Philippine vice president quits cabinet amid graft probes

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2015 7:18 AM

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is running for president next year, has resigned from the cabinet in a break with President Benigno Aquino as he is investigated for corruption.

Binay is being probed by the Ombudsman's office for alleged corrupt practices while serving as mayor of the financial district of Makati in the capital Manila.

He was mayor for two decades and his approval and trust ratings remain the highest among the country's top five national officials, beating Aquino, according to a survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia released on Monday.

But his ranking in surveys for possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election fell to second place for the first time this month, according to Pulse Asia and another pollster, Social Weather Stations.

"This is voluntary and there is nothing that can change his mind," Mar-Len Abigail Binay, Jejomar Binay's daughter and a member of the House of Representatives, said in a radio interview, adding her father was "very tired" of not being able to fight the accusations.

Allies of Aquino in the Senate have been steering months-long probes into allegations of kickbacks, ill-gotten wealth, bid rigging and money laundering against Binay, his son who is the current Makati City mayor, and his business associates.

(Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Nick Macfie)