MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay should be prosecuted for plunder over allegations of amassing illegal wealth, but doing so “should not be used to cover-up the far bigger systemic corruption” perpetuated by the administration, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Saturday.
‘Even as we seek truth and accountability with regard to the Binays, we reiterate our demand – ‘Lahat ng sangkot, dapat managot (Everyone involved should be held accountable)’,” the leftist alliance said.
“Those who have long misused public funds and/or juggled the national budget for illegal and self-serving ends should also be held accountable, from President Benigno Aquino III (and) Budget Secretary (Florencio) Butch Abad as well as the administration allies who have been tagged as clients of Janet Napoles,” Bayan said.
The administration has been accused of selective prosecution over the pork barrel scam, charging only political opponents while keeping mum about the involvement of its allies in the funneling off of billions of pesos in lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund to bogus projects in exchange for hefty kickbacks.
Aquino and Abad also came under fire for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, which they justified as a means to pump prime the economy but which, along with the PDAF, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Bayan said the accusations against Binay and the “information revealed so far indicate corruption of such scandalous proportions that these cannot be dismissed by general denials or attribution to a demolition job” by his enemies.
“At the very least, being public officials, the Binays have an obligation to show the true figures of their wealth and explain how they acquired this,” the group added.
However, it also echoed suspicions voiced by some quarters that the allegations against Binay are part of efforts to undermine his acknowledged intention to run for president next year and said “it is not in the interest of the public to see this corruption play out as part of the 2016 election drama that merely seeks to neutralize foes of the administration.”
“It is in the public interest to see the principal players investigated and properly charged in court. This is the only way this matter will not end up as mere politicking for dubious ends,” Bayan stressed. “Thus it is the task of the Courts, the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice and related agencies to see to it that appropriate cases are properly filed and prosecuted against those involved.”
Bayan noted that “the Binay rise to power is in fact largely owed to the Aquino family after EDSA 1” and that “it is only now however that associates of the President are going after Binay because of the need to position favorably for 2016.”
It voiced concern over the possibility “that if Binay pulls out of the 2016 race, these charges will quietly go away” as part of the “horse-trading and transactional politics among the ruling elite.”
It cited allegations of corruption against one of Aquino’s opponents in the 2010 presidential race, former Senator Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party.
“No one has heard of these (allegations) again after Aquino won.” Bayan said, adding, “He even invited Villar’s Nacionalista Party to join the administration coalition.” (MNS)