NBI ready to probe Binay accuser – De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will investigate former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado if there’s a complaint or evidence against him, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday.
“Well, open naman kami. You know, anyone naman na mag approach sa NBI at magpakita ng ebidensya, obligasyon po ng NBI na imbestigahan din. Ganun po yun. Wala naman po kaming pinipili,” she told reporters in an interview at the Senate when asked to comment on the United Nationalist’s (UNA) allegations that Mercado owned several properties and that he used dummies to hide his wealth.
But De Lima said they have yet to see whether the allegations against Mercado were “honest-to-goodness” or political demolition jobs.
The former vice mayor is the prime witness in the ongoing investigation by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on the allegedly anomalous projects in Makati City involving then city mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay. He is now under the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) on the request of the subcommittee.
As whether the allegations against Mercado could cost his credibility, De Lima said that on the contrary, this could further bolster his testimonies made before the subcommittee.
“Remember the former vice mayor is precisely a whistleblower. Ito ngang mga testimonies nya, admission against interests so natural lang yun na meron talaga dyan na madidiskubre na mga irregularities or anomalies na attributed to him,” De Lima said.
“Now will that affect his credibility? That should be, at this point, we can’t say kasi precisely whistleblower nga kaya nga ang whistle lower, ibang klaseng witness kasi alam nila yung mga pangyayari kasi they were once part of the anomalies, of the irregularities, and in that sense, that makes them more credible because they know what they are talking about,” she said.
De Lima pointed out that when the former vice mayor testified before the subcommittee, he made admission against interest by saying he was part of the alleged anomalies and that he knew what he was talking about because he was once part of it.
“So that enhances his credibility pero tingnan natin lahat yan, yung mga supposed involvement din ni former vice mayor,” she said.