Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle

by Inday Espina-Varona, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 18 2015 08:56 PM | Updated as of May 19 2015 08:46 AM

Take away alleged dummy accounts. Take away alleged payments to Canadian market research firms in 2013 and 2014. Take away the excess campaign contributions.

Ranged against his Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN), Vice-President Jejomar Binay's bank deposits and withdrawals, listed in the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report that formed the basis of the May 11 Court of Appeals freeze order, still raise awkward questions.

The SALNs from 2006 to 2013, from his days as mayor of the country’s financial district to his current post as the country’s second highest official, Binay and his wife Elenita, disclosed their cash assets:

Binay Cash Assets
2006 3,293,307.97
2007 1,511,766.49
2008 1,325,195.58
2009 806,000.00
2010 17,000,000.00
2011 21,339,723.79
2012 22,579,259.00
2013 28,783,088.00

Binay’s camp claims the big jump in cash from 2009 to 2010 came from excess campaign contributions and divestment proceeds from JBC Farms, a piggery business in Batangas province.

Binay sold his JBC shares to Agrifortuna, a corporation where he and his wife were among the incorporators in 1992. By 2008, the Binays were dropped from the list of stockholders. His financial officer and alleged bagman, Gerardo S. Limlingan, Jr. assumed as vice president the same year. The corporation’s administrator until 2011 was Lily Herhandez Crystal.

The AMLC report names Limlingan and Crystal as Mr. Binay’s partners in five joint accounts. Its report also lists seven more accounts solely under the name of the Vice President, who insists he only has five accounts.

From 2006 to 2009, most of the Binays’ wealth was in assets, land and real property and business interests.

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 1

By SALN rules, government officials must declare income earned from businesses and interests in stocks and bonds. Up until 2010, the Binays’ SALN looked like that of any middle class family with some land holdings: comfortable but not that liquid. Certainly, not rolling in cash.

But as early as 2008, when he left Agrifortuna, Binay’s joint accounts with Limlingan have moved big amounts of cash.

The AMLC lists transactions in some of the peso accounts. Sans the names of the banks, these are:

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 2

This was the year Binay stepped down as a stock holder of Agrifortuna. If there was a sale of shares to Limlingan, it did not reflect in income earned or cash held by the Binay family.

The amount may seem small compared to the alleged funds shuffled from other Limlingan accounts and those of former aides accused as being Binay’s dummies.

But the sudden movement of money within a span of a month and a half, with no commensurate income to show, needs to be explained by the Vice President. The period falls before the influx of campaign contributions for the 2010 elections.

ELECTION YEAR BONANZA

Two years later, Binay’s cash jumped from less than a million pesos to P17 million. He traced this to the sale of JBC farms to Agrifortuna and P13.5 million in excess campaign contributions.

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 3

If his excess campaign contributions reached P13 million, he would have earned just around P2 million from the piggery farm.

In the following years, Binay-Limlingan joint accounts also showed P10 million moved, either as debit (P2.5 million on May 25, 2011) , credit (P4.1 million, Nov. 20, 2012) or outright withdrawal (P4 million, February 4, 2013.)

The Vice President’s cash in bank had by then breached P20 million. He declared P3 million in receivables in 2011 and P6 million in 2012. By 2013, he listed only P500,000 in receivables. His liabilities for 2011 and 2012 were at P6 million and in 2013, P5.6 million, for a lease-to-own vehicle.

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 4

BURSTS OF CASH

A year after the May 2010 elections, Binay was still moving funds around in his personal accounts, almost always in bursts, including the swift in and out of cash in the same banks within the same day. (See figures in red.)

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 5

The big sums moved around are not commensurate to the Vice President’s salary. By 2011, disclosed family income was just a little over a million pesos.

If after the 2010 elections, Binay thought to put up businesses, he did not disclose this. The only business listed in his SALN is the flower business of his wife, Blooms and Boquets Flower Shop. His declared interest in the venture has been consistently pegged at P4.1 million.

At an average of 44 pesos to a US dollar, the Binay-Limlingan joint dollar accounts sent out around P12.4 million to Canada in the last year. That is almost half of Mr. Binay’s declared cash on hand, which does not give a breakdown of currencies.

Source of Binay personal funds a puzzle 6

In a statement, Binay’s media chief, Joey Salgado, said Synnovate, Synnovate Ltd. and David Rink Consultancies in Canada, the beneficiaries of the funds, are legitimate market research companies and the outbound monies were for services rendered.

ABS-CBNnews.com sent an email to Salgado asking if he was confirming the amounts transferred to Synnovate, Synnovate Ltd. and David Rink Consultancies in Canada, what services the firms provided for Binay, and if the office had official receipts for the payments.

The media office of the vice-president has not replied as of posting.

If the Vice President has been investing in market research for his 2016 presidential campaign, has he been solely using his personal funds?

If there have been any early donors, his 2014 SALN, which is not yet available, should reflect this as income since election season has not started.

Binay has also been quoted as insisting some of the funds that cropped up in the AMLC report came from “income and savings before I joined the government… business that are already decades old.”

But in 1988, Binay only declared a net worth of P2.5 million net worth. If he had other businesses earning income for him all these years, why doesn't his SALN reflect this?