MANILA - A spokesman of Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said the latest allegations linking the vice-president to a sprawling hacienda in Rosario, Batangas are false.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said structures on the 350-hectare property, including a mansion with resort pool, a horse ranch, a farm for fighting cocks and a 40-car garage, are not owned by the vice-president.
Instead, they are leased by other entities from the Sunchamp Agri-Business Company.
Remulla said the Binays are leasing 9 hectares of the property since 1994. He said the previous owner owned 200 hectares, which then expanded to 350 hectares when the new owner took over.
The spokesman admitted that air coolers were installed in the piggery not because Dra. Elenita Binay did not like the smell of pigs as claimed by Binay's accuser, former Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
He said the air coolers were installed to increase the size of the pigs.
"If you look at the modern piggeries now, they are not airconditioned, they have air coolers. They lower the temperature because it aids the growth of the hogs but it is not an airconditioned facility and it is not meant to keep the flies away," he said in an ANC Headstart.
The spokesman said Binay sold 99% of the shares that he held in the piggery to AgriNurture Inc. in 2010.
He also confirmed Dra. Binay continues to lease 9 hectares of the property, which includes a flower farm where she grows orchids.
"It's a legitimate business. It pays its taxes. Its stated income is in the [Bureau of Internal Revenue]," he said.
Remulla also denied Binay or his son owned a horse ranch in the estate, saying the vice-president has never set foot on the race track.
"He's never bet in his entire life. He doesn't gamble. Neither does Junjun. He breeds dogs. That's his passion," he said.
He said other lessors own the horse ranch, fighting cock farm, 40-car garage, man-made lagoon, aviary and a maze garden.
"This is not part of the Binay property. If it is part of the property, they will surrender it. They will willingly give it up. It is really not part of their property. It is Sunchamp's property."
He also said people only assume the Binays own the entire property because of the piggery.
Remulla challenged Binay's accusers to show documents that would prove the vice-president owns the property.
Even the attempt to link the hacienda to the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 is just "spinning yarn" in an effort to pull down Binay's ratings, he said.
He said the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee owes businessman Antonio Tiu an apology if Tiu is able to prove that the vice-president has no links to the property.
"This is a disservice to Mr. Tiu. How can a listed company be a dummy company?" he said.
For his part, Senator Antonio Trillanes said Tiu makes the perfect dummy for Binay precisely because he is a legitimate businessman. He also believes Tiu would not survive an intense grilling at the Senate.
"I am definite about this. We are standing on solid ground. We have done our spadework," he said.