Palace fires back at Binay over poll cheating accusations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2016 03:59 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2016 02:29 AM

MANILA - Malacañang on Saturday fired back at the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay for claiming that the administration may resort to cheating to help its bets win in the May elections.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary-general JV Bautista on Friday said that the administration has "the capability to cheat by manipulating the vote-counting machines or exploiting the Commission on Elections."

“It’s always a possibility that the Liberal Party (LP) will exploit the flaws of the electronic elections. It is not far-fetched that the party will be using the VCM to manipulate the results of the election,” Bautista added.

He also said the LP has already started cheating by buying votes through the conditional cash transfer program, and lying that Binay will stop this scheme if he wins as president.

In a radio interview Saturday, Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said the Binay camp only made the allegations because it failed to downplay the corruption allegations against the vice president.

Quezon pointed out that the Office of the Sandiganbayan on Friday has formally charged the vice president's son, former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, for graft and falsification of public documents.

The elder Binay is also tagged in the complaints in connection with the allegedly anomalous bidding and construction of the P2.28 billion-Makati City Hall Building II. The criminal complaint against the vice president, an impeachable officer, will be filed after his term expires, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

READ: Ombudsman indicts VP Binay, Junjun for graft

"Of course, the Vice President would say that because nakikita niya naman na habang lumilitaw ang iba't ibang mga ebidensya -- nakita natin ang desisyon ng Ombudsman na ibinalita kahapon about the former mayor of Makati, the son of the Vice President -- na hindi talaga nila maisasantabi o maiilagan ang katotohanan na may mga seryosong alegasyon at hindi ito hinaharap dati at ito ang nangyayari 'pag may masusing imbestigasyon ng isang independiyenteng opisyal at tanggapan, namely the Ombudsman," Quezon said.

The Palace spokesperson added that the Binay camp can easily make the accusation without factual basis.

He added that Binay may have realized that his own political machinery has weakened while administration bet Mar Roxas supposedly gains more support.

"It may be that he (Binay) realizes that his own machinery is not as formidable as he used to boast. It may also be that, as the President mentioned noong nag-Coffee with Media siya sa Los Angeles, as the public opinion -- particularly the beneficiaries of the reforms of Daang Matuwid get their opinions known -- that the tide is turning in favor of the administration candidate and siyempre hindi ito masisikmura ng Bise Presidente bilang pinuno [o] bahagi ng oposisyon," Quezon said.

Quezon also denied that the Ombudsman's findings against Binay is part of a black propaganda headed by the administration.

"Again, that's the only thing he can say because, as you know, the Vice President has been given every opportunity to explain his side and to face the charges against him, but he refused to do it," the official said.

"At the same time, he also knows fully well as a lawyer how the system works-that it is independent, that the Ombudsman takes no sides except the side of the evidence and where it leads. And, therefore, 'yun na lang kumbaga ang makakapitan niyang conspiracy theory para mailagan pa ang talagang konklusyon na hindi niya ma-e-eskapo," he concluded.