Or are the people, once again, left holding an empty bag?
That is the question of many people reading reports of massive withdrawals from Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged 242 bank accounts under his name as well as under the name of his wife former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay and son Junjun, Makati mayor. A number of the accounts are also in the name of his alleged dummies.
The amounts mentioned are mindboggling. In the Inquirer story on the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council which was the basis for the freeze order by the Court of Appeals of suspected Binay accounts, the total amount mentioned is P11 billion since 2008.
From P2.5 million in 1988, his reported net worth when he was first elected mayor of Makati City to having P11 billion today is really mindboggling.
A spectacular increase in 27 years. And to think that the Binays are supposed to be in public service and not known to be in business.
The Inquirer report states: “In the AMLC report, the amounts of P315,467,269.59, P221,436,720, P44,954,005.43 and P49,075,903.14 in cash were deposited in the various accounts of Gerardo Limlingan, Mario Oreta and Bernadette Cezar Portollano on Oct. 14, 2014… The following day, on Oct. 15, 2014, cash deposits totaling P79,621,549.00 were also made to the alleged dummy accounts.
“The AMLC report also showed that between Sept. 12 and Oct. 22, 2014, a total of P585,754,104.86 was withdrawn in over-the-counter transactions from the accounts of Limlingan and Eduviges D. Baloloy, a longtime Binay executive assistant.”
Limlingan, whose whereabouts are unknown as of now, is reportedly Binay’s financial officer. He is also referred as the VP’s “bagman.”
Oreta is the president of property developer Alphaland Corp. which was exposed by former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado as having paid P200 million in kickbacks to Binay for a land deal in Makati involving the property of the Boy Scout of the Philippines, which the Vice President heads. Businessman Roberto Ongpin is Alphaland’s chairman of the board.
Portollano is corporate secretary of Omni Security Investigation and General Services, a security and janitorial services company, and administrator of Binay’s former company, Agrifortuna Inc.
AMLC noted that the withdrawals started when the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee began the investigation into the Makati Parking building overprice last year.
The massive October withdrawals coincided with the Senate hearing on the vast Binay Hacienda in Batangas.
Although it is doubtful if the frozen accounts still hold substantial amounts, it is a danger signal to the Binays. Justice is closing in on them.
Credit should go to Blue Ribbon sub-committee headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and the Sen. Antonio Trillanes III, who initiated the investigation of the Binays’ unexplained wealth.
The two, more so with Trillanes, have antagonized some people with their persistence in looking into irregularities in Makati involving the Binays. But so far, their exposes have been proven correct.
With the devastating AMLAC report and the CA freeze, Trillanes said it’s game over for the Vice President. He expects Binay to withdraw from 2016 presidential race.
I fervently hope he is right. I dread the prospect of having a president that has perfected the art of plunder.