Has Jojo reached his Waterloo?

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Happier days:  Binay and Cory Aquino

Happier days: Binay and Cory Aquino

Twenty-nine years after he rode the coattails of then President Cory Aquino in the People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay came close to achieving his boyhood dream of becoming president of the Philippines. Indeed, his election to the vice presidency in 2010 brought him a heartbeat away from the presidency.

And now, he’s just one election away from reaching the pinnacle of his life. And after carefully choreographing every move since he took over the vice presidency, Jojo’s popularity among the people – particularly the poor – reached a level never before matched by any elected official including President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III.

Coconut Palace

Coconut Palace

Aquino visits Binay at the Coconut Palace

Aquino visits Binay at the Coconut Palace

Some might say that Jojo’s popularity was the result of his “hard work” as the Housing Czar in P-Noy’s administration, an appointment he sought after he failed to get the plum job of Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). P-Noy gave him all the perks he wanted including a palace – the “Coconut Palace” – to reign over his domain. When Jojo asked for a P200-million pork barrel – the first time for a vice president – P-Noy gladly gave it to him. But that was a bad deal because that was the year the pork barrel scam was exposed, which implicated some of Jojo’s allies in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), notably then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Lord of Makati

Lord-of-Makati.2In 2001, a lengthy article was published in Newsbreak that exposed Binay’s corrupt practices while he was serving as mayor of Makati City. Titled “The Lord of Makati,” the article began as follows: “In less than a decade, Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay, former chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and former mayor of Makati, accumulated at least P80 million worth of real estate properties in Makati and Batangas, which he kept undeclared, our investigation shows. The amount excludes P12 million in declared investments, as well as other businesses that he and his friends reportedly control through dummy corporations.

“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.”

Denial, denial, denial

Binay-Dynasty.2Binay denied those allegations and went about bandying himself as pro-poor champion. No amount of accusations would stick to his teflon-coated persona. He just kept on denying those allegations, saying that these were works of his political enemies. His popularity continued to soar. He was on top of the world, lording over a political landscape that he developed and nurtured during the past three decades. He built a network – nay, an empire! — by establishing “sister city” relationship between Makati City and more than 500 local government units (LGUs) — provincial, city, and municipal governments. He also kept close contacts with his Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity brothers. And for the past 20 years, he had positioned himself as the President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines whose membership could be his bridge to a large segment of voters.

Indeed, he was ready to take over the national government. All that separates him from his boyhood dream was the 2016 presidential elections. He was ready for the biggest fight of his life and he felt confident – nay, very confident – about it that he’s already acting as if he had won the election. Yes, fate destined him to be the leader of his people. And then, in a reversal of fate — just a year away from his crowning moment — Jojo’s world turned upside down!

Freeze order

Binay and Eduviges "Ebeng" Baloloy

Binay and Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy

On May 11, 2015, the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a freeze order on 242 bank accounts and insurance policies belonging to Binay and his family, as well as individuals suspected of being dummies of Jojo including his long-time financial officer Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan Jr. and personal secretary Eduviges D. Baloloy. The freeze order was issued upon a petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) after finding probable cause with AMLC’s petition, which was the result of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ order to examine the Binays’ bank accounts last February. The freeze also ordered the banks to immediately — within 24 hours – report the balances of the bank accounts.

Binay-freeze-orderAccording to the AMLC report, Binay, his son Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr., and his alleged dummies had deposited at least P11 billion since 2008. On October 14, 2014 alone, more than P600 million were deposited in several accounts of Gerardo Limlingan Jr., Mario Oreta, and Bernadette Cezar Potollano. The following day, October 15, cash deposits totaling almost P80 million were made to their accounts.

The AMLC report also showed that between September 12 and October 22, 2014, more than P585 million was withdrawn on over-the-counter transactions from the bank accounts of Limlingan and Baloloy. Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearings identified Limlingan as the person who allegedly received kickbacks for Jojo when he was the Mayor of Makati City.

The AMLC report indicated that Limlingan, Baloloy, and other persons associated with Jojo had made “massive withdrawals of funds and pretermination of investments” soon after the subcommittee conducted hearings on the alleged overpriced Makati City parking building in October 2014.

