Mercado’s US trip suspicious–UNA
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay raised suspicions Friday about the real reason for the “secret departure” of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado to the United States this week.
Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, UNA’s interim president, said he wondered about the reluctance of government agencies, particularly the Department of Justice, to confirm Mercado’s departure.
“Why won’t any government agency confirm to the media that Mr. Mercado left for America on Nov. 18? What are they hiding with his departure?” Tiangco said in a statement.
Mercado, the key whistleblower in the corruption case and allegations of illegal wealth against the Binay family, told dzBB radio on Friday that he left for the United States where he would stay until Nov. 30 to visit family.
He said he asked permission from the justice department, the Ombudsman and the Senate before leaving while under the government’s Witness Protection Program.
But Tiangco said that the reluctance of government agencies like the Bureau of Immigration to confirm Mercado’s departure “apparently substantiates doubts that the probe on Makati is a sham and has been organized to conspire against the Binay family.”
He said he believed that there could be other reasons for Mercado’s undisclosed trip besides visiting his ailing wife.
Tiangco said he understood that Mercado was free to travel as there were no restrictions on his movement. “But what we know is that the WPP must also be informed of his activities whether he’s going to the islands of Palawan or casinos in Las Vegas. Our question is: Did he ask for permission from the WPP to visit family or does he have other reasons to leave?” he said.
“Mercado made a sweeping indictment of major property companies in the Philippines when he testified. He destroyed the names and reputations of these companies. And then after he does this, he leaves for the US to visit family,” Tiangco said.
He said one of the conclusions he could draw from Mercado’s actions is that “he also wanted to escape the outcry and indignation from these respected companies which he eagerly damaged during the hearings.”
Tiangco said members of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee were clearly part of the “whole organized conspiracy to protect Mercado at all costs and to let him continue on spreading lies” against Binay.
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