Cayetano eyes new probe vs Binay

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 06 2015 04:38 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2015 12:58 AM

MANILA – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said Vice President Jejomar Binay must be investigated over a new set of corruption allegations, this time involving the Pag-IBIG Fund.

Speaking to dzMM, Cayetano echoed claims by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that Binay, as concurrent chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and chairman of Pag-IBIG Fund, struck anomalous deals with favored housing project contractors in order to pocket public funds.

''May binabantayan talaga kaming mga kontratista. Parang lumalabas si VP Binay parang anay eh. Kung makakita ng kahoy, di maka-resist,'' Cayetano said.

''Kung saan man siya departamentong nandoon, mayroong mga favored na kontratista, tapos ang presyo nag-iiba din. So dapat man lang matignan iyon at masagot."

Cayetano said the new allegations against the vice-president may need a separate investigation as the current Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee probe on Binay, which will resume on January 22, tackles the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School Building.

Pag-IBIG decries being dragged into the controversy

Binay's camp said the vice-president can easily disprove the allegations through the reforms that he has introduced to the agencies under his office.

In a statement, Pag-IBIG Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe clarified that her agency does not award projects or deal with contractors.

"We work hard to earn the trust of our 14.6 million members. Please do not sully the good name of Pag-IBIG Fund with baseless allegations of an anomaly," Berberabe said.

"To say that we favor contractors in awarding housing projects is simply false because we do not award projects, nor do we deal with contractors. It is unfortunate that an allegation which discredits the integrity of Pag-IBIG Fund is made, but the basis is not provided. When you do your work professionally, and regard principles of fairness and integrity with the highest standard, it is most disheartening to be dragged into an alleged anomaly that has no basis.''

Berberabe said after the Globe Asiatique fiasco, Pag-IBIG introduced reforms, including the lifting of the authority previously granted to developers to approve home loans, and the strict implementation of the procedure where Pag-IBIG personally validates the identity and capacity to pay of each of its housing loan borrowers.

She said the supposed reforms improved the integrity of Pag-IBIG's portfolio. She said in the third quarter of 2014, Pag-IBIG's net income already reached P13.09 billion.

“Pag-IBIG would not have been able to achieve and maintain its robust financial standing and credit P10.1 billion worth of dividends to its members in 2013, the highest in the Fund’s history, if the allegations of shady deals are true,” she said.

Aside from the alleged anomalies in Makati City, where his son Junjun is the incumbent mayor, the vice-president is also accused of hiding a sprawling estate in Batangas and several condominium units using dummies.