MANILA, Philippines ? Standing by their bond as ?brods,? Vice President Jejomar Binay and other members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity expressed full support for a fellow member tagged as a suspect in the bar exams explosion last September, saying they believed his protestations of innocence.
"You can see it in his eyes," said former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello, himself an APO member.
Binay, who joined the fraternity when he was still a student at the University of the Philippines, personally accompanied Anthony Nepomuceno to the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila on Wednesday.
Nepomuceno, 27, was identified by at least four witnesses as the man who lobbed the grenade at the crowd that gathered outside the De La Salle University on the last day of the bar examinations.
Speaking with reporters, Binay said he believed the suspect?s claims that he had nothing to do with the incident.
The Vice President said he immediately met with their fraternity?s ?council of elders? on Tuesday night after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told him that an APO member had been identified as the possible perpetrator of the grenade attack.
?He [Nepomuceno] said he had no participation. I spoke with him this morning. We talked as brods,? Binay said.
?Our job as part of council of elders is to present the suspect as requested by Secretary De Lima,? he added.
Former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello, himself an APO member, also joined the group of fraternity members who went to the NBI to show their support for Nepomuceno.
Bello said he was ?morally convinced? that his brod was innocent of the accusations, saying Nepomuceno was buying a pair of shoes in Marikina City when the explosion occurred.
?Vice President Binay and I spoke to our brod. He was very emotional. He cried heavily. He denied that he was in the area when the explosion happened,? Bello said.
According to the former justice secretary, a group of lawyers ? all APO members ? had volunteered to help Nepomuceno in his legal defense.
?In my experience as a lawyer and former justice secretary? I can tell that he was telling the truth. You can see it in his eyes.?
Just the same, he said the fraternity assured De Lima that they would cooperate with the investigation and that they would not protect members who committed a crime.
?We will bring [Nepomuceno] to the NBI or the DoJ if ever they ask him to,? Bello said.