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Palace on Binay probe: Don’t look at us; we’re all observers

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Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Wednesday denied it was behind the series of exposés on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Palace had no prior knowledge of the witnesses who were presented before the Senate subcommittee, whose investigation initially centered on the allegedly overpriced P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II.

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“We can say categorically that we are not involved in any way,” Lacierda told reporters. “We are all observers in these events being played out.”

He also denied that government resources were being used to nail Binay, who has dismissed the allegations and claimed they were all intended to derail his presidential run in 2016.

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“We are not aware of any [such] moves by anyone in government. We are not using government resources as to how these [allegations] are being revealed,” Lacierda said.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado returned to the Senate on Wednesday alleging that Binay owned a 350-hectare estate in Rosario town in Batangas province. He described the property as “Hacienda Binay,” which included three mansions, a pavilion and an air-conditioned piggery.

Lacierda did not say whether the Palace was buying Binay’s explanations considering that the Vice President, who also holds a Cabinet post, is a member of President Aquino’s official family.

But Lacierda noted that Binay had expressed willingness to subject himself to a lifestyle check. “As to the manner of how that lifestyle check will be conducted, we will again also defer to Vice President Binay,” he said.

Binay’s trust and approval ratings plunged 15 percentage points amid allegations of corruption during his term as Makati mayor, based on the latest Pulse Asia survey.

But he remained the most trusted among top government officials with a trust rating of 64 percent even if the figure was down from 79 percent. His approval rating also declined from 81 percent last June to 66 percent last month.

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TAGS: Edwin Lacierda, Ill-gotten wealth, Jejomar Binay, Malacañang, Senate probe
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