VP Binay lambasts Aquino administration at UNA launch
Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered an emotionally charged speech lambasting the Aquino administration as he formally launched his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party before thousands of supporters in Makati, the city of his political origins.
“Ang UNA ay hindi samahan ng mga tanga, usad-pagong at teka teka. Ang kailangan ay hindi bagitong mag-aaral pa lang sa pamamahala,” he told the crowd inside the Makati Coliseum on Wednesday.
“Sa loob ng limang taon, napakarami pa ring nagugutom … Laganap pa rin ang kahirapan … Ang tanong ng bayan: Nasaan ang gobyerno?” he said, addressing the crowd from a glowing red lectern shaped like the number 1, resembling the digit in the UNA logo.
That last sentence was repeated throughout the 15-minute speech, which was spoken entirely in Filipino.
Mincing no words, Binay took the government for being “palpak at manhid (inutile and dense),” a phrase he first used last week in explaining his split with the Aquino government.
“Hirap na tayo sa turuan, siraan at pambobola. Hirap na tayo sa kaunlarang iilan lang ang nakikinabang,” he said to cheers.
If elected president, Binay said he would advance social services, strengthen agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, BPOs, quality basic education, and health care.
Binay assumed chairmanship of the newly formed political party.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco was formally elected UNA president, Sen. Gregorio Honasan the vice president, JV Bautista the secretary general, and former finance secretary Gary Teves treasurer.
In attendance were Sen. JV Ejercito, former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, former Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, and incumbent UNA lawmakers, including Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
Binay’s son, Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who was forced to step down on the strength of a suspension order by the Ombudsman, appeared some minutes after the program started.
He waved to the crowd and was met by cheers inside the 3,000-seat auditorium, which was filled to capacity.
But the loudest cheers were reserved for arguably UNA’s most famous member: Pacquiao. “May karapatan naman tayong pumili ng nasa puso natin (We have a right to choose who’s in our heart),” he told reporters when asked if he was afraid of reprisal by the administration.
He said he was still in the process of deciding whether to run for senator.
Asked if he would campaign for Binay, Pacquiao was evasive: “Depende ’yan, ’di pa napag-uusapan. Nandito ako para suportahan ang deklarasyon ng party (That depends. We have not talked about that. I am here to support the party declarations).”
Notably absent was former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, one of the three pillars of UNA, along with Binay and detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
Binay spokesperson Mon Ilagan said the former President had a prior engagement, but also acknowledged that the latter was “contemplating” a number of issues, such as possibly supporting Sen. Grace Poe, the daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr., or running for president again himself.
The atmosphere was festive, a cacophony of drums and cymbals filling the air and stage lights flickering all around the auditorium. Radio jocks Nicole Hyala and Chris Tsuper served as emcees, cracking jokes and engaging the audience in comic banter.
Makati residents, and UNA members from the provinces, turned up in droves and by the busload, many wearing campaign shirts bearing Binay’s name and slogans.
Binay’s combative words came as a surprise to media. Ilagan, a few hours before, said Binay’s speech, would be “not as fiery as before.”
“What you will hear now are the programs, the vision, the plans, of UNA as a political party,” he said. “The speech of the VP will have a more positive theme this time.”
Originally posted at 05:22 pm | July 1, 2015
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.