Philippine Vice President Binay dared not to hide behind secrecy law

Philippine Vice President Binay dared not to hide behind secrecy law
Sen. Francis Escudero.

Vice President Jejomar Binay should not hide behind secrecy and confidentiality rules on bank deposits and instead should come clean.

Sen. Francis Escudero said the Court of Appeals (CA) order, issued on Monday without a hearing upon the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), to freeze the bank accounts of Binay in connection with corruption allegations showed that there was "prima facie" evidence of wrongdoing.

"This is not a simple allegation involving politics, for me, because a government agency and a court were now involved here where things should be faced and explained. One can no longer hide and say this was simply politics and related to 2016," Escudero told reporters.

In a text message to reporters, Escudero said that Binay, who is seeking the presidency next year, was now facing a "serious accusation that he should answer and address squarely."

"He should no longer ignore nor sweep this under the rug. Neither should he hide behind secrecy/confidential rules on AMLC/bank deposits. He owes the people nothing less," said the senator, a former ally of Binay.

Escudero said Binay's camp could still file a motion for reconsideration in the CA or go straight to the Supreme Court to stop the freeze order.

Allegations validated

After 20 hearings and counting, the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee members felt vindicated by the CA's move.

"Let us give credit where credit is due," Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said in a phone interview. "Because of the subcommittee hearings, aside from the findings of the subcommittee itself which will be contained in a report, what has happened?"

He enumerated the following accomplishments:

The Office of the Ombudsman obtained documents from the hearings on the corruption complaint against Binay for the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II when he was mayor.

The Ombudsman was conducting the preliminary investigation on the complaint after a panel of its investigators recommended that Binay and other Makati officials be charged for alleged irregularities in the building construction.

The Ombudsman had ordered the suspension of Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. and other Makati City officials, although the CA later issued an injunction against it.

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