‘Dud’ wasn’t from VP | Inquirer Opinion

‘Dud’ wasn’t from VP

/ 12:04 AM March 13, 2014

We would like to assure commentary writer Edilberto C. de Jesus and Inquirer readers that Vice President Jejomar C. Binay never used the word “dud” to describe the affidavit of Ruby Tuason (“Politically motivated,” Opinion, 3/1/14).

The word doesn’t appear in the transcript of the Vice President’s interview. It was never used in the quotes attributed to the Vice President. Did someone take liberties with the copy? I leave that to the Inquirer editors.

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The Vice President was reacting not to the Tuason affidavit but to statements from the Department of Justice that she will be a state witness in the government’s case against those implicated in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

From his experience as a human rights lawyer and as a trial lawyer, the Vice President simply wanted to remind the Department of Justice that only the courts can decide on this matter. Certain requirements must also be met, mainly that the person being eyed as a state witness is not the most guilty. This is the challenge for the DOJ. They need to convince the courts first about Tuason’s viability as a state witness. It would also mean admitting to the courts that the evidence of the government is weak, thereby the need for a state witness. Vice President Binay is concerned that this could send the wrong signals. Is the DOJ conceding that they need Tuason as a state witness because its case is weak?

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At any rate, the Vice President had a talk with Secretary Leila de Lima on this issue during a Cabinet meeting. The secretary apologized to the Vice President for the remarks she made over the nonexistent “dud” statement.

Lastly, there has been of late wild speculation about the fate of the PDAF case—and the senators implicated in the case—should Vice President Binay become president in 2016.

Allow us to reiterate that the Vice President fully supports the Aquino administration’s reform agenda. Likewise, he believes that the pursuit of reform must be in accordance with the processes required by law.

Should Vice President Binay become president in 2016, the reform agenda, most especially the campaign for greater public accountability, will be pursued vigorously. Political allies who are found guilty by the courts of involvement in the PDAF scam and other irregularities will have to face the consequences of their actions. They should not expect and they will not receive leniency or favorable treatment under a Binay presidency.

At the same time, political opponents charged with criminal offenses will be accorded due process as provided for under the Constitution. Their rights will be fully respected and they will not be subjected to trial by publicity. A Binay presidency will never use the resources of government to harass, intimidate or persecute political opponents. As a human rights lawyer who fought the Marcos dictatorship, a President Binay will always respect the rule of law, the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary.

—JOSELITO SJ SALGADO,

spokesperson and head,

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Media Affairs Division,

Office of the Vice President

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TAGS: Dud, Jejomar Binay, Letters to the Editor, opinion, Ruby Tuason
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