MANILA, Aug 20 (Mabuhay) – Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Thursday called for a nationwide manhunt against Gerry Limlingan, an aide of Vice President Jejomar Binay who has been missing since the Senate started its hearings on alleged corruption involving the Binays last year.
“Itutuloy natin ang paghahanap para kay Limlingan at gawin na lang natin itong isang national manhunt,” Pimentel said at the start of the hearing as he justified the need to continue the hearings being conducted for a year now.
“Tayo ay nananawagan sa NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP (Philippine National POlice), at sa taumbayan na tulungan ang Senate Sergeant at Arm para po rito sa paghahanap kay Limlingan,” he added.
He said the subcommittee is interested to hear the explanation Limlingan as to why he is everywhere the Vice President is.
“Where in the world is Gerry. Limlingan? According to the Bureau of Immigration, there has been no record of his departure from the country. If he is in the country, why is he hiding rather than defending himself and family’s name? Or is he held against his will and thus unable to come forward?” Pimentel asked.
“We have to find Mr. Gerry Limlingan and hear his testimony before we can even think of terminating our hearing,” he added.
Limlingan’s brother, Victor, who was present at the hearing, was asked where his sibling is, but he too cannot give any information.
He said since Gerry was almost assassinated in March 2010, the latter became security conscious and they had an agreement that whenever Gerry is nowhere to be found, the latter will be the first to take a move to contact his sibling.
“He was actually almost assassinated so there is a security risk for him. It is difficult for me to accept his decision but I have to accept our agreement that he will be the one to call me,” said Victor.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV then asked Victor if he is not worried that he has yet to contact his brother. Victor said he is, but he will not take the initiative to look for him.
Nonetheless, Victor admitted he is not sure if his brother is still alive.
“I love my brother, hindi kami nag-aaway. His life is in danger so for me it is okay not to know his whereabouts,” he said.
But Trillanes said that is not the natural emotion of a brother who loves his sibling.
“Baka yung mga suspek nandon din sa same group, baka alam niya kung saan nakabaon ang pera. Let me just say I am not buying that, alam ko alam ninyo ang estado ng kapatid ninyo,” he said.
For his part, NBI Director Virgilio Mendez said they have extended efforts to find Limlingan but to no avail.
“The whole division of intelligence services has been assigned to find him but we regret to inform you that the efforts yielded negative results. We have worked on several informations that reached the office, we sent people to verify but they came home empty. Rest assured that these efforts will be pursued and hope we will have good result on coming days,” he said.
Immigration spokesperson Elaine Tan said they have no new information on Gerry Limlingan.
“No, we don’t have new entry with the name Gerardo Limlingan,” she told the committee.
Binay’s accuser, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, said Gerry Limlingan is the Vice President’s financial aide and alleged dummy in different corporations ever since he was the mayor of Makati City.
Gerry Limlingan is also holding a high position in the alleged corporations of Binay such as Omni Security and JCB Foundation. He was also mentioned in the STI-University of Makati joint venture, transactions in PagIBIG, and allegedly owns lands inside the Rosario, Batangas property which critics of the Vice President claim is Binay’s.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council has also issued a freeze order on the bank accounts of Gerry Limlingan. (MNS)