Vice President says AMLAC report wrong, decries lies by foes
MANILA (via PhilAmPress) – The Court of Appeals has frozen 242 bank accounts and insurance policies belonging to Vice President Jejomar Binay, his wife former Mayor Elenita Binay, his son Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and close associates who are suspected to be his dummies.
It was gathered that the accounts frozen involved a total of P600 million. There were reports transactions examined by the Anti-Money Laundering Council covered some P18 billion since 2008.
The Binay camp immediately bewailed the release by critics and political opponents of the AMLC report allegedly to advance their “political ends”, claiming they may have violated the confidentiality of
the report which, at that time was they said to be still one-sided because their side were not considered.
Binay said the CA was apparently misled into stating that he had 242 bank accounts when the report would mention only his name in at least five accounts.
Binay also stood firm on his position that all his documents on his personal and family income and properties are in order in filings with different agencies of the government. He said he can explain everything that he has, adding that nothing was ill-gotten as alleged by his opponents.
“You have manghuhulas not only in the Senate. You can find them in the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC),” Binay said in an official statement. “With the leakage of the AMLAC report, it is clear that my detractors are willing to violate the law in their bid to destroy me.”
“The law prohibits the release of the AMLAC report. For one, it is one-sided. The report does not include our response to the findings. And I tell you, the AMLAC is wrong,” Binay stressed.
“I do not have 242 accounts. Only five accounts included in the freeze order are under my name. And all the funds in these five accounts were acquired legally. They are not hidden wealth. AMLAC is really wrong,” he said.
Binay said: “The AMLAC claims that my government salary is my only source of funds and it does not match the amounts in my bank accounts. This is not true.”
“My accounts include income and savings before I joined the government. We also have businesses that are already decades old. We pay taxes. Even legal campaign contributions, which have been reported to the Comelec, were described as ill-gotten by AMLAC. AMLAC is again wrong,” the second highest government leader stressed.
“AMLAC even included the bank accounts that have already been closed. AMLAC is definitely wrong,” he pointed out. “ They make it appear that the 237 accounts and transactions of other individuals are mine. This is simply not true and is just made up. Again, AMLAC is wrong.”
“The release of the AMLAC report is truly a part of the conspiracy to destroy me because of the 2016 elections,” the Vice President stressed.
Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado earlier alleged that the AMLC investigation is connected to the 2016 national elections.
“This is all about the 2016 presidential election. This is all about unleashing the agencies of government to harass and malign the Vice President in the hope- however dim – that the LP’s presumptive candidate will benefit from the demolition campaign,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III denied that the Liberal Party (LP) was involved in the freezing of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s bank accounts. In a radio interview, Aquino said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which reported that the accounts of Binay and his alleged dummies amounted to P11 billion, is an independent agency.
“‘‘Yung AMLC report, siyempre ‘di ba, ‘yung korte siguro may karapatan diyan, at saka ‘yung council meron sila ‘nung report nila. Pero ‘di ba independent body rin ‘yan,” Aquino said.
Aquino also denied that he has seen the AMLC report.
LP leaders headed by Senate President Franklin Drilon also denied that the party had part in the issuance of the freeze order against the Binays and alleged allies and dummies.
In a 33-page decision by the CA’s First Division, the appellate court granted the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, which is looking into Binay’s financial transactions and individuals and entities being linked to him and his family.
The CA gave weight to the AMLC’s investigation that found probable cause to link the individual and joint bank accounts of the Vice President, Gerry Limlingan, Ebeng Baloloy, Antonio Tiu, some members of the Chong family, some companies linked to the Binay family, and Binay’s former close ally who turned his accuser, former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
Others covered by the freeze order are James Tiu, Ann Loraine Tiu, Eduviges Baloloy, Francisco Baloloy, Daniel Certeza Subido, Lily Crystal, Carmelita Palo Galvan, Bernadette Cezar Portollano, Mitzi Sedillo
Several others with links to the Binays are covered in the order.
The freeze order also covers companies being linked to them, including Greenergy Holdings Inc., Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., and Earthright Holdings.
Atty. Rico Quicho, Binay spokesman, said the malicious leakage of the purported Court of Appeals order by Ernesto Mercado to the media is another blatant attempt to engage the Vice President in trial by publicity and to deprive him of his right to due process provided by the Constitution.
“ It is also an indirect way to pressure and preempt the independence of the courts, which would eventually decide on the controversy. Moreover, this is again geared to condition the minds of the people by maligning the reputation of the Vice President because his detractors have again failed to produce proof to back up their charges in the Senate and before the Ombudsman,” he said.
Quicho added “This is plain and simple character assassination by means of peddling lies through media releases that come from polluted source. In the end, the rule of law will prevail over these unjust and irresponsible attacks against the Vice President. The Vice President will squarely address and clearly refute these baseless accusations and would triumph in a fair, independent and impartial trial on the merits before a competent tribunal.”
The legal counsel of Vice President Binay blasted reports that made it appear that the Vice President owns all of the 242 bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies being investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC).
Atty. Claro Certeza also clarified that out of 242 accounts, only five mentioned the name of Vice President Binay.
“It is an outright lie to say or make it appear that Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has 242 accounts as reported in media. Even based on the purported copy of the Freeze Order being circulated by Ernesto Mercado, there are only 5 accounts that mentioned the name of Vice President Binay,” Certeza said.
