Lawyers say Binay probe revival politically motivated
Two legal experts on Thursday described as “politically motivated” the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s plan to resume its investigation into the alleged corruption of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family and associates.
The plan to revive the Senate probe against Binay is obvious harassment and has a political motive, said former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez and former University of the Philippines College of Law dean Pacifico Agabin.
The reopening of the investigation might be related to Binay’s recent resurgence in voter preference surveys for President, they said.
Valdez questioned the timing of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s suggestion for the Senate to resume its probe into Binay’s allegedly corrupt activities.
He said the Senate should leave the investigation to the Office of the Ombudsman, which is the body constitutionally mandated to investigate or prosecute erring government officials and employees.
“The Ombudsman can continue [the] investigation. It has broad powers to compel witnesses to testify and compel production of documents, which will more than serve the purpose,” he said in a text message.
“The Senate investigation is purely politically motivated,” Valdez said.
Agabin said at the “timing is suspect,” especially after Binay regained his lead in a number of presidential surveys recently.
“The Senate should stop and just let the Ombudsman do the probing,” he said.
Agabin said the attack on Binay could backfire and work in his favor, benefiting his presidential candidacy. “That will be the public’s perception [that the reopening is related to recent polls], which will just make the Vice President more of an underdog,” he said.
The latest voter preference survey conducted by Pulse Asia last December showed Binay leading the race, followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Miriam Santiago.
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