Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao begged the public against prematurely judging Vice President Jejomar Binay saying that Binay is innocent until proven guilty by the courts.
Binay, the standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is facing corruption charges before the Ombudsman.
Binay said the charges are “black propaganda” and “demolition jobs” aimed to derail his presidential bid.
Boxing hero Pacquiao, running for Senator under the UNA ticket in the 2016 election, is the second opposition candidate who defended Binay.
UNA vice presidential candidate Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan earlier said Binay is facing a storm lashing at his integrity in wake of the charges even as the cases are yet to be decided.
The bad press against Binay on the charges of corruption has badly affected the Vice President’s standing in poll surveys that he previously dominated.
Pacquiao said the public should not be “too judgmental” as people facing charges like Binay are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial.
“I hope we Filipinos will not be too judgmental. Our Constitution is explicit about this, Vice President Binay and even those already facing charges are innocent until proven guilty by a competent court,” Pacquiao told reporters after filing his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on Friday, October 16 at the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila.
Pacquiao said due process should be accorded Binay, who is accused of receiving kickbacks from various projects when he was mayor of Makati City.
Days before filing his COC, Pacquiao said he would run under the senatorial slate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte, despite strong public clamor for him to run, however, is not joining the race to Malacanang.
Pacquiao said he decided to join UNA because he and Binay came from humble beginnings.
“We both come from poor families. We both underwent hardships and hunger. But we worked hard to get to where we are now. We both believe we can serve as an inspiration to the poor,” Pacquiao said.