De Lima orders probe of VP, family

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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday officially stepped into the case involving Vice President Jejomar Binay when she ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) toto investigate the graft allegations against the Vice President and some members of his family, their alleged dummies and cohorts.

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Under the law, only the Office of the Ombudsman has the authority to investigate government officials in cases related to their office.

But in the Binay case, de Lima maintained that her agency can conduct a parallel probe.

“The NBI will be creating a team for this case. In fact, [the creation of a]a very dedicated team has begun. [It is being completed by the] NBI. I have met with  [NBI Director Virgilio Mendez], [the bureau will be assigned to probe the allegations]. We will be doing this investigation as a sort of parallel investigation,” the Justice chief said.

De Lima  made the disclosure after meeting with former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, lawyer Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso 3rd, who alleged that Binay benefited from the construction of  Makati City Hall Building 2 and various projects when the now-Vice President was mayor of Makati City and that he owns a vast estate in Batangas.

She said the NBI’s findings would still be reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The DOJ chief denied that she is part of a conspiracy to weaken Binay’s candidacy in 2016.
“If there is such an Oplan [Operation Plan: Stop Binay] I am not part of it. This [probe]is my own decision. I will only stop if the President tells me to stop,” she said.

The camp of Binay, however , said de Lima is part of the plot.

Despite the DOJ chief’s order, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesperson on political concerns, said the Vice President remains committed to his work.

“It is a sad day when even the DOJ [Department of Justice] is part of the political circus,” Remulla noted.

“The Vice President will remain focused on the job given to him by the President concerning housing for the poor and the overseas Filipino workers,” he said.

JV Bautista, interim secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance, said de Lima may face disbarment if she pursues the investigation against the Vice President.

The DOJ chief  “is certainly courting a lawsuit for her abusive and unlawful acts. Perhaps another disbarment case will knock some sense into her head,” Bautista added.

“The DOJ clearly has no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation over any impeachable official. That power belongs exclusively to the Ombudsman. De Lima should read her Administrative Code and the Ombudsman Law to understand this very basic rule on exclusive jurisdiction,” he said.

Bautista pointed out that neither President Benigno Aquino 3rd nor the Ombudsman gave orders to the DOJ to investigate  the allegations against the Vice President.

“Why is she initiating the investigation motu propio? There is no order or instruction from the President, nor is there any request from the Ombudsman. There is also no formal complaint before her office to give her any justification to initiate a criminal investigation,” he said.

“De Lima is an over-eager political wannabe bureaucrat with no jurisdiction to investigate the Vice President. She belongs to the executive branch of government. The Vice President, therefore, is her superior and she is not possessed with power or authority to order an investigation [of]her superior, in the same manner that she cannot order [an]investigation [of]the President,” Bautista added.

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7 Comments

  1. rick bernabe,capt. usaf retired on

    binay can be and will be prosecuted like john gotti the teflon MAFIA don who evaded justice for so long until the FBI got hold of Gotti’s clean up guy Sammy the bull gravano. another lawyer yesterday explained like spiro agnew the vice president of nixon,who was thrown in jail for corruption,binay will suffer the same fate.

    filipinos should be thankful we have true to earth junior officers in the magdalo group who will sacrifice their life and family’s welfare for the filipino people.

    those naysayers and binay supporters especially those in the makati city hall/binays gravy train your luxurious and ostentatious lifestyle is about to end.you are all corrupt”and the poor filipinos should really take you and down for good…..and for the good of the nation”
    .

  2. Mr.13%VP Binay is going to jail walang lusot.MILF is a terror group,NO to Bangsamoro terrorist government.Scrap autonomous regions only one country.

  3. De Lima should stick with investigations and prosecutions on PDAF, DAP, The Gas Fund, etc. that represent very large amounts of money diverted to politicians pockets. The political attack should be left to the Senate’s 3 man kangaroo court. You will be soiling the reputation of the DOJ by engaging in political attacks. You will be diverting government resources and money to purely political aims.

  4. ATTY. DABS MAMA-O on

    The prudent course is for the Department of Justice to defer to the proceedings against the Binays including VP Binay before the Ombudsman rather than force a Constitutional confrontation over the DOJ investigation.The Vice-President is under the Executive Department.The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that the convicted impeachable officials of the government including the Vice-President shall be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment according to law. It is very clear then under the fundamental law of our country that the intention for this law is to provide for criminal prosecution after impeachment. Impeachment involves check and balance. It gives an equal branch of government, the Legislative Department, to exercise its own responsibilities ( charges of impeachment are initiated in the House of Representatives and the trial in the House of the Senate). The President controls all the executive departments including the Department of Justice. The Executive Department cannot just come in and initiate the investigation of the Vice-President, who is with the Executive Department if there is no authority from the Legislative Department. There must be legislation enabling the Secretary of Justice to conduct the investigation of VP Binay with the power to recommend impeachment to Congress. If there is no authorizing statute, the Secretary of Justice is encroaching on the sole power of the House of Representatives. The allegations against VP Binay were not committed in his capacity as Vice-President of the Philippines but as former Mayor of the City of Makati; so if these are the impeachment charges, the House of Representatives may not even be constitutionally obligated to conduct an investigation against VP Binay. We should allow the impeachment system, criminal system, separation of powers and checks and balance to function in its normal way. The Constitution is the only law that can unite the entire Filipino nation.

  5. I salute you Mr. Canlas for at least mentioning a news item about the Binays. I just don’t know are most of your Manila Times colleagues are so afraid to mention or comment on the Binays’ corruption. Don’t they have the guts and balls to at least mention or make objective comments about the corruptions of Binay. Were they paid or just afraid of the powerful (more powerful than GOD???? To the Binays, Beware of God’s WRATH if you are lying) Binays. How powerful are they?

    • Tama ka pedro penduko, hindi sila takot kundi, sa akin paniwala, ay bayaran lahat sila kaya walang sinasabi masama kay NAYBI, o baka naman may panganko si Binay sa kanila na kapag na upo na sya sa Malascanag aapoint nya sila Ambassador at Press Secretary, na sa aking paningin ay palabo ng palabo na si Binay gaya ng nangyari kay Manny Villar nuon 2010, di ba Erwin?

    • Kayo naman, oo. Dahil ba may ebidensiya ay guilty na?

      Pero ang nakakatawa ay nuong sabihin ni Bise Binay na sabi daw ng Konstitusyon ay hindi siya puwedeng i-impeach sa krimen na nagawa niya nuong siya ay mayor ng Makati. Heh heh heh… nananaginip ata.