President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday said Malacañang will not allow anyone to “manufacture” evidence against Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.
Aquino added that he told Binay that he will be given fair treatment as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) starts to investigate allegations of graft against the Vice President.
“Ang sabi ko sa kanya [I told him], I can assure you [that]you will have all your rights and due processes. We will not countenance anybody manufacturing evidence against you. We will try to keep all the processes on a very professional level,” the President said, recalling what transpired during his meeting with the Vice President last Tuesday.
He added that it would be “improper” for him to castigate Binay, especially since the Vice President has been doing a good job as housing czar.
Aquino credited Binay for running after those who were behind anomalies in the housing sector, including the Globe Asiatique owned by Delfin Lee.
“The past anomalies, he was the one who ran after the people involved. Our commitment of 50,000 plus housing units to the uniformed services, it happened.
When disaster strikes, the NHA is there. Members of the Badjao tribe in Mindanao who said they cannot live far from water, we fond ways to accommodate their concern. So, his assignments he has done,” the President explained his appreciation of Binay’s job performance.
“So after doing his assignments, should I be castigating him? I don’t think that’s proper,” he said.
During their meeting, Aquino said, Binay inquired if he (the President) had been talking to his allies in the Senate to which he replied in the negative.
“I said, please you be the one to ask them is known for being 24 independent republics. So, at the end of the day, that was it, I told the Vice President, the truth will come out, and between the two of us, you will know what the truth is so you will know what will be coming out,” the President narrated.
He said Binay hinted that he may counter the allegations by coming out with “certain issues” but that the President will not be placed in a bad light. Aquino did not elaborate.
“But he assured me that I have his full support as he has committed has not changed until the last day of my mandate,” the President added.
Aquino clarified that the Justice department will only investigate Binay if there is a request from the Office of the Ombudsman.
So far, he noted, there is no formal request from the Ombudsman for the department or the National Bureau of Investigation to come in.
The camp of Binay said the meeting between the President and Vice President was “private.”
“It was after all a meeting between friends. Our understanding is that in the course of the conversation, the President asked the Vice President about his family and the Vice President replied the family is hurting from all the lies and baseless accusations, especially his wife, Dr. Elenita Binay. At this point, the President asked how he can help. It was in this context that the Senate was mentioned in the conversation,” Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman on political concerns, said.
Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado has claimed that Binay benefited from the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2, which was allegedly overpriced.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating the allegations.
Remulla said Binay will not attend the Senate probe despite a survey indicating that 79 percent of respondents want the Vice President to appear before the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee.
“The Senate has prejudged Vice President Jojo Binay. Senator [Antonio] Trillanes has been brash about his prejudgment of the issue and blatant enough to say his objective is to bring down the survey ratings of the Vice President and even send the Vice President to jail,” he noted.
Remulla issued the statementsafter the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said its survey conducted from September 26 to 29 showed 79 percent of 1,200 respondents agreed Binay should face the Senate.
WITH FERNAN MARASIGAN