DAVAO CITY: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday admitted that he has no personal knowledge of the veracity of allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, but said it is important to know the truth.
Aquino, who attended the launch of the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Program, when asked by reporters on the Senate inquiry into the allegedly anomalous construction of the multi-billion Makati City Hall Building 2.
The President said like ordinary Filipinos, he is primarily relying on media reports to monitor developments on the inquiry.
Binay, who has been topping pre-election surveys, has denied the allegations against him and insisted that the probe was a political demolition, not an investigation in aid of legislation.
“At the end of the day, the truth will set us all free. Now, do I have
knowledge of the veracity of the accusations against the Vice President? I don’t have personal knowledge,” Aquino said.
“The information I have now, I rely primarily on what the media has been putting out in the papers. I have nothing to add at this point in time as to the truth or falsehood of the accusations against the Vice President,” he added.
The Senate has opened a probe of alleged overpricing of the building even as a plunder case was already filed against Binay and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.
Meanwhile, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza prefer an impeachment case against the Vice President instead of subjecting him to the Senate inquiry.
“I heard Senator Nancy Binay saying that it would be better to stop the Senate investigation and challenged the accusers to file an impeachment case instead,” Salceda told a media forum in Manila also on Monday.
“Impeachment will give a proper closure to the allegations,” he said.
Atienza, who also attended the forum, also urged critics of the Vice President to file an impeachment case against him.
“They better file an impeachment case or file graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a guest at the forum, said the committee invited Binay to attend the hearing to air his side but the Vice President reportedly refused.
“Since the Vice President does not want to answer, he would be compelled to explain once the case is sent to the Office of the Ombudsman or at the [House of Representatives] if an impeachment complaint is filed [against him],” Atienza said.
The former Manila mayor added that the Senate probe only benefits Cayetano who already made known his intention to run for President in 2016.
“The senators are actually prosecuting the Binays,” Atienza said.
Binay had claimed the allegations against him and his family are politically motivated.