BY ROGER M. BALANZA
“Binay practically destroyed any credibility he has left”
After refusing to attend hearings of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee and an invitation by the mother Blue Ribbon Committee to a separate hearing, Vice President Jejomar Binay is on this third chicken act: he is running away from a scheduled debate with Senator Antonio Trillanes.
The first two would have given Binay chance to refute massive corruption hurled against him; the one-on-one debate that he himself hurled at Trillanes, would have given Binay a chance to present his arguments in a venue outside of the Senate.
Binay is being investigated by the Senate for alleged overpricing of the 11-story P2.3 billion Makati City Parking Building and other city government projects when he was the Makati City mayor, his alleged ownership of the 450-hectare P1.2 billion “Hacienda Binay” in Rosario, batangas and his other alleged hidden wealth.
Binay had described the Blue Ribbon hearings as “unfair” and as “demolition jobs” aimed to derail his presidential bid in 2016.
Trillanes said Binay is running away from the debate on the “lamest of excuses.”
“It is his loss. He is going to be crucified for this and he practically destroyed any credibility he has left,” he said.
Binay said he made the decision to back out from the November 27 debate after reports quoting Trillanes as saying that he (Trillanes) would be the “underdog” in the debate.
Trillanes earlier said in an interview that Binay is better armed for the debate because the Vice President is a lawyer.
“I don’t want to do it anymore,” Binay said in a report on GMA NEWSTV’s afternoon news program Balitang Pilipinas yesterday.
Binay was interviewed at the Philippine Navy headquarters also yesterday, November 11.
Told about Binay’s chicken act, Trillanes said he was frustrated and surprised but added the Vice President was running away because he will lose in the debate.
Pag kalaban mo ang katotohanan, talo ka (If you fight the truth, you are sure to lose), said Trillanes in the GMA NEWSTV report.
Trillanes’s claim he would be an underdog in the debate, according to Binay, would make a “bully” out of him because of Trillanes’ claim that the Vice President is a lawyer and the senator is not.
“That’s what I don’t like. They’re making it seem that I’m a bully who’s taking advantage of him. My advantage, if ever I do have one, is that I want to talk about the facts,” Binay said in a separate report on rappler.com
Binay said his decision to back out of the debate is final. There’s no other way, he said.
On ANC news channel, Trillanes said he was surprised by Binay’s decision.
“I was hoping against hope that he would somehow find the courage,” said Trillanes who adds that Binay did not say anything about backing out when he spoke with the Vice Presieent on Monday night.
He said Binay’s reason is “the lamest excuse” that the Vice President can get.
Trillanes said he had no inkling about the Vice President backing out because he and Binay, accompanied by his daughter Senator Nancy Binay, attended a Monday lunch meeting facilitated by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) to discuss details of the debate.
Trillanes said Binay and his group played bully during the meeting.
“They thought that they can impose other conditions that will make me back out. But again, I bent backwards. They imposed the condition that they will be the first to give the opening statement and the last to give the closing statement and that will clearly put me at a disadvantage but nonetheless I accepted,” the senator said in the rappler.com report.
The KBP, which organized the debate, has also expressed surprise at Binay’s sudden turn-around.
We are surprised but ‘it’s out of our hands,” said KBP president Herman Basbaño on ANC.