Palace denies gov’t resources used in filming alleged Binay ranch

By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo

MANILA: Who financed the helicopter ride that allowed detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay to film a 350-hectare farm in Batangas? Not Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday denied allegations that Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II or any government official was backing those accusing Binay of corruption.

“We are not aware of any moves by anyone in government. We are not using government resources as to how these are being revealed,” he said during a televised briefing.

“We can say categorically that we are not involved in any way,” he added.

He said it was the first time that they saw the aerial video, which was presented before the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Wednesday morning.

The video showed a 350-hectare property allegedly owned by the Binay family. Among the structures shown in the video were a maze garden, a mansion and a horse ranch.

Lacierda declined to comment on the Senate committee’s decision to discuss the said property during a hearing on the overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.

“As it is the right of the Senate Blue Ribbon to investigate, this is also the right of Vice President Binay and his family to respond to these allegations,” he said.

Lacierda said he was unsure if President Benigno Aquino III was able to watch the video and if the two top officials have discussed the matter.

Lacierda said the last time Aquino and Binay were seen together was when the President returned to the Philippines from his 12-day trip abroad last month.

He said Malacañang was also waiting for the statement of the Binay camp.

“We would like to hold comment right now for now primarily because we have yet to hear the statement that would be coming forth from the camp of Vice President Binay,” he explained.

Lacierda pointed out that Binay earlier said he was open to a lifestyle check.

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