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Binay meets Aquino, declines Cabinet post

By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:24:00 06/23/2010

Filed Under: Politics, Benigno Aquino III

MANILA, Philippines?(UPDATE 3) Vice president-elect Jejomar ?Jojo? Binay has refused to accept any Cabinet position from the incoming administration ?so as not to burden? President-elect Benigno ?Noynoy? Aquino III.

In a statement after his meeting with Aquino Wednesday, Binay said he declined to accept ?any Cabinet position so as not to burden the President and allow him to focus on the many challenges facing the nation.?

Aquino confirmed that he offered Binay government positions but the outgoing Makati Mayor "declined."

"Several positions were offered but the VP declined assuring us however of his support," Aquino said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

Asked if the local government portfolio was among the posts offered, Aquino said: ?No.?

Binay, who said he first conveyed his message to Aquino Monday evening, has publicly expressed his desire for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) post.

But Binay assured Aquino of his ?friendship and support and readiness to extend any assistance whenever needed.?

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Binay described the meeting as ?social and cordial.?

Asked why the meeting lasted for more than an hour, Binay said: ?E, basta?t social and cordial talagang mahaba ?yan. Pagka hindi social maiksi lang (Since it?s a social and cordial meeting then expect it to be long. If it?s not social then it?s short),? Binay said.

The outgoing Makati mayor also refused to say who initiated the meeting.

?Hindi importante kung sino ang nag-propose. Basta?t kami ay nag-meeting. Ayos na ?yon (It?s not important who proposed the meeting. We met. And that?s it),? he said.

Binay evaded all questions about the Cabinet issue.

Asked if they discussed during the meeting the Cabinet issue, Binay said: ?No. We just had??

Pressed further if he would accept other post in the Aquino administration if offered, the vice president-elect said ?Siguro. Tingnan na lang natin sa mga susunod na araw (Maybe. Let?s see in the coming days).?

Binay?s camp had said that the DILG remained the ?first and only choice? of the Vice President-elect.

But Aquino, in an earlier interview with reporters, said that while he respects Binay?s preference, ?at the end of the day, it's my Cabinet.?

"I'm responsible for how it performs," Aquino said.

"And I think, I should be accorded the right to choose who I want to serve as my alter ego," he said.



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