Palace distances from Senate probe vs Binay

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MALACANANG has distanced itself on the corruption issue hounding Vice President Jejomar Binay regarding the alleged overpriced parking building in Makati City.

This was contrary to the Palace's spokespersons attitude when some Cabinet officials, such as Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, were initially dragged into the supposed P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Malacanang spokespersons were immediate in defending and clearing the names of Abad and Alcala into the controversy.

But in the case of Binay, who is concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and presidential adviser on OFW (overseas Filipino workers) concerns, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that it would be up to the Senate to conduct the investigation.

The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee has been investigating the alleged P2.3-billion overpriced car park building of the Makati City Hall whose construction started when Binay was still the mayor of the city.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, a former ally of Binay, during the inquiry on Tuesday, accused the Vice President of getting kickbacks from the project when he was still the mayor. Binay, however, denied the allegation.

"You know, Vice President Binay has spoken in defense of himself and his family, as he is entitled to do so. And the Senate is conducting an investigation as they are entitled to do so likewise. I suppose, at the end of the day, it will be up to the Filipino people to make the judgment. But it's all being played out right now, so let's just observe the proceedings," Lacierda said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

"We do not wish to make any comment because that will be taken either way," he added.

The Palace official also explained that the allegation being hurled against the Vice President allegedly happened when he was still a mayor of Makati and not now that he is a member of President Benigno Aquino III's official family.

Lacierda also said that Aquino has trust and confidence with Binay insofar as being a member of the official family is concerned.

He also denied that the Palace was behind the investigation against Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr.

"We can categorically say that we are not involved in the process—but this is undertaken by another branch of government," he said.

While Binay family is closed to the Aquinos, the Vice President belongs to UNA, an opposition political party. Binay has also openly expressed his intention to run for president in the 2016 elections. (SDR/Sunnex)

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