Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Sunday urged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to sequester the so-called Hacienda Binay in Batangas and convert it to a drug treatment and rehabilitation facility.
“There are thousands of self-confessed drug dependents who have surrendered to the authorities, but, aside from monitoring, the government has yet to implement a concrete program to ensure that these drug users will not return to their old ways. We do not have a concrete plan, as well as facilities, to rehabilitate them.”? Trillanes said.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado accused then-Vice President Jejomar Binay as the "true owner" of a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas using businessman Antonio Tiu as his dummy.
Mercado was one of the witnesses presented by Trillanes in the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearings on the alleged corruption of the Makati City Hall Building II that expanded to other city projects of the Binays.
Meanwhile, Trillanes proposed to use the illegally-acquired estate for the benefit of the drug users and pushers who will be put to rehabilitation.
“During the hearings conducted by the Senate on the anomalies involving then VP Binay, it was raised that the 350-hectare farm, allegedly owned by VP Binay, was illegally acquired and violated the agrarian reform law. The current administration must immediately act to sequester this land and put it into good use by converting it into a treatment and rehabilitation facility,” he said.
Trillanes added the vast property and its serene environment is an ideal place for drug suspects to turn away from illegal drugs in compliance with the anti-narcotics campaign of the Duterte administration.
"Any serious anti-illegal drug drive should include a rehabilitation program for drug users. We must treat and rehabilitate them, and prepare them for social reintegration.” Trillanes said.
In a statement, Binay's spokesperson Joey Salgado said that the Department of Agrarian Reform had testified that the Batangas property was not owned by the former vice president.
"The senator has apparently forgotten or deliberately ignored the testimony of the former Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary that former VP Binay is not the owner of the Rosario property," Salgado said.
He asked Trillanes to "please stop misleading the public with your lies."
The Office of the Ombudsman filed charges of graft and falsification of public documents against Binay before the Sandiganbayan on Thursday in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati city hall building.
Binay posted bail on Friday amounting to P376,000 for his provisional liberty at the Sandiganbayan Third Division.
Duterte had said that he is planning to put up regional rehabilitation centers for drug dependents.
The police had said that more than 65,000 drug users and pushers nationwide have surrendered since Duterte assumed office after winning the May presidential elections. —ALG, GMA News