip)
- US Dollar Time Deposit Account, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Hong Kong (documents presented were time deposit advice statements from August 1990 to February 1994)
- Hong Kong Dollar Time Deposit Account, ABN Bank in Hong Kong (documents presented were statements from July 1990 to November 1991)
Are Binay’s critics now have grounds in the alleged undeclared bank accounts for the Vice President’s to be impeached?
Last month, Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice (Liberal Party), an ally of President Benigno Aquino, bared a plan to file impeachment complaint against Binay.
Erice said Binay may be impeached for betrayal of public trust and for not truthfully declaring his assets.
In 2012, The Senate impeached and declared Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty of betraying the public trust and committing culpable violation of the Constitution.
Corona was the first Philippine magistrate to be impeached and convicted.
Corona was found guilty of, among other charges levelled against him, failing to disclose and declare his bank deposits, particularly dollar accounts, in his SALN.
In mulling filing of an impeachment complaint, Erice cited Binay’s alleged corruption in the allegedly over-priced Makati City Parking Building and his failure to declare his properties in Tagaytay and Batangas.
The investigation by the Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee based on a resolution by Senator Antonio Trillanes, was triggered by a complaint by Mercado that Binay shook down contractors of Makati City government projects, including the Parking Building, to cough up commissions of 13 percent of project cost.
The investigation has expanded to the so-called Hacienda Binay, a 350-hectare farm in Rosario, Batangas that, according to Mercado in his testimony before the Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee, is owned by Binay and his family.
Binay and his son current Makati Mayor Junjun Binay are already facing a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman for allegedly raking in kickbacks from the overpriced Makati Parking Building.
At the November 6 hearing of the Sub-Committee, Mercado also submitted bank documents showing some Binay foreign bank accounts managed by Eduviges ‘Ebeng’ Baloloy and Gerry Limlingan, Binay’s alleged long-time aides.
Like Binay, Baloloy and Limlingan have not attended the sub-committee hearings, where Trillanes and Senator Peter Cayetano played key inquisitorial roles, despite formal invitations.
Mercado, armed with Binay’s SALNs, said that Binay’s declared cash in his past SALNs were significantly lower than the cash in his alleged bank accounts in Hong Kong.
Mercado said the bank documents were given to him by one of Binay’s men.