BACOLOD CITY - Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Thursday refused to speculate on reports that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on him, saying he is not thinking about it.
In an interview after the closing ceremonies of the Boy Scouts Annual National Council Meeting, Binay said he is unsure about the veracity of a Le Monde report that said the NSA spied on him and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas last year.
"You know, I am not totally sure of that. Even if it's true, noong panahong kami ay nagra-rally, I was a human rights lawyer, I was part of the activists at that time. Lagi kaming sinusundan ng kung ano anong spy or whatever. Kahit ngayong napunta na ako sa gobyerno, okay lang 'yun," he told reporters.
He added: "Mahirap namang mag-speculate. Basta I don't mind it."
According to the Le Monde report, the NSA spied on Binay and Roxas for at least a month last year. The newspaper said it contacted both Binay and Roxas for comment but neither responded to the newspaper’s questions.
The Le Monde report was recently published in the blog of ABS-CBN blogger Raissa Robles.
The Le Monde report states that the "addresses" of both officials appeared in an NSA list. It is not clear whether the addresses pertained to their e-mail IP (Internet Protocol) addresses or whether these pertained to mobile metadata.
The article describes Binay as a "cacique". In French, it means a very important person. In Spanish, it means a local political boss. In the Philippines, it means a rich oppressive hacendero.
As for Roxas, Le Monde made this observation: "As a senator he distinguished himself by his militant attitude against the signing of government procurement contracts with Chinese partners, especially in telecommunications."
Both Binay and Roxas are possible candidates the presidency in 2016.