Binay’s 2 top aides still in PH, says BI
The top two aides of Vice President Jejomar Binay who vanished after being summoned to appear in a Senate inquiry on corruption charges against him are still in the country, the Bureau of Immigration said on Monday.
Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison told reporters he would send Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV a report that according to the bureau’s travel records, Binay’s finance officer Gerardo Limlingan Jr. and his secretary Eduviges Baloloy had not left the country since their last travel abroad in 2003 and 2014, respectively.
Trillanes said in a radio interview on Sunday that he had information from an unspecified “insider” that the two Binay aides had been roaming the world the last six months and that they were being hunted by the International Police.
Mison told reporters he had received clearance from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to report the bureau’s findings to Trillanes.
Baloloy has a very unique first name, Mison said, so it was easy to trace her whereabouts while there were four Gerardo Limlingans in the bureau’s database. But the record of the one born on April 11, 1942—most likely the finance officer—at least showed that he had not gone abroad, Mison said.
Bureau records also showed that Limlingan last traveled abroad 12 years ago. His latest arrival was Oct. 17, 2003. Baloloy’s travel data showed that she arrived in the country on Sept. 6, 2014.
Hold-departure orders have not been issued against the two but they have been placed on a lookout bulletin, Mison said. Inclusion in the bulletin does not necessarily restrict a person from leaving the country but it could cause embarrassment once accosted upon departure, according to the bureau.
De Lima told reporters she had asked the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the possibility that Limlingan and Baloloy left the country through the south.
“We cannot rule out departures via backdoors, like the use of chartered planes, private planes, because that happened in the past in certain cases, so we’re checking,” she said.
Rico Quicho, a Binay spokesperson, said the immigration bureau’s findings showed that Trillanes’ statement over the weekend was again “totally false and malicious.”
He said this was just one of Trillanes’ conspiracy theories to keep the senator in the media spotlight.
Quicho said that Binay had no communication with his two aides for a long time.
Trillanes, who said he would run for Vice President next year, insisted that his informant on the Binay aides was “credible.”
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, said Monday he would summon immigration officials to its next hearing on allegations that Binay amassed ill-gotten wealth when he was mayor of Makati City.
The upcoming hearing is the 22nd in the longest-running Senate investigation on record. The inquiry has been denounced by Binay as nothing more than a move to derail his bid for the presidency and advance the political ambitions of members of Pimentel’s panel—Senators Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano—and other administration stalwarts. Binay has denied wrongdoing.
Pimentel has announced he had requested an audit of the finances of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council under Binay, indicating the hearing could be open-ended. Binay has challenged Pimentel to “man up” (magpakalalaki ka) and bring on the additional charges.
A partial report on the hearing has recommended that Binay be prosecuted for plunder and graft in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, which was constructed while Binay was still the city mayor.
Binay is already under investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman.–With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Jerome Aning
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