The Office of the Vice President (OVP) today expressed “serious concern” over the leak of a private and confidential memorandum sent by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to President Benigno Aquino III more than a year ago, saying it was part of the continuing mudslinging against the vice president and a “calculated attempt” to destroy “the good personal and working relationship” between the two highest officials of the land.
The OVP also voiced fears that certain “personalities and groups” may even be willing to compromise sensitive national security or foreign policy issues in a desperate bid to damage the Vice President’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, said.
Salgado slammed news website Rappler’s disclosure of the Vice President’s private and confidential memorandum to the President dated January 3, 2011, offering advice on the government’s legal strategy on the case of former AFP comptroller Carlos F. Garcia.
“The Vice President’s memorandum touched on a legal case involving the government. There are other confidential documents covering national security, the economy, and foreign relations, among others,” Salgado said.
“Would these personalities and groups compromise national security just to damage the Vice President’s reputation and break the ties that bind the two highest officials of the land?,” he added.
Salgado said Binay was offering his advice as a veteran trial lawyer in an honest effort to help the government secure a conviction. In that memorandum, he said that if the only key evidence of the State in the plunder charge against Garcia is the supposed admission of the ex-general’s wife that he had received lots of cash and other perks from contractors and suppliers, that might not stand in court; thus, the better strategy might be to focus on a lower charge to secure a conviction.
“In his private and confidential memorandum sent more than a year ago, Vice President Binay advised the President on the Garcia case based on his experience as a trial lawyer and what he feels would be in the best interest of government,” Salgado said.
“Rappler failed to mention in their story that the Vice President, in his memo, personally preferred charging Garcia with plunder. But having been a trial lawyer for many years, and having been appraised of the evidence at hand, his instincts told him otherwise. And that is what the Vice President conveyed to the President,” he added
Salgado said although Rappler chose to downplay the angle, the Vice President was eventually proven right when the Sandiganbayan dismissed the plunder charges for insufficient evidence.
“For Rappler to say that the Vice President lobbied for Gen. Garcia is totally reckless, irresponsible and malicious,” he added.
However, Salgado said that more than Rappler’s “tabloidish approach to the story”, the Vice President is more concerned about the leak of his private and confidential memorandum to the President and the motives of those behind it.
He said that the leak is apparently a calculated attempt to break the good personal and working relationship between the President and the Vice President.
“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?,” Salgado said.
“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.#