MANILA - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano lambasted Vice President Jejomar Binay anew for allegedly not directly addressing the issues thrown against him and instead dismissing them as politically motivated.
Speaking to ANC's "Headstart" on Thursday, Cayetano said it is ridiculous that Binay just keeps on saying that the Senate probe on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 was conducted to malign him and his family.
Binay has long expressed his intention to run for president in 2016.
According to Cayetano, if Binay really wants to become the country's next top official, he should face the Senate and prove to the people that he did not commit any wrongdoing in the construction of the 11-storey office and parking building when he was still mayor of Makati.
"Pag nasa pulitika ka, kailangang humarap ka sa publiko pag may issue," Cayetano said.
He said the vice president cannot just use the statement "pulitika lang yan" to excuse himself from answering the allegations.
"Hindi ba ridiculous na? Can you imagine me, tanungin mo ako about any issue. Tanungin mo ako about ghost employees, tanungin mo ako about whatever -- anong hair product ang ginagamit ko, bakit ganito kulay ko. Sasabihin ko sayo 'Pulitika lang yan.'"
"Pag gabi-gabi late ka umuwi tapos may lipstick ka dito (points at cheek), sinabi ng asawa mo 'Saan ka galing, bakit ka may lipstick?' Sabihin mo 'Darling, pulitika lang yan. Sinisiraan lang ako ng kalaban ko dahil mataas ako sa survey,'" Cayetano said.
"Kailan tayo magtatanong, 2016 pa?... Hihintayin mo pa pag eleksyon na? Eh di pag eleksyon na lalong sasabihin na 'pulitika lang yan kasi leading na ako,'" he added.
'POPULAR OR RIGHT?'
The senator said Binay, who has consistently received majority trust and approval ratings since he was elected vice president in 2010, should face his accusers at the Senate even if this may result to a decrease in his ratings.
"Do you want to be popular? Or do you want to do the right thing?... You mean kung ako umabot ng 30 o 40 percent, hindi na ako magpapakita sa inyo? Kung may issue sa Taguig hindi na ako sasagot?" Cayetano said.
"Kasama ko, kapit bisig kami ni dating Mayor ngayon Vice President Binay nung sinabi kay GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo), 'Sumagot ka,' nung sinabi namin kay Garci (Virgilio Garcillano), 'Lumabas ka sumagot ka,' nung sinabi namin kay Jocjoc Bolante, 'Sumagot ka.' Bakit ngayong siya na baliktad na?" he added.
He noted that back in 2009, former Vice President Noli de Castro attended two Senate probes to clear some issues he was linked to.
This was despite de Castro having over 50-percent approval and trust ratings, he said.
"He had everything to lose. But what did he tell himself? 'Ako chairman ng HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council), ako vice president. Sa madla humaharap ako sa TV. Ngayon naman na may nagtatanong sa akin, hindi ako haharap?'"
A VOLKSWAGEN, NOT A BENZ
Cayetano said based on their investigation, the Makati City Hall Building 2, which is the subject of a plunder complaint against Binay, his son Junjun and several other Makati officials, was overpriced by around P1 billion or about P40,000 per square meter.
He stressed that the building did not in any way appear to be "green" or "world-class" as earlier claimed by the Binays.
He even likened the building to an old Volkswagen, which he said should not be compared to a brand new Mercedes Benz.
He noted that some luxury condominiums in Makati City were even constructed way cheaper than the Makati City office and parking building.
He said a quick inspection of the building showed that the parking gate was not working, and the walls were dirty. The plumbing fixtures on the parking area's ceiling were also exposed, he added.
According to the senator, who has also expressed intention to run for president, he is not conducting the investigation just to bring down Binay and his family.
"I will do this again and again and again whether I'm running for president, I'm running for councilor, whether I'm not in government. Every government one cent is our money and it should not be wasted," Cayetano said.