The AMLC report also indicated that between August 26 and November 26, 2014, more than P900 million in securities under the names of Limlingan and Baloloy were sold. And between September and December 2014, more than P1.1 billion was transferred from their two accounts to another account. And between August 20 and January 2015, the report also showed that more than P3.3 billion was withdrawn from the accounts of Binay, Limlingan, and Baloloy.

According to the AMLC report, Limlingan’s Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) – whose monthly income was P30,000 – were disproportionate to the values, frequency and complexity of his banking transactions.

Where is Limlingan?

Binay and Gerry Limlingan (Credit: The Equalizer)

Binay and Gerry Limlingan (Credit: The Equalizer)

It is interesting to note that Limlingan transferred P2 billion in a single day in September 2010 during the time that Binay was campaigning for vice president. But since then, Limlingan had vanished from public view. Recently, GMA News made repeated attempts to contact Limlingan at the Vistamar Building in Makati where he reportedly resides, but the building’s security guard said that he had left as early as 2010. Makati City Hall also denied that Limlingan was an employee. And the Office of the Vice President also denied that Limlingan was connected with it. So, where is Limlingan?

Binay-nooseDuring a press interview last April 2015, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said that they spent months looking for Limlingan. There is no Bureau of Immigration record that shows Limlingan had left the country so he was presumed to be in the country… hiding. “They are hiding him well, hopefully not six feet underground yet,” Trillanes said. He said that if Jojo really believed that he was clean, he should bring Limlingan to the Senate; which begs the question: Is hiding Limlingan indicative that his testimony before the Senate subcommittee could hurt Jojo’s presidential ambitions?  But unless Jojo produces Limlingan, the conventional wisdom is that Jojo has “unexplained wealth,” which by Philippine law would make him guilty of corruption. Has Jojo reached his Waterloo?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


10 Responses. Have your say.

  1. philip says:

    What an objective masterpiece as only Perry can write? What an apt picture, too, with the hangman’s noose waiting for his neck? Next stop is a palatial “kubol”, not Malacanang. The die-nasty died prematurely. Too smart and wily for his own good.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      If somehow this crooked family survive the onslaught of accusations from their former colleagues and wins the presidency, then all I can say is woe is us. Our beloved Pilipinas will really be thrown back into the stone age. All indication of being guilty are so obvious and if he really want to clear his name, then man up of prove your innocence, but that’s probably not likely to happen. Boy, isn’t our country great?

  2. Juan Patriot says:

    The banks that willingly accepted this suspicious transactions should also be made accountable. Aren’t they supposed to tell AMLC when these deposits were made? They looked the other way as the money flowed toward their vaults.

  3. Mar Bisaya says:

    Perry this is quite a great revelation. But historically nothing is going to happen. He will survive and the “masa” will probably elect him President. Hopefully, not as our poor Pilipinas will go deeper into the hole without ever getting out for many years.

  4. Don Azarias says:

    “Has Jojo reached his Waterloo?”—Perry Diaz

    Perry,

    Even if Jojo Binay had reached his Waterloo, the vast majority of those clueless Filipino voters will help him turn his defeat into victory. They simply never learn and will never learn.

    Congratulations on a great perspective, as always.

    Don

    • philip says:

      The next SWS survey will give us a clue. If he is still the frontrunner, then Filipinos deserve his dynasty. The only hope is if he is ordered arrested early enough by the Sandigan.

      • Bobby Bagos says:

        I’m afraid you’re right Phillip, if the latest survey will show that Binay is still ahead of everyone else, then all I can say is that our kababayans deserves to have their clueless asses reamed by the this sorry excuse of a man.

  5. Fernando Habito says:

    Perry… the transcripts that you have reported was the process how VP Binay will practice the KLEPTOCRACY FORM of government that he crafted and learned in h 28 yrs as politician. .May this report light up the sleepy or closed minds of the many electorate/voters in the 2016 Preidential election. I appreciate your brilliant naratives..Thank you so much.

  6. philman a. says:

    can there be a stronger evidence of wrongdoing than those hundreds of millions in the banks? not in two lifetimes of limlingan and baloloy can they make that much. kawawa ang bansa natin.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      I keep describing our kababayans as clueless because that’s what they really are. Even if a poisonous snake is about to bite their silly ass all they can think about is Eat Bulaga and those stupid shows on TV that does nothing but exploit their idiotic lives. Even if Binay got caught with his hands in a cookie jar they will still vote for him, that’s how clueless these people really are.

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