MANILA, Philippines – Instead of pushing through on Monday with his previously announced speech to address several allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay ducked out instead to visit areas affected by Typhoon “Luis.”
Binay flew to Cagayan on Monday morning before heading to Isabela to survey the damage to the provinces.
A statement on Binay’s official website read: “The vice president thinks that while there is an appropriate time to respond to the issues, the need to alleviate the suffering of typhoon survivors cannot wait. The vice president wants to reassure the people of Cagayan and Isabela that their government is ready to assist them,” the statement said.
The speech, which the Vice President will deliver from the Philippine International Convention Center has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 18, at 2.
Meanwhile, protesters from Makati City staged a rally on Wednesday near the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel in Pasay City, where the Vice President was attending a mining conference. The demonstrators demanded that Binay stop politicking and finally face the allegations against him.
“We are challenging the [Vice President] to face the blue ribbon committee,” said Jhasper Cuayzon, spokesman for the youth arm of United Makati against Corruption (Umac).
Cuayzon added that rather than answering the allegations in via different press conferences , Binay should say his piece at the Senate, the “proper venue” for him to defend himself.
“It’s his chance to air his side,” Cuayzon said.
The youth spokesperson stressed that Binay should answer the accusations against him “point by point” and “not deviate, as he did before.”
To the demands of the protestor’s, Binay simply said: “That’s their right to rally.”
Binay, who served as Makati City mayor for three terms before being voted into the vice presidency, has been accused by former Makati City officials of corruption. Allegations include the overpricing of city projects and buildings, and the receipt of kickbacks, among others.
The allegations are now under investigation by a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III. The weightiest of the charges against Binay are the purported overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II and the alleged cut of 13-percent Binay receives of the cost of all development projects in Makati City for the release of mayor’s permits.
A plunder complaint has also been filed with the Ombudsman’s office by the ex-city officials against Binay and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, relative to the allegations.