COCONUT PALACE, Pasay City – Vice President Jejomar Binay has decried what he described as stepping up of a demolition job against him in what could be a preparation for the 2013 national elections and the 2016 presidential elections.
He declined to name those responsible for what his leaders suspect as a conspiracy to remove him from office before the year ends.
“So, iyang demolition, sa Disyembre mawawala na daw ako, hindi ko alam kung anong ibig sabihin ng mawawala,” he said.
The demolition job comes at a time when Binay continues to top the popularity ratings of government officials. His ratings are higher than the of President Benigno Aquino III whose ratings continue to decline.
Binay on Tuesday admitted the possibility that impeachment may be part of the campaign to oust him.
Binay said he had expected the dirty tactics when he admitted he may run for President in 2016.
He said he was prepared for both political and legal battles.
At a press conference, Binay reacted to reports that Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit (COA) had formed a task force to revisit his projects in Makati while he was mayor for several years. He described the move as plain harassment.
The nation’s number two official said he was dismayed by the moves of Mendoza because he had answered questions on his projects as mayor and was cleared in all instances.
“Ayoko nang sagutin iyan [I don’t want to reply to that], Binay said when asked if his attackers come from Malacanang, but, addressing reporters added, in Filipino, “all I can tell you is the reports keep getting to me. So as for that demolition job [against me], the information is that I’ll be gone from the scene by December. I don’t know what exactly that [mawawala] means.”
Binay was pressed by a reporter, “As in tatanggalin sa pwesto [removal from office], sir?”
He replied, “Hindi ko alam ano’ng ibig sabihin ng mawawala na ako, e.”
The reporter followed up, “impeachment din ba [does that include impeachment], sir?” And Binay replied, “Baka [maybe]” then laughed, adding, “so let’s wait and see.”
Binay defeated President Benigno Aquino III’s running mate, former senator Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party president and now the Transportation and Communications Secretary, in the 2010 elections, but Roxas filed an electoral protest.
It was gathered that one of his projects which is being probed is the Makati Friendship Suites, which was built for the city’s informal settlers but was later converted into a hostel.
“The timing of the Makati Friendship Suites audit is disturbing,” said Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesman. “And we feel strongly that the real target of the audit is the Vice President himself.”
The audit of the Makati Friendship Suites was based on an anonymous letter, Salgado said in a statement.
“These programs and projects have all passed reviews and audits conducted in the past by resident auditors and special audit teams, especially during the term of Mrs. Arroyo when the VP headed the United Opposition,” Salgado said.
Salgado added that Binay’s camp “also received information that a first round of review showed that the programs and projects were all above board and complied with all legal requirements, which is consistent with the earlier findings.”
“We would like to remind Commissioner Mendoza that our personal opinions should not color our work or professional judgment, especially in such a politically-sensitive office,” Salgado said.
“Apparently, the demolition has begun and the actions of Ms. Mendoza seem to be part of the plan. It saddens the Vice President that until now, there are some elements who will misuse government resources to persecute perceived political enemies,” Salgado said.
Sources said it was Mendoza who, as COA auditor, had provided a report prodding the Ombudsman to sue Binay’s wife Elenita in another case when she served as mayor for three years. The Sandiganbayan threw out the Ombudsman’s indictment because the complaint was fatally flawed, sources added.