MANILA - Vice President Jejomar Binay is not cowed by the recommendation of a special panel of the Office of the Ombudsman to indict him, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and other officials in connection with the allegedly overpriced P2.2-billion Makati City Hall Building 2.
In a statement released Saturday, vice presidential spokesperson for political concerns Atty. Rico Quicho maintained that the complaints against the Binays and their co-accused "have no basis in fact and in law."
"It is unfortunate that the Special Panel created by the Ombudsman has not been forthright in its handling of the Makati City Hall Building 2 investigation," Quicho said.
"It is apparent that there is an unscrupulous group that is trying to condition the minds of the public that the Vice President is guilty of a wrongdoing by mere perception without the benefit of a fair and impartial appreciation of the parties' respective positions. There is absolutely no evidence to show any criminal liability on the part of the Vice President and the other respondents," he added.
He claimed the Ombudsman has already shown its bias against the Binays, citing its issuance of a preventive suspension order against the Makati mayor last March. The suspension was later stopped by the Court of Appeals.
"It cannot be denied that the timing of the Ombudsman's action is geared to discredit the Vice President during this time when the survey firms are about to start with its fieldwork," said Quicho.
Binay, who has long declared his intention to run for president in the 2016 elections, continues to be the front-runner in presidential surveys.
Quicho stressed the Ombudsman must not allow itself to be used by interested groups for political persecution and witch hunt, which, he said, the Senate is doing for those lagging behind presidential preference surveys.
"The Vice President will not be cowed and would intently study his legal options in order to protect his rights while ensuring that the independence of Office of the Ombudsman and that of the judiciary be maintained at all times," he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay said her family expects more issues and cases against them to surface as the 2016 elections near.
"We expect this kasi nga my father has declared his intention to run for a higher office. Eh nakakalungkot lang because sana yung level of campaigning is... yung mga interesado ng tumakbo sana sabihin na lang nila kung ano yung gagawin nilang tulong sa ating mga kababayan instead of ano eh, parang gusto nilang manalo by default," she said.
The senator was in Bacolod City on Saturday to attend the burial of Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano's mother. Montelibano is close to the Binays.
"Kumbaga eliminate yung strongest contender para yung mga nandun sa baba will have a higher chance of winning. A year ago, winarningan naman kami ng ating vice president na kumbaga may bagyo kaming pagdadaanan, parang 'Yolanda' type. We're ready,
but siyempre, tao rin lang naman kami na nasasaktan din," she said. -- With report from Yasmin Pascual-Dormido, ABS-CBN News Negros