Palace mum on leaked Binay memo

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2012 03:57 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2012 07:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Palace spokesman on Thursday gave no comment on reports that Vice-President Jejomar Binay allegedly lobbied with President Aquino to approve the plea bargain of former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said he did not know that Binay wrote a letter to the President in January last year.

He said the President already made his position clear about Garcia, saying the government has a strong case against the former military comptroller who is accused of salting away more than P300 million in military funds.

Garcia avoided conviction on plunder charges by entering into a plea bargain with the previous Ombudsman in which he offered to return to the state P135 million. He was jailed last September on the basis of his court martial conviction.

On Thursday, the Office of the Vice-President expressed “serious concern” over the leak of Binay's memo, noting that certain personalities and groups may be willing to compromise sensitive national security or foreign policy issues in a desperate bid to smear Binay’s name.

“Are there personalities and groups so insecure of the Vice President’s long-standing relationship with the President that they would disclose confidential government documents to sabotage this relationship?” the Vice President’s spokesperson, Joey Salgado, asked.

Salgado said the leak is apparently a calculated attempt to break the personal and working relationship between the President and the Vice President.

He noted that Binay also submitted other confidential documents covering national security, the economy, and foreign relations, among others.
 “We now ask - are the Vice President’s other memos to the President which are private and confidential now fair game for those who intend to put the Vice President in bad light?” he asked.
“There are rules governing the handling and disclosure of confidential documents. There are penalties for the disclosure of such documents. But it seems that those who leaked the Vice President’s memo could care less. They would flaunt the rules to push their selfish political agenda. And that is what worries the Vice President,” he added.