Only In The Philippines

April 14, 2015 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Philippine Inquirer

Vice President Jejomar Binay (Photo Credit: Philippine Inquirer)

In a little more than a year, President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines will complete his 6-year term in office. His critics, however, can’t wait for his successor to be elected. They want him to step down now. It doesn’t help that his approval rating has gone down to its lowest level since he assumed the presidency, according to the latest survey.

President Aquino isn’t perfect. But it’s his stance against corruption that made him many enemies. He has put former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well as three popular senators in detention for plunder. It could only be expected that their allies will try to throw everything at him including the kitchen sink.

If President Aquino is forced out of office, he’ll be replaced by Vice President Jejomar Binay. It’ll be a nightmare for the country, a step back in the fight against corruption, bringing it back deeper into the dark ages.

Vice President Binay’s first name was derived from the first letters of the Holy Family: JEsus, JOseph, and MARy. According to legend, when Binay was born, he was dark, fragile, and tiny causing the midwife to invoke the Holy Family’s names, Jesús, María y José, for their blessings. Unfortunately, he grew up unable to live up to his name. He has become one of the most corrupt politicians in the Philippines.

At present, there’s an ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee investigation on Binay’s alleged graft and corruption practices during his term as Makati City Mayor. Despite volumes of supporting documentation presented, he calls them lies and politically-motivated. However, he’s unable to explain how he became multi=billionaire on a public official’s salary.

Once the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee completes the investigation, its findings will be presented to the Office of the Ombudsman for the filing of proper charges at the Sandiganbayan, a special appellate collegial court in the Philippines.

And that is when everything gets lost in la la land.

Judging from personal experience, I could foresee what would happen to these charges against the Vice President.

Many years ago, our family got an eviction notice from the owner of the adjacent property. When we refused, he sued. In his suit, he presented as evidence a deed of sale signed by my grandfather. If anybody’s asking for proof that ghosts exist, this would be it. My grandfather signed the document some 20 years after his death.

The judge who heard the case didn’t accept our argument that the signature was fraudulent. He said it was irrelevant to the case at hand. He was ruling the legality of the claim based on the fact the sale was duly and officially recorded in the office of the register of deeds.

As a consolation for losing, the judge said in private that we could counter sue. Incidentally, my mother paid the judge. it just happened that the claimant paid him more and that his father in-law was the town mayor.

It’s common knowledge that the Philippine justice system isn’t only slow, but it’s also for sale. As a result, it plays well in the hands of a master manipulator like Binay who also has lots of money to spare.

With reference to the Vice President, this will not be the first time he will be charged at the Sandiganbayan. Several complaints of graft and corruption were filed in the past against him and his wife, Elenita, who also served as Makati City Mayor, without success. They were either dismissed by the friendly court or are getting lost in the maze of technical maneuverings.

Following Binay’s footsteps, his son Jejomar Erwin Jr., who is the current Makati City Mayor, has been implicated in the anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Building II. After being suspended for six months by the Ombudsman, the Court of Appeals granted him a temporary restraining order (TRO) that allows him to remain in office. According to Senator Antonio Trillanes, the TRO and the subsequent issuance of an indefinite writ of preliminary injunction against the suspension came at a price of P50 million for the two judges who signed them.

As can be expected, the Ombudsman has elevated the case to the Philippine Supreme Court arguing that the suspension is justified because evidence against the younger Binay is strong.

If the Supreme Court decides in his favor, it only proves that the Binays hold the Philippine judiciary by the nose so they can’t smell the stench.

God forbid if he’s elected as the next President of the Philippines in 2016.

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