The coffin’s last nail: Indicting Binay

By Buddy Gomez

Posted at May 20 2015 11:28 PM | Updated as of May 21 2015 07:28 AM

The inevitable indictment of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and his family for monumental embezzlement of public funds is this nation’s most resonant and eloquent investment, indeed a historic moment, in the conquest of grand larceny in Philippine government. It could very well, finally, spell the true beginning of hopefully bringing graft in government to a level of irrelevant pettiness (for its total eradication is not humanly possible) so as to engender a more meaningful and more effective onslaught against widespread poverty.

Therefore, it behooves the better angels of Philippine society to be at the forefront of this engagement.

L’Affaire Binay has now presented the people with a singular opportunity, a blessed people’s moment, to hold hands, stand up and fight for what is good and right, for what is widely beneficial and sensible. A necessary frame of mind for effective advocacy and political evangelism to the masses has got to be instilled among us, who are the better endowed in material life.

For much too long now has the outcome of our much vaunted of democratic exercises--the elections--been dominated by the blindly enticed and easily ensnared D & E classes, mesmerized by a bagful of rice, waylaid by tins of sardines and some hundred peso bills that do not even last beyond the final canvassing of votes cast. If these most vulnerable of the poor have been making possible the ultimate malevolence in the political leadership that has serially abused and infested Philippine society, have we not participated and induced this malaise simply because we abdicated our civic responsibilities? Do we even realize that this came to pass simply because of how much we have uncaringly stood by while corruption pervades in a daily parade under our very noses? Are we now conscious of it? How much longer can such accultured impunity be tolerated?

Demise of Binay, descent to history

The politically predominating wards of the State, the great unwashed and rabble of the electorate cannot be so numb and so dumb as not to accept that the reality represented by the Binays is that ultimately, they are the very ones being robbed of opportunities for amelioration and betterment. This is the very core of our political evangelism. We can no longer afford to take chances and dismiss L’Affaire Binay as ”pulitika lang ‘yan,” as their vain shrill clarion blares. Politics, as usual! Or, as some ecclesiastical misfits garbed in bishop’s raiments would say, ”everybody does it, anyway! It is far from “political harassment,” as Binay’s camp bleats. No, No. No. It is the long arm of the law, finally! They cry “persecution!” Oh, no, it is payback judicial prosecution!

We deserve to respond vigorously to the nation’s heightening calls for redress, punishment, retribution and justice. Most noteworthy as to be preachable political gospel is that nothing, but nothing ever quite so flagrant in the history of this country has anyone, nay, this one’s own entire family included, been brought to justice for unbridled avarice in the theft of the people’s money.

The composite of instant commentaries to news from responding netizens in cyberspace are really beyond polite capture! Yes, they all confirm that until the Binays, such humongous thievery in untrammeled, shameless fashion was not known to be possible. Yet, now, they are there staring us in the face! The indelible prominence in our lives of this ugly Binay episode is unavoidable and must be consigned to history, for the masses’ maturating edification.

As we now witness the Binays’ descent and demise into history, the validity of the Aquino administration’s moral mantra: “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!” (without corruption, there is no poverty!) does hold water after all. Yet we all know that the war against graft which is, in tandem, also a war against poverty cannot be won within the limits of one or even two Presidential terms. To be realistic about it, it would take a generation. It is a battle that is fought daily over a long stretch of time, without respite, until its moral gains are embedded in the public psyche. That requires continuity and perseverance. That depends upon all of us.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council

The iron-clad craft and integrity of our government’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is very rarely called to action. Unless it is of a scandalously public nature, its staff’s works and processes are pursued unobstrusively, even in stealth. Its findings of probable cause, when divulged, have never been denied public recognition, acceptance and respect (except of course by the unrepentant and vociferous subjects of the investigation). In the instance of the Binays, the Court of Appeals has already officially acquiesced with AMLC’s findings of probable cause, a decision now made public causing extreme discomfort to the unrepentantly cocky Binays.

The AMLC’s leadership is composed of the Bangko Sentral's Governor as chairman of the council, with the Insurance commissioner and the chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission as members. Their mandate is to act as one, to be always in unanimity in the pursuit of its mission and in its decisions.

Perhaps, unbeknownst to the overwhelming majority of Filipinos, (I first came to know of its existence during the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona), our AMLC is a world-class financial intelligence unit created to be an internationally compliant and effective anti-money laundering regime. Without fear or favor, this silent but august body has investigated the Binays and caused the process of their prosecution to begin, a taut noose that is even now ever tightening. Led by the triumvirate whose individual and collective integrity is ‘beyond reproach,’ supported by a professional staff suffused with idealism and rectitude, we do have, after all, a sanctum in our government that is “untouchable!” It is worthwhile to quote further from its vision statement. AMLC seeks to provide the Filipino people with “a sound, dynamic and strong financial system in an environment conducive to the promotion of social justice, political stability and sustainable economic growth.” In truth, in pursuing and prosecuting the Binays, the AMLC is engaged in a patriotic enterprise.

The Indictment

To be precise about it, without quibbling nor equivocating, the conclusion of malevolence and malfeasance in public office of the Binays, by reason of monstrous thievery, has been found to be in possession of that essential legal element known as “probable cause.” It means that there has already been a discovery of specific facts that would lead any reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused has in fact committed a crime. And therefore warrants prosecution. AMLC has confirmed that discovery, presented these to the Court of Appeals, which judicial entity has acknowledged and acquiesced. The yet to-be-celebrated indictment is forthcoming. It is this process that the Binays are moving their hell and earth to thwart.

The incorrigibly arrogant Binays, their merceneraries, sycophants and drumbeaters vainly but desperately demean and impugn the AMLC and its unalterable discoveries as though such grandstanding maneuver can still snatch the culprits from the jaws of impending incarceration. The indictment pronounces Vice President Jejomar C. Binay a moral hazard to the well-being of the Philippines. Binay has already proven himself to be unfit for public office.

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