Quo vadis, Jojo?

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Buddies: Jojo and P-Noy

Buddies: Jojo and P-Noy

For more than four years since his election to the vice presidency, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was on top of the world enjoying an unprecedented popularity no other politician before him had enjoyed. Indeed, he was so popular that he was convinced that the Liberal Party (LP) of his good friend, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III, doesn’t have anybody who could beat him in the presidential derby in 2016.

Riding on the crest of popularity, Binay exudes optimism in clinching the presidential election. Only about a month ago, he was the “unbeatable” front-runner in the race. The Liberals were so frustrated with Mar Roxas’s waning presidential standing that supporting Binay as the common candidate of the LP and Binay’s yet-to-be-named-political-party — still in its embryonic stage — is now a viable option. With Binay running under that coalition would make him so formidable that nobody in the current crop of wannabes could defeat him. Indeed, if the presidential election were held today, he’d trounce them all.

Lord of Makati

Lord-of-Makati.2But the election is still a year and a half away. Although nobody has come out openly against Binay, the “demolition job” has begun. An article written by Miriam Grace A. Go in March 2001, titled “The Lord of Makati,” is being republished in the print media and has become one of the hottest topics in the social media.

According to the article, Makati’s former mayor Jojo Binay had “accumulated at least P80 million worth of real estate properties in Makati and Batangas, which he kept undeclared.” This excludes “P12 million in declared investments, as well as other businesses that he and his friends reportedly control through dummy corporations.”

The article further said, “After serving as mayor for 12 years, Binay now owns a 66-hectare farm in Rosario, Batangas – estimated to be almost double the size of the Ayala commercial center in Makati – according to our investigation. Based on conservative estimates of the land value alone, the property – excluding improvements – is worth about P23 million.

Rockwell Center, Makati

Rockwell Center, Makati

“In addition, Binay and his wife, Elenita, current Makati mayor [in 2001], also own at least two Hidalgo condominium units, located inside the posh Rockwell Center in Makati. A 208-square meter unit in Rockwell, like the ones occupied by each of the two Binay daughters, costs around P28 million.”

Go and her team of investigative reporters had “interviewed at least 15 contractors, former employees and farm hands, sources privy to transactions, and local residents who saw Binay inspect the properties, and who all confirmed his ownership of these properties. Without these testimonies, it would be difficult to trace ownership to him because documents, if they are available at all, do not link him or his family members to the properties.”

The question is: How did Binay hide his ownership of these properties? According to the realtors who were questioned by investigative reporters, Binay’s modus operandi works this way: “He forms a company, which buys or builds the house for him. He then lists down unknown names from different addresses as incorporators of the company. After buying the property, registration papers do not bear his name. Instead, the original owner is asked to either issue a mortgage in Binay’s favor or sign a paper bestowing him with a power of attorney over the property. Only Binay has copies of the pertinent documents, such as deeds of sale and land titles.”

Plunder

Former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

Former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

But finally the truth is catching up to Binay. Recently, former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, saying that Binay got 13% in kickbacks from all city projects. He said that he acted as Binay’s “bagman” and personally delivered money to Binay’s house in duffel bags containing anywhere from P1.5 million to P10 million.

Makati parking building emblazoned with Binay's political propaganda.

Makati parking building emblazoned with Binay’s political propaganda.

While all these alleged shenanigans were being exposed, Binay, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 23 others were charged with plunder in relation to the alleged overpricing in the construction of an 11-story parking building that Makati City allegedly built for a whopping P1.56 billion! The complaint claimed that in 2007 then-Mayor Jojo Binay had “proposed and approved” a city ordinance for the construction of the parking building with an initial budget of P400 million; thus, making it “the most expensive parking building in the country, if not the entire world.”

The question is: If the Binays were indicted for plunder, would the graft court, Sandiganbayan, issue arrest warrants against them? If so, it could be the end of Binay’s presidential run. Unless he would continue to run from behind bars just like when Sen. Sonny Trillanes ran for senator in 2007 from his detention cell. And if he won the race, he would be released to assume the presidency, which would give him immunity from prosecution, including plunder.

Public opinion

Binay dynasty (credit: Equalizer)

Binay dynasty (credit: Equalizer)

While the Ombudsman is investigating the plunder charges against the Binays, the court of public opinion is in “full session.” With emotions running high in light of the pork barrel scam, the people are looking at l’affaire Binay with keen interest, after all Jojo Binay could be their next president. And the specter of the “Lord of Makati” becoming the country’s “Grand Lord” could just be too much for those who are convinced that Jejomar “Jojo” Binay is corrupt to the bones, which begs the question: Would the court of public opinion deny him the presidency?

