BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Fresh allegations of corruption have been hurled against Vice President Jejomar Binay to further endanger his 2016 presidential bid in 2016.
Two fresh charges have been thrown at Binay — alleged overpricing in the renovation of the 3-building P1.2 billion Friendship Suites originally bought as tenement house for homeless urban poor of Makati which Binay allegedly converted into a hotel and various anomalies in a resettlement site for informal settlers in Laguna.
The twin cases were bared April 16 at the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee.
In another case, Binay demanded a P200 million donation for his 2010 presidential campaign from Delfin Lee, the lawyer of the property developer told the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee which is already investigating a string of anomalies leveled against Binay and members of his family.
Lawyer Willie Rivera told sub-committee chair Senator Koko Pimentel and member Senator Antonio Trillanes in the April 13 hearing that Delfin Lee refused to give in to the demand made prior to the election relayed by Gerry Limlingan, known as the financial consultant of Binay, which led to legal woes for Lee after Binay won and became chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Lee is in prison for syndicated estafa for alleged anomalies in the handling of more than P7 billion worth of housing fund released to his company by Pag-ibig, a line agency under the HUDCC. Rivera said Limlingan told him the P200M campaign fund, including linking then Vice President Noli de Castro who also then headed HUDCC, to anomalies in Pag-ibig, in exchange for Binay, if he becomes vice president, not troubling Lee with legal cases over alleged anomalies in his handling of the Pag-ibig fund.
The shakedown parallels that of another complaint being probed by the subcommittee alleging that Binay, when he was the mayor of Makati City, and son incumbent Mayor JunJun Binay and wife former mayor Elenita Binay, fleeced 15 commission from contractors of city government projects.
Binay is also being probed for undeclared bank deposits and assets, including ownership of several condominium units and the 350-hectare Hacienda Binay in Batangas. Binay is also being investigated for the alleged anomalous deal involving lease of a premium property owned by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines of which he is the “lifetime” president.
The fresh case further tightens the noose on the neck of Binay, who was expected to run for President in 2016 under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (INA) party.
He continues to maintain the lead in surveys but his acceptance level has been dipping down and in danger of being overtaken by other presidentiables like Senator Grace Poe, second after Binay in the latest survey of Pulse Asia, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who landed third in the same survey.
Binay has dismissed all the allegations of anomaly saying they are black propaganda aimed to derail his presidential bid.
Recently, the Ombudsman slapped a 60-day suspension against Mayor Junjun Binay in connection with the alleged anomalous transaction in the P2.3 billion Makati City Building II.
The Binays have spurned invitations to appear in the Senate Blue Ribbon hearings, saying that the committee has no jurisdiction over the cases and that they would rather that the cases be filed in court.