My, my, my.... How times have definitely changed! The wheel of fortune has definitely turned on its axle and now the accused has become the accuser.
There was a time when Vice President Jejomar Binay's political future seemed severely threatened by the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Now that the wheels of fortune has turned, Binay may as well be in a position to see if Gloria can take what she had dished out to him.
As ever, politics in the Philippines are in flux. The beleaguered and scandal-hit administration of President Arroyo (which has also faced a coup attempt this year) has been accused of seeking to remove unsympathetic mayors in the run-up to the May 2007 congressional and municipal elections. In addition to banning all 'unauthorised' demonstrations under a presidential decree, in October 2006 the Department of Interior and Local Government issued a suspension from office for Binay and several senior officials following an accusation of false accounting at city hall, a charge resisted by Binay, who secured a 60-day appeal against the order in the courts.
Binay and his family, as well as hundreds of supporters, holed themselves up in his city hall office in anticipation of forced removal and possible arrest and even the country's military were warned to remain impartial in the dispute (Binay is also a marines colonel in the reservist forces). Following the court's revocation of the government's order, thousands of supporters took to the streets of Manila to demonstrate their approval of the mayor, who is also backed by former presidents Aquino and Estrada, though the Arroyo administration remain determined that Binay will be suspended from office as part of its efforts to eradicate local corruption.
In October 2006, Binay was suspended from office following claims of 'ghost employees' on the city payroll by the former vice mayor. It was claimed this action was part of a government-sponsored drive to root out corruption ahead of next year's local elections but critics claimed it was designed to distract attention from the government's own scandals around vote-rigging and to neuter opposition-held mayoralties. The suspension was temporarily lifted less than one week later by the courts but remains active and sought by the government.
Now, he is facing tax evasion charges filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Binay allegedly failed to remit the taxes withheld from Makati City Hall employees' income. The amount involved is pegged at One Billion Pesos. Binay has yet to explain what happened to this amount.
Of date, the Bureau Of Internal Revenue has issued a Writ of Garnishment freezing Makati City assets and those belonging personally to Binay.
Binay is also one of the co-respondents, among whom was his own wife, in corruption charges pending before the Office of the Ombudsman due to the supposed "Rockwell Bridge Scandal"Beyond these stories, there still is a lot of barbershop talk about how Binay is one of the biggest land owners in Makati and how that came to be is the subject of other stories which has Binay asking developers in the Premier City for units in exchange for the speedy approval of construction permits and licenses.
Well, now that the shoe is on the other foot, one wonders what wonders will happen.
The HLURB is the agency that gives out permits to developers. The NHA basically tends to the housing needs of informal settlers or squatters. The HGC, NHMFC, and Pag-IBIG Fund basically finance and insure low cost housing projects.