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Thursday, October 16, 2014

‘Govt forces’ plotting VP ouster

By JAIME R. PILAPIL

MANILA TIMES
Makati-parking-building-scandalVice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday reminded his critics that only crimes he committed during his term as the country’s second-highest official could be the basis of an impeachment case against him.
Speaking before more than 1,000 Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) lawyers at the Manila Hotel, Binay vowed to do everything to “fight the government forces” that he accused of laying the ground for the impeachment case.
According to him, the case will be ready in two to three months.
He said he will fight the impeachment case supposedly being prepared by the Department of Justice, adding that there is selective justice under the Aquino administration.
Alluding to his possible rivals, who, according to surveys, stand no chance against him in the race to the presidency in 2016, Binay said: “After several weeks of Senate hearings, they [are] yet to produce a resolution. This is all part of the script of ‘Anybody but Binay.’”
The Vice President said a resolution on graft allegations against him is yet to be submitted by a Senate sub-committee to the mother blue ribbon committee before it is tackled at the plenary.
Recalling the struggles he had as a human-rights lawyer, Binay said he is no stranger to attempts to threaten or silence him.
“Hindi ako bagito sa mga pananakot na may dalang puwersa o iba pang pamamaraan. Hinarap ko ang bawat pagsubok noong ako’y bata pa. Hinarap ko ang panghahamak noong human-rights lawyer ako, at hindi ako umatras sa paghihirap na kaalinsabay ng pagsisilbi sa bayan. Sa 28 taon kong paninilbihan sa bayan, dalawang administrasyon na ang nagtangkang patahimikin ako. Ginamit nila ang kanilang kapangyarihan at opisina para i-harass at pasukuin ako. Ngunit dahil nasa panig ko ang katotohanan at ang mamamayan, hindi sila nagtagumpay [I am not new to grave threats and other forms of intimidation. I faced such when I was still very young. I faced those mocking me when I was a human-rights lawyer, and I did not retreat from the hardship while serving the country. In my 28 years of public service, two administrations tried to silence me. They used their power and office to harass me and make me give up. But because truth and the people were on my side, they did not succeed],” he pointed out.
The Vice President helped organize the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism Inc.
“Once again, I am being prosecuted and persecuted by politicians who seem to be fueled more by personal ambition than a search for truth. These actors appear to be more interested in the fulfillment of a script rather than [obtaining] true justice for all men, as protected by the true rule of law. If this is not an injustice that must be fought, I do not know what else is. Four decades ago, I stood alongside men greater than myself to fight for a cause far more noble than any of our legal practices. Today, it seems I am called to once again defend this cause and I will do so with every ounce of vigor I have,” Binay said.
He said the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee is no longer following rules in the conduct of its inquiry into allegations that the Makati City Hall Building 2 was overpriced.
The Vice President called on the public lawyers to always uphold the rule of law.
“In my years of treasuring the mandates our people have entrusted to my care, the rule of law has always been one of my foremost guiding lights. For the rule of law, however, high its bar, remains the ultimate recourse against inconsistency, unpredictability, lawlessness, dissidence, disorder and crime, which are what continue to threaten our aspirations for economic progress and social development,” he said.
“As men and women of the law, it is our duty to safeguard the rule of law by ensuring that it is law and not expediency or personal agenda, that governs all men at all times. Many have risked more than their reputations to see our institutions freed from the encumbrances of selfish rule. It is my honor to stand with you to ensure that these institutions continue to function vibrantly and independently,” Binay added.
Meanwhile, PAO chief Persida Acosta challenged Binay’s critics to file the appropriate criminal charges against the Vice President at the Office of the Ombudsman or at the proper court.
Acosta’s call was seconded by human-rights lawyer Harry Roque, who said senators handling the hearings on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 are wasting government resources even as they push their own political agenda.
The Vice President said the hearings have turned personal because, instead of fighting corruption, they are zeroing in on him.
Binay said Senate probers have been “guiding” their witnesses on what to say against him.

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