An official of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Friday dismissed an order of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate Vice President Jejomar Binay and members of his family as “a fishing expedition in aid of publicity.”
On Thursday, de Lima ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into graft allegations against the Binays and their associates who they are allegedly using as dummies.
UNA interim president and spokesperson Tobias Tiangco linked the probe to de Lima’s alleged ambition to run for the Senate in 2016.
“De Lima is probably thinking, why let the current senator-inquisitors [Alan] Cayetano and [Antonio] Trillanes [4th], who are milking the free media coverage to advance their political ambitions, have all the media mileage?” he said in a statement.
“We would have expected better behavior from any regular lawyer, let alone the Secretary of Justice. Is it really that important to her to get into [Manuel Roxas 2nd’s] senatorial ticket in 2016?” Tiangco added.
UNA said de Lima should stop name-dropping President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“She should stop name-dropping the President to cover up for her unlawful actions against the Vice President. Huwag nya nang idamay si Presidente at maraming pinoproblema yun [She should not drag the President because he already has a lot of problems],” Tiangco said.
UNA was “aghast” at what it described as de Lima’s arrogance and “seeming ignorance or lack of regard for the law,” he added.
Under the law, only the Office of the Ombudsman has the authority to investigate government officials in cases related to their office.
But de Lima maintained that her agency can carry out a parallel probe and that the NBI’s findings would still be reviewed by the anti-graft body.
She said she will only stop if the President tells her to.
Tiangco said de Lima has put Aquino “on the spot” because people will think the President has ordered her not to pursue investigation of “involvement” of Liberal Party officials and members in several issues.
“The public cannot help but conclude that it was the President who ordered a stop to the investigation of the $30-million extort try involving MRT 3 [Metro Rail Transit 3] officials during the watch of [Roxas] as Transportation secretary, or the involvement of Liberal Party members in the PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] scam,” he added.
Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, lawyer Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso 3rd alleged that Binay benefited from the construction of Makati City Hall Building 2 and various projects when he was mayor of Makati City and that he owns a vast estate in Batangas.