Aquino throws jabs at Binay
Who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying?
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said people know if he or Vice President Jejomar Binay is telling the truth.
With some 370 days before his term expires, the President said he was focused on moving the country forward.
Though obviously smarting from Binay’s attack on his presidency last Wednesday, Mr. Aquino’s response seemed to be laid-back, calibrated.
“My interest is to maximize all the opportunities for our people, to run this country… I have a responsibility to make this society, this country better. I will not allow myself to be distracted by talks of politics when I think it is very clear to the people who is telling the truth, and who is lying,” he told reporters at the Livestock Philippines 2015 Conference.
On Wednesday, Binay slammed the Aquino administration’s anticorruption campaign as reeking of “selective justice.” He said the government was insensitive and inept, and specifically referred to allegations of wrongdoing in the disbursement of congressional and executive pork barrel funds, extortion in the mass transport system and the massacre of 44 police commandos in January.
“Enough is enough (tama na, sobra na),” Binay said, borrowing the ringing slogan the President’s mother, the late democracy icon Corazon Aquino, used in the campaign against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
“I gave him all the opportunity so that he would not be a spare tire,” Mr. Aquino said, adding he would address “point by point” all the wrongdoing that Binay imputed against the administration. “Maybe you would ask, how do I feel? It’s a given to every Filipino, you put yourselves in my position… I did not treat him wrong and this is what he repays me with? So, I say to him, ‘Thank you.’”
Binay resigned on Monday as presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers affairs and chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. His daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, said her father was through being the “punching bag” of Aquino allies seeking higher office, referring to the open-ended hearings in the Senate on corruption allegations against the Vice President and his family and threats to throw them in jail.
Asked how he felt that Binay used the ‘Tama na, Sobra na’ battlecry of his mother, Mr. Aquino said: “The people felt the litany of wrongdoing of the dictatorship, all of them were the fault of the dictatorship… When (Binay) sent me his (resignation) letter, I asked him what really was the issue, he couldn’t answer me. So at that point in time, it seems he couldn’t say anything to improve the governance of our country.”
Based on Binay’s remarks on Wednesday, Mr. Aquino said, it appeared that the Vice President had “kept to himself so many secrets how to improve the governance of this country.”
“I think he has an obligation, as a member of the Cabinet, to share them,” the President said. “If you can do something to improve the lives of the people we promised to serve, why did you keep them secret all this time?”
“I was a bit surprised why there was a resignation at this time. So I called him up and eventually we got to talk and I asked him specifically what was the reason? I think the word I used was ‘casus belli’. What was the immediate reason that prompted him to do this action?” Mr. Aquino recalled.
“He said there were many and that he would write them down and send them to me. When our conversation ended, I told him, ‘Ok, I will wait for it,’” the President said. “Yesterday, although it was not unexpected, in his statement, he mentioned that he was now the opposition.”
“Perhaps this is what politics is in our country. Perhaps he thought, I wouldn’t be endorsing him so he has to show that he doesn’t need my endorsement or he could do better,” Mr. Aquino said.
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