MANILA, Oct 14 (Mabuhay) – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday said the pieces of evidence the National Bureau of Investigation could gather may be used to initiate an impeachment complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Depende kung ma-validate at makakalap ng sapat na ebidensya na sinusuportahan at corroborate ang akusasyon o alegasyon ni former Vice Mayor [Ernesto] Mercado,” De Lima said on whether Binay could be impeached using the evidence the NBI could gather.
Mercado earlier testified before a Senate inquiry that Binay benefited from the alleged overpricing of the P2.7-billion Makati City Hall Building II, which was built during his incumbency as Makati mayor.
He added that Binay had received a 13-percent kickback for every contract the city government entered into during his mayoralty.
Mercado also alleged that Binay was the owner of a 350-hectare farm in Rosario, Batangas as well as mansions in Tagaytay City.
“Depende if ma-verify and ma-back up with sufficient evidence (that would determine if the acts) would constitute an impeachable offense,” said De Lima.
She, however, said that it was not for the Department of Justice to determine whether the allegations against Binay fall under impeachable offenses such as culpable violation of te Constitution, high graft and corruption, or betrayal of public trust.
“Hindi kami ang magsasabi kung iyan ay impeacheable offense kasi dadaan ulit iyan sa Ombudsman,” De Lima said.
“Ano man ang maging resulta ng NBI… obligasyon namin na i-forward iyan sa Ombudsman for its own appropriate action,” she added.
De Lima said the DOJ couldn’t initiate impeachment proceedings, adding that only the House of Representatives or a third party could do so.
“Ang Ombudsman, however, has the power to recommend the initiation of an impeachment proceeding,” De Lima said.
The P2.7-billion parking building was allegedly overpriced by P1.314 billion, according to the complaint filed by Bondal and Enciso against the Binay and his son Mayor Junjun Binay before the Office of the Ombudsman.
De Lima had earlier opened the possibility of the NBI stepping in to help the Senate in further investigating Binay, saying the vice president was not immune to anh government probe and suit.
De Lima was set to personally sit down with the whistleblowers against Binay to know other details that they have not yet revealed in an ongoing Senate probe on Binay and his family.
De Lima stressed that the NBI can investigate “motu proprio”or on its own “sensitive issues” even without a formal complaint being lodged before the bureau. (MNS)