MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay’s responses to corruption allegations being hurled against him will make or break his chances in the 2016 presidential polls, President Benigno Aquino III said Monday.
Asked during an interview if he still perceives Binay as the man to beat in the 2016 presidential race, Aquino acknowledged that the vice president has been leading pre-election popularity surveys.
Aquino, however, said that Binay’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential elections will largely depend on how he will defend himself from accusations that he was involved in corrupt practices when he was Makati mayor.
“Iyong the impression has been that he has been at the forefront of the challenge, if we look at all of the surveys. At the same time, I think that question rest on his ability to be able to answer all of the allegations that he is being confronted with at this present time,” he said.
Last week, 242 bank accounts belonging to Binay, his family members and his supposed allies were reported frozen, after the Court of Appeals granted a petition from the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s to undertake such actions.
Binay is being investigated by the Ombudsman and a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for several controversies, including the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School, and an allegedly disadvantageous land deal between the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Alphaland.
Binay is the opposition’s presumptive standard-bearer in 2016. He is the only politician who has formally declared his intention to seek the presidency next year.
Shortly after Aquino’s interview on Monday morning, Binay already released a statement thanking the President for what he said.
Although he said that he has yet to get an official copy of the AMLC report on his frozen bank accounts, Binay said that he can answer the council’s findings.
“I am very confident that we can debunk all the false, erroneous, and misleading conclusions of AMLC, which is just part of a conspiracy of the Liberal Party to unleash government agencies against my family and private individuals in their efforts to malign me,” Binay said.
Binay also once again questioned the investigation being conducted by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.
“The senators conducting the protracted hearings have already prejudged me and have declared me guilty. They have deprived government officials and private individuals of their constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law,” he said.
“They harass and bully those who dare speak the truth and state the facts, while tolerating and encouraging our political opponents to make false and baseless statements,” Binay added.(MNS)