De Lima: It’s the VP camp’s call
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has denied the claim of conspiracy of Vice President Jejomar Binay of the so-called Oplan (Operation Plan): Stop Nognog in 2016.
To clear the air, de Lima on Wednesday said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will probe the alleged “conspiracy” by administration allies to discredit him if the Binay camp so wishes.
The DOJ chief pointed out that it was her idea to probe the corruption charges against Binay after former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado bared alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall Building 2.
“De Lima said it was the first time for her to hear about the operation plan.
Binay’s camp had said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th are behind a systematic demolition campaign to douse Binay’s 2016 presidential bid.
The Vice President also dragged de Lima into the plan.
De Lima also made clear that President Benigno Aquino 3rd did not instruct her to investigate the Binays.
Meanwhile, a Liberal Party lawmaker is willing to face the Senate to disprove the claims of the Vice President’s camp that LP is hatching a master plan to derail Binay’s run for the presidency in 2016.
Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (Metro Manila) also on Wednesday made the dare in the aftermath of statements from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) linking him to the owner of the chopper that conducted aerial surveillance over Binay’s alleged vast estate in Batangas.
Erice is accused if being behind the aerial surveillance since he knows businessmen Eric Gutierrez and Buddy Zamora, who, like him, have investments in the mining industry.
UNA is the political party led by the Vice President.
“They say, particularly JV, that there is a conspiracy. If they really believe that, why don’t they move to call us before the Senate? Nancy [Binay] is there in the Senate. She can easily call us to appear in a Senate inquiry. We’ll face them because we know that what they are accusing us of are false,” Erice told reporters.
He was referring to Sen. Nancy Binay, a daughter of the Vice President, while JV is lawyer JV Bautista, who serves as UNA spokesman.
“How can they say conspiracy when I have always been vocal that I am against Binay because my advocacy is anti-political dynasty. I am even alone in being vocal against them,” Erice said.
The Caloocan City legislator is referring to his proposed Anti-Dynasty Bill, which prohibits two or more individuals who are related up to the second degree of consanguinity from holding or running for a national or local post in successive, simultaneous or overlapping terms.
Binay’s daughter Nancy is a senator, while Nancy’s sister Abigail is a Makati City representative. Their brother, Erwin “Junjun” Binay, is the mayor of Makati City.
If Erice’s measure was passed into law, it would ban Vice President Binay from running for President in 2016 since Nancy Binay’s Senate term would only expire by 2019.
Binay has always been clear that he has the ambition to become the next Philippine President by 2016 and is now dealing with an array of accusations of massive corruption over the allegedly overpriced P2.2-billion Building 2, as well as reported kickbacks from government infrastructure projects in Makati City and the alleged Batangas property.
Prior to being the Vice President, he served as Makati mayor from 1986 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010.
Erice said Binay should stop blaming the LP for the dip in the latter’s survey ratings, considering that the Vice President has opted to snub the Senate inquiry where he could have presented his counter-arguments.
By skipping the Senate probe, he added, the Vice President is hiding from the public’s judgment.
Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City backed Erice’s stance that the Senate investigation is for unraveling the truth, regardless of the personalities involved.
“It is not about who owns the chopper. It is about the seriousness of the allegations [against]the Vice President that need to be addressed,” Castelo said.
With LLANESCA T. PANTI