The camp of former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo has denied allegations that the former government official was behind a black operation against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Lawyers of the Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia Law Offices (CMT) on Thursday dismissed a report published by The Manila Times that the plot against Binay was hatched in 2010 when Marcelo obtained case records of the Vice President from the Office of the Ombudsman.
Lawyers John Jerico Balisnomo, Miguel Silos, Elmar Galacio and Victor Emmanuel Pangilinan told this paper that Marcelo never secured Binay’s case records from then-Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras Sulit.
“No case records were ever “secured” by [Marcelo] as then-Special Prosecutor Sulit herself admitted under oath in her affidavit dated 02 July 2010. While she claims she prepared these supposed records for ‘pick-up,’ thenSpecial Prosecutor Sulit admitted under oath that [Marcelo] never retrieved these supposed records from her,” the lawyers said.
“If Marcelo were really interested in pursuing the cases against Vice President Binay, and requested… such records, he would have surely sent somebody to get the relevant records since he was not in possession of them. Never having these case records in his possession, it would be impossible for [Marcelo] to start, much more, conduct, any supposed “black operation,” they added.
The lawyers pointed out that Marcelo did not seek copies of Binay’s case records and that Sulit volunteered to give these records to him so that he can evaluate if the case against the Vice President can be refiled.
“In this regard, it would be impossible for [Marcelo] to have even considered the refiling of the cases against Vice President Binay since he had long resigned from the Office of the Ombudsman and had no authority to refile any case in the Sandiganbayan. The Ombudsman at the time was Merceditas Gutierrez. [Marcelo] was already engaged in private practice. More important, it is well-known that [Marcelo] was at odds with then-Ombudsman Gutierrez because she is said to have discontinued the reforms he initiated at the OMB [Office of the Ombudsman] and harassed the OMB officials and employees identified with him, falsely claiming that they were sabotaging the operations of the OMB upon [Marcelo’s] instructions,” they said.
The complaint against Binay, the lawyers added, had nothing to do with the previous case filed against him at the Sandiganbayan.
“This just goes to prove that [Marcelo] could not, and did not, start or conduct any campaign against Vice President Binay using the supposed case records from his former case in the Sandiganbayan,” they said.
“It is lamentable that the current political season has been taken advantage of by some parties to drag [Marcelo] and his colleagues into the controversies surrounding certain candidates. None of the members of CMT are involved in any smear campaign against Vice President Binay, Sen. [Grace] Poe or any political figure. CMT is engaged in the private practice of law and devotes its time to providing strictly professional legal services to its clients. None of the members of CMT are in the business of conducting smear campaigns or ‘black operations,’” the lawyers added.