Replacing Aquino with Binay: ‘It’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire’
Video by Cathy Miranda/INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines—Replacing President Aquino with Vice President Jejomar Binay is like “jumping from the frying pan into the fire because Binay is widely distrusted as corrupt,” said a lawmaker allied with Aquino.
“The President may have made a bad decision but it was not impeachable behavior,” said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.
“On resignation, his source of legitimacy is he was democratically elected by the people. We can’t have people deposed by the ups and downs of people’s emotions, no matter how justified these are, or by the ups and downs of opinion polls,” Bello said.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said groups calling for the resignation or impeachment of Aquino were advocates of Binay.
“I sincerely pray for them because they know not what they are doing. If you want P-Noy to resign, then you want Binay. It’s that simple,” said Erice, a member of the administration Liberal Party.
Both Erice and Bello reckoned that Binay appeared to have taken advantage of the President’s situation in the aftermath of the deaths of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) by adding fuel to the fire fanned by his critics.
Erice said that the Vice President probably realized he had no chance of winning an election after his alleged corrupt practices had been uncovered, which was why he was moving heaven and earth to unseat the President.
“The Vice President has been coming out with self-serving proposals to create a scenario in which he will take over. He wants the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) to handle the Mamasapano probe but everybody knows the IBP is his partner in his medical missions,” said Erice.
“I have asked him before to stop rowing on two rivers. Make a choice. Are you for the President or against him? You can’t have it both ways.”
Bello said: “Binay appears to be taking advantage of the crisis to advance to the presidency. Out of respect for the Fallen 44 (police commandos) and their families, he should refrain from converting their loss into a presidential springboard.”
Members of the Makabayan bloc were evasive when asked to acknowledge that Binay would be the beneficiary should the President step down, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said:
“Whoever will replace him (Aquino), that will be the decision of the people. We should not take a position based on who will take over. Our position is the President has sinned and he should be made to pay.”
Colmenares noted that his group also faced questions on “consequential morality” during the previous administration when militant groups also called for the resignation and pushed for the impeachment of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo despite the public’s aversion over her replacement, then Vice President Noli de Castro.
Colmenares said Makabayan’s call to seek the resignation of the President was not a knee-jerk reaction or was meant to favor anybody.
“Our only consideration is for the public’s interest for the President not to remain in office a day longer, otherwise, we will suffer a repeat of the Edca (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) and Mamasapano,” Colmenares said in a press briefing.
Aside from resignation, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the President could still be kicked out of office through the pending impeachment complaint in the House of Representatives.
While the House justice committee has rejected the impeachment complaint the Makabayan bloc filed in August last year, it has yet to be dismissed with finality in plenary.
Tinio said the impeachment complaint just needed a one-third vote of House members in order to carry it to the Senate for trial.
The Makabayan bloc, which includes Bayan Muna and ACT Teachers, was confident that the basis for the impeachment’s rejection had changed after the decision of the Supreme Court reaffirming the unconstitutionality of the DAP and the ineptitude of the President as Commander in Chief that led to the death of 44 police commandos.
If the President does not resign or does not get impeached, Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said he could still be kicked out of office through extraconstitutional means, such as a coup d’etat.
Ilagan said this would address the issue of succession as Binay would not automatically head the next government.
Ilolio Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. does not see any hope of reversing the justice committee’s rejection of the impeachment complaint. “Any move to impeach the President is doomed to fail,” he said.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali called the militant bloc’s call for the resignation or impeachment of the President as “wishful thinking.”
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said Church leaders calling for
Aquino’s resignation and seeking a national transformation council had failed to explain how they planned to choose leaders to take the place of the President.
“It’s easy to make plans for leadership change, but the proponents, especially the Church leaders, should explain the basis or the process for the change in leadership. Otherwise, they are just making noise,” Barzaga said.
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