With the plunder case and the “demolition job” that’s going on against the Binays, it makes one wonder if Jojo could overcome the biggest obstacle in his quest for power and glory. He believed so not too long ago. But does he now?

Quo vadis, Jojo?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


19 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Bobby Bagos says:

    This is one heck of a write up Mr. Diaz and it should really apply to not just the Binays but every public officials whose only motives for being in politics is to fatten their wallets and bank accounts. How these family was able to amass that much wealth based on their salaries as public servant should really be scrutinized, but by whom? Our country’s justice system is’nt the most effective and certainly not the most reliable in prosecuting powerful people in politics. The best that they can do is to detained them for certain amount time then everything will be forgotten, especially by the people of our country. Articles like yours is an excellent catalysts in getting our gullible kababayans to get off their butts and quit coddling people like the Binays or our country will be forever mired in corruption. Keep up the good work, Mr. Diaz.

  2. alberto Francisco says:

    To whom it may concern!

    All U.S. citizen of this country were guaranteed inalienable rights, including the rights to be presume innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I believe that is also true in Philippine constitution. Let the law do its course, and give Mr Binay the DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Let him prove himself that he is not guilty of all the the accusations of corruption and ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH.

    • perry says:

      Hi Alberto,

      In the Philippines, Presumption of innocence doesn’t apply to unexplained wealth. If Binay couldn’t explain where he got his wealth, then he’s guilty of corruption.

      Perry

      • philip says:

        Susmaryosep claims the evidence presented by his former subordinates cannot stand in a court of law and is merely “recycled lies”. Even so, can it withstand the court of public opinion? The Philippine electorate will decide if there is hope for the country in 2016.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      You’re right Alberto, he does have that right but he’s going about it the wrong way by pleading his innocence to the Filipino people. His stubbornness to appear in front of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee just reinforces what a lot of right thinking citizens thinks of him, corrupt to the core. Perry hit the nail on the head, Binay have a lot of explaining to do about their enormous wealth, where it came from and how they got it. The Ayala’s, Lucio Tan and the other billionaires that’s keeping our country’s economy alive can easily prove where their richest came from, can the Binays do the same? I guess another thieving general will be joining him soon trying to explain where all those millions came from.

  3. philip says:

    Susmaryosep kayo, mga Binay! Paano nga ba kayo yumaman, hindi naman kayo nag-private business? Public service lang and naging trabaho nyo na maliit lang ang suweldo pero magaling kayong mangurakut. If this is the Filipino (family) worth dying for, malaking pagkakamali talaga si Ninoy. Pero magiging Presidente pa rin iyan, bibilhin lang nila ang boto ng mga tangang Filipino. Sabi ni PeNoy, kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. Sabi naman ni Susmaryosep, dahil ako ang pinaka-corrupt, lalo kayong maghihirap.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Philip, yan ang pinakamalaking sakit ng ating mga kababayan. Sa maliit na halaga ipagpapalit nila anim na taong paghihirap ating bansa dahil sa mga walang budhing mambabatas (daw)na ibinoboto nila palagi, tulad ng mga Binay. Something powerful needs to rearrange the brain cells of our voting kababayans because they are really the cause of our country’s demise.

  4. Rex Garcia CPE / PE says:

    Mr. Kurakot Binay why are you afraid to go to the senate and answer all the questions in the Senate Blue Ribbon session. You can not defend yourself in your own press conference by answering your own questions and act and talk as if if you are already campaigning for 2016 election. Its too early for 2016 campaigning. The Filipino people wants to hear you in the senate blue ribbon hearing. Senator Trillanes and Cayatano won’t bite you. They’ll just grill you well done. Perry I learn something new from your reply to Mr. Alberto that presumption of innocence does not apply to stolen or unexplained wealth. You are a sharp cookie Perry.

  5. Don Azarias says:

    Perry Diaz—-Quo vadis, Jojo?

    Jojo Binay—-To Malacanang Palace, with the help of those stupid Filipino voters.

    • perry says:

      Hi Don,

      Does it seem like the Philippines has a government of stupid people, by stupid people, and for stupid people?

