NBI starts probe of graft raps vs Binay
MANILA, Philippines–A top-level team of the National Bureau of Investigation has been quietly looking into allegations of corruption and ill-gotten wealth against Vice President Jejomar Binay while he was Makati City mayor and is expected to turn in an initial report by end of the month, the Inquirer learned on Wednesday.
Tapped to conduct the investigation were NBI Director Medardo de Lemos, Deputy Director for Intelligence Jose Doloiras, Assistant Regional Director Rachel Angeles, and Executive Officer Rene Garbo of the antifraud division.
An NBI source who requested anonymity said the team had interviewed witnesses and gathered evidence in a discreet fashion “to give the Office of the Vice President due respect.”
The inquiry began last week and “marathon” interviews and meetings had been conducted since.
The source declined to say who the witnesses were but said some of them had appeared in the hearings of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee. Witnesses who had personal knowledge of transactions with Makati officials have been asked to execute affidavits, the source said.
The team will also request transcripts of proceedings in the Senate for comparison with its interviews.
The NBI investigation covers the alleged overpriced buildings and the 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas province, said to be owned by Binay, who has denied any wrongdoing.
“The team is expected to turn in a progress report by the end of the month,” the source said.
The bureau will also invite personalities linked to the Vice President, including Binay associates Gerry Limlingan, Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy and Laureano Gregorio. The three businessmen, said to be dummies of Binay, have not been found so far.
“These people will be invited in the light of the investigation,” the source said.
Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, the principal whistle-blower against Binay, had met with the NBI team at least twice for several hours, the source said.