'Frozen Binay assets can mean plunder'

By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 14 2015 09:12 AM | Updated as of May 14 2015 05:15 PM

MANILA - Vice President Jejomar Binay’s frozen assets amounting to P600 million could mean a plunder case against him, according to his opponents.

Senators said yesterday the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the bank accounts of Binay is a validation of the corruption allegations against the Vice President that the Senate has been investigating.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said the information on the bank deposits held by Binay could be used as evidence to prove that the Vice President committed plunder.

“I’m just curious to find out how his spokesmen would choke on their explanations on this one,” Trillanes added.

Sen. Francis Escudero said the latest developments cannot be taken lightly by the Vice President’s camp and should be addressed squarely by Binay.

“The Court of Appeals has found prima facie (evidence) that there is illegal activity connected to the use of accounts or monetary instruments. This is no longer a simple allegation that can be considered as politically motivated,” Escudero said.

“He should no longer ignore nor sweep this under the rug. Neither should he hide behind the secrecy/confidentiality rules on AMLC/bank deposits. He owes the people nothing less,” he added.

For Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee conducting the hearings on the alleged anomalies involving Binay, the freeze order on the accounts of the Vice President was “a vindication of the correctness and relevance of the subcommittee hearings.”

However, Trillanes believes that Binay, his family, friends and allies covered by the court order have already stashed away a significant amount of funds.

“But they won’t be able to explain why they had that much cash in the first place. More importantly, the account records could be used as evidence to prove plunder,” he added.

Trillanes called on government agencies to move quickly to secure all of the assets held and identified as being owned by Binay and his cohorts. He pointed out that “the cash would be difficult to trace once withdrawn.”

Nancy: AMLC used to harass VP

Sen. Nancy Binay slammed the Aquino administration for using all of its resources, including the AMLC, to harass her father all because of his plan to run for president in next year’s elections.

“It is saddening to know that the different agencies are being used just to prevent our Vice President from continuing to serve our people,” Sen. Binay said in Filipino.

“I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. I guess the other party is trembling in fear because its candidate is not doing well in the surveys,” she added.

Sen. Binay said that her family has anticipated this because from the day her father was proclaimed as Vice President, there were rumblings about a plot to “take out” all of the officials not allied with the administration.

“When my father was proclaimed we were already hearing reports that there are plans to take out JPE (Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile) as Senate president, and then chief justice (Renato) Corona and then take out the Vice President because we all know the Vice President does not belong to the (Liberal) party,” she claimed.

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