      Perry

      • Don Azarias says:

        Perry,

        It’s more like: “Government of the crooked elites, by the crooked elites, for the clueless and unknowing Juan de la Cruz.”

        Don

      • frank says:

        I absolutely agree, the stupidity of the voters has been shown during every election cycle. The likes of the Binays and the many more politicos will rule the country for the forseeable generation. Sorry we “educate” our people to be so stupid.

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          And the sad part, nothing will change in the way our government conducts its business, it will continue to be the breeding ground for corrupt activities and our stupid and clueless kababayans, I’m sorry to say, will continue to elect these worthless individuals no matter what. A poor guy who gets caught stealing a stale pandesal to satisfy his hunger will be in jail in no time but a powerful politician getting caught stealing millions goes no where and unpunished. Isn’t Pilipinas great?

  6. Fernando Habito says:

    Perry I applaud your report with awe..I am hoping that this kind of information can penetrate to the grass roots level of the electorates. I will not be surprise if upon election of VP Binay in 2016 the next cover and feature reports of TIME magazine is again “The STUPID PHL ELECTORATES”..!

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Anything for notoriety, one of our country’s shining moment was when we made it as of the most corrupt country in the world. I really believe that most of our kababayans will probably eat sh*t if there’s lettuce around it.

  7. Cesar D. Candari MD says:

    Perry, your PeryScope of Binay and the many negative commentaries about his unexplained wealth and the blatant Binay Dynasty are clear facts to conclude that he is not qualified to be President of our beloved country.
    I NEVER like Binay since he was the MMDA chairman under the Estrada administration. My personal story and encounter with his position on November 2000 went like this: It was in mid 2000 that a hot topic about what to do with Metro Manila’s trash problem is under consideration by the Metro Manila Management Authority (MMDA). Remember the Payatas and the Smokey Mountain’s sad stories about their garbage? At that time San Mateo landfill in Rizal province will be closed and Manila’s garbage must be dumped somewhere. No municipality near Manila would agree to be the garbage dump, no matter how much bribe was offered to them. Therefore, the Manila garbage must be dumped elsewhere. It was reported that the Philippine government has earmarked P1 billion to fund the operations of a proposed disposal facility to be operational on January 1, 2001.
    Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) of Jejomar Binay recommended and planned to dump Metro Manila’s garbage on Semirara Island in Antique province. Semirara Island is approximately 300 kilometers away from Manila by air. Located at the northern
end of the province of Antique, it is only two kilometers away from Pandan, Antique, my hometown . As chairman of Pandan Antique Foundation (PAF), I took a strong initiative of protest in open letters to the powers that be in Philippine political leaders.
    What in the world did MMDA chairman Jejomar Binay think of when he considered the province of Antique to be Manila’s dumping site? Does he really think that the Antiquenos are that gullible and he expects them to say nothing about this preposterous decision? I say this is foul!
    It is interesting to note that DMCI-RII Builders Consortium and Waste Action Recycling, Inc. (WAR), the two big companies vying for the contract for dumping of waste, are tipping a fee of P950 per metric ton. We are talking about 2,000 metric tons of garbage to be dumped daily. One can imagine the financial gains these companies will net from the garbage contract that they may be blinded by the money and become indifferent to the many environmental hazards the people in the Antique region will be exposed to. I suspect now Binay already knew how to pocket some millions of money.
    That was big money being considered in this dumpsite project. As professionals who were born and raised in Pandan and now living abroad, we fought hard due the potential of hazardous and toxic run-off, not only is the coral reef threatened, but also so are the fishing and resort industry of the waters surrounding Semirara, Caluya, Sibay, Boracay, and indeed the whole bay of Pandan.
    With the barges in Semirara ready to dump, and because of our strong protests, finally Estrada released the order for the barges to return to Manila.
    That is why, I will never forget how bad Binay is. Only stupid people in Antique will vote for him for President.
    Sorry for this long story. Doc CDC.

  8. Bobby Bagos says:

    No sense losing any sleep over this Doc, our stupid and clueless kababayans will probably do everything they can to put this sorry excuse for a vice president in Malacanang. Just remember that his bosom buddy (Erap) almost made it again when he came in second during the last presidential election, now he’s the mayor of Manila. I guess common no longer exist in our country.

  9. Don Azarias says:

    Perry,

    We could also change the title to read: “Quo vadis, Joji?” (LOL)

    Don

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