MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Saturday defended Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's probe into allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay even as his allies singled out the official for her "unusual" interest in the case.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace supported the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies for "doing their job" and "carrying out their duty and their mandate under relevant laws."
However, Valte did not say whether or not President Aquino had given De Lima the go-signal to investigate Binay.
"Secretary De Lima and the DOJ are only performing their mandate… It would be difficult if the issue would be that they are not performing their mandate," Valte said on government-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Valte also said that De Lima, as justice secretary, has proven that "she does not work based on personality… [but] based on the facts and circumstances that have been presented."
Binay's allies also criticised De Lima for supposedly dragging President Aquino into the fray after she said that only the Chief Executive could stop her department from investigating the Vice President.
Alter ego Valte defended De Lima, saying the President was De Lima's "direct superior and the secretary of justice is the alter ego of the President."
"Perhaps it was just a nod, instead of Secretary De Lima saying that no one can stop her. Maybe that's just it. If you take those two statements, it was just a nod and an acknowledgment that she is an alter ego of a higher position. I don't think she intended to drag the President into anything," Valte said.
Binay is accused of "systematic corruption" when he was mayor of Makati City by taking kickbacks from city projects.
Binay and his supporters deny the accusations, saying the corruption issue raised against him was merely part of an organised plan to derail his presidential bid in 2016.