“It is clear that the intent of this perception game is not to hold people accountable or to find the truth but to malign the reputation of Vice President Binay, as part of his opponents’ orchestrated campaign for the May 2016 Elections,” he added.
Certeza noted how the Freeze Order can be easily taken out of context and that ex parte freeze order proceedings are deemed confidential in order to protect the name and reputation of concerned parties.
“It is regrettable that the strict confidentiality of a proceeding involving an Ex Parte Petition for a Freeze Order is being brazenly violated. It is very easy to take a Freeze Order out of context in order to destroy the name and reputation of a person because a Freeze Order is issued based solely on the representations of AMLAC,” he said.
“The respondents are not yet given the opportunity to be heard. It is for this reason that, according to the law and the congressional deliberations, ex parte freeze order proceedings must be strictly confidential, with those violating the confidentiality rule being liable for contempt as well as criminal prosecution,” Certeza added.
Certeza also noted how the AMLAC “misled the Court of Appeals” by deliberately omitting and concealing several details about Binay’s bank accounts.
“It is apparent from the purported copy of the Freeze Order that the AMLAC deliberately misled the Court of Appeals by omitting the fact that Vice President Binay received campaign contributions in the amount of P231 Million and incurred expenses in the amount of P218 Million through his designated banks accounts which were all duly reported in his Statement of Campaign Contributions and Expenses filed with the COMELEC,” he said.
“The AMLAC was also not truthful with the Court of Appeals because it deliberately concealed the fact that Vice President Binay and his wife were earning additional income from their respective businesses in addition to the Vice President’s salary. All these information were duly reported in the Income Tax Returns of the Vice President that span for almost 3 decades and on file with the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” Certeza added.
The CA concurred with the AMLC and found probably cause that these bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies were “related to unlawful activities.”
The CA based its order on the AMLC petition that the statements of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALNs) of the Binays and Mercado did not reflect their bank accounts and other transactions.
“The SALNs of VP Vinay and his wife Elenita, Mayor Junjun Binay, Eduviges Baloloy and Ernesto Mercado show their respective net worth from 2007-2013 to be disproportionate to the values, frequency and complexity of their banking and other transactions,” the freeze order said.
The AMLC’s probe arose out of the Senate hearings on the supposed overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
“After review of the facts and circumstances as alleged in the verified petition and its corresponding annexes, this Court agrees with the AMLC that there is probable cause to believe that the individual and joint bank accounts of, investments made by, and insurance policies issued to VP Binay, Mayor Junjun Binay, Limlingan, Baloloy, Tiu, Chong, Mercado, Greenergy, Sunchamp, Earthright, Millenium, and OMNI are related to unlawful activities,” the order said.
According to the CA, the bank accounts of the Vice President, his wife Elenita, Mayor Binay, and other Makati officials involved the case, contained amounts that were inconsistent with those they declared in their respective statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
The camp of Binay earlier said it cannot confirm reports of a supposed freeze order on the bank accounts of the Vice President and members of his family since court proceedings are deemed highly confidential.
Salgado pointed out that such report is deemed classified to protect the name and reputation of concerned parties.
“There is good reason for the confidentiality clause: the party which is the subject of the inquiry has not yet given his or her response. The intention is to protect innocent parties from the damage to their name and reputation,” he added.
Salgado said it will not surprise them if such order and the AMLAC report have already been leaked to the media by the Vice President’s political opponents.
“This is after all a perception game that they are playing. Their intention is to taint the good name of Vice President Binay,” he said, adding that they will not be surprised if AMLAC is involved in the conspiracy to malign the Vice President and his family.
Salgado said that since Binay declared his intention to run for president, LP has been hell-bent on damaging his reputation.
“The Liberal Party has been obsessed with attacking the Vice President. The LP has been aggressively harnessing government resources and agencies against the Vice President and his family ever since he declared his intention to run for President in 2016. The AMLAC is apparently one of these agencies,” he said.
Salgado lamented LP’s abuse of the Anti-Money Laundering Act for political gains.
“What is unfortunate is that the intent of the Anti-Money Laundering Act has been subverted by politics. The Act was signed into law to prevent the use of the Philippines as a haven for laundering money from drugs, terrorism and other unlawful acts. Today, it is a tool to harass and taint the reputation of political enemies of the LP,” he said.
“We can expect the LP and their allies to misrepresent the Vice President’s bank accounts, which are all reflected and reported in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and Statement of Election Expenses.”
“But what’s worst is that even the bank accounts of his friends and other persons mentioned in the Senate hearings will most likely be falsely represented as “dummy” accounts,” he added.
Salgado said the Vice President is ready to face any issue his detractors will hurl against him and prepared to present evidences to disprove their claims.
“The Vice President is prepared to face this issue. The records and documents will prove that the AMLAC report – which will serve as the basis for a freeze order – is baseless,” he said.
“This is not about justice or corruption. It is such a hollow and hypocritical claim when LP members have been linked to high-profile acts of corruption but remain untouched by the Ombudsman and other investigative agencies.
“This is all about the 2016 presidential election. This is all about unleashing the agencies of government to harass and malign the Vice President in the hope- however dim – that the LP’s presumptive candidate will benefit from the demolition campaign,” he added.
Binay and several others are facing criminal charges before the Ombudsman and investigation by a Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee in connection with the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School, and an allegedly disadvantageous land deal between the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Alphaland.