Binay: If you recall, I beat Roxas in 2010
IMUS, Cavite—With President Benigno Aquino III making official his choice of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as his desired successor, it seems open season for Roxas now, particularly for the rival camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Binay himself sneered at how long it took for the President to confirm his choice of Roxas, calling it a long drawn-out drama (matagal na nagda-drama drama).
“Today is the day that all the pahele-hele (saying no but meaning yes) has ended,” he told reporters in Cavite on Friday where he went to attend disaster-prevention programs in several towns while the ruling Liberal Party (LP) was meeting at Club Filipino to hear the President’s endorsement.
“And today is the start of the serious examination of each candidate. What kind of experience do they have? What have they shown in terms of capability?” he said.
Binay also seemed to relish having Roxas, whom he defeated in the vice-presidential race in 2010, as an opponent.
He said Mr. Aquino’s choice of Roxas as the LP presidential standard-bearer only highlighted the differences between Roxas and himself and “allow the people to know that Jojo Binay is running for President.”
He said there would now be a clearer “comparison” between himself and Roxas in terms of political experience, competence and public service.
Asked what advantage Roxas would have over him, Binay said: “You know the advantage there is that people will never forget that I have beaten Secretary Roxas!”
Binay visited Dasmariñas, Imus and Silang where he distributed campaign paraphernalia. He was accompanied by his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, and his allies in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)—Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, lawyer Harry Roque and actress-turned-politician Alma Moreno.
Binay’s spokespersons similarly pounced on Roxas now that he is a declared presidential candidate.
“No amount of praise can change the fact that Secretary Roxas desperately failed in his roles in the present administration,” said Binay’s spokesperson Rico Quicho.
‘Petty and vindictive’
“Truth be told, Roxas simply did not get things done to uplift the lives of our people. Worse, he is petty and vindictive,” he said in a statement released ahead of the President’s announcement.
Mon Ilagan, UNA spokesperson, called on Roxas to resign as interior secretary “so he would not be able to use in his favor the resources and machinery of the government.”
“Let us look back at his dismal performance in the three agencies under him. The records will speak for his incompetence,” Ilagan said in a phone interview.
Quicho listed the blunders Roxas is supposed to have committed, including the remarks he made in Tacloban City right after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck in 2013.
“Lest we forget, Secretary Roxas told Mayor Alfred Romualdez that because of his surname, P-Noy as an Aquino would never help him (Romualdez),” he said.
Quicho said that despite that incident being caught on camera, Roxas is being hailed “a yellow hero to succeed to the Aquino throne.”
“If Mar is truly a doer, how come he kept quiet (during the Mamasapano tragedy) when he found out for the first time from Gen. (Getulio) Napeñas that the Special Action Force (SAF) and PNP intelligence were reporting directly to the suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima and P-Noy, with him kept in the dark? Why did he not raise hell then and use everything in his power to right the wrong?” he said.
“Roxas in a cheap publicity stunt, would later cry in public for two weeks during SAF events, including burials in the Cordilleras. A doer? You be the judge,” Quicho said.
Binay and his camp began attacking the Aquino administration last month after the Vice President failed to get support from Mr. Aquino, a close friend and former ally, for his presidential bid.
‘Kiss of death’
Before he resigned from the Cabinet, Binay had been saying that he would continue to hope for Mr. Aquino’s support until Election Day, even if it is secret and come-from-behind.
In Davao City, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, one of those being touted as a presidential candidate or a vice-presidential running mate for Roxas, could not be reached for comment as of late Friday afternoon as he was in Compostela Valley attending a fiesta.
But on July 3, Duterte said in a speech at the 17th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Manila that the endorsement by the LP of any candidate would be a “kiss of death.”
While he was clearly responding to reports he might become the LP’s vice-presidential candidate following his reported meetings with Roxas, Duterte was clear about his opinion on the party’s endorsement of any candidate.
“I cannot imagine Duterte being the Vice President of a ticket of Mar Roxas-Duterte. I already said I am not a member of the Liberal Party. And also, if you (LP) would make the endorsement, it will all be our end. That could be the kiss of death actually,” he said.
Duterte said the Aquino government has so many shortcomings that an LP endorsement would spell the defeat of a candidate.
“All of them (LP national candidates), they will lose,” he told reporters after his speech.
He cited Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s “mishandling” of the National Bilibid and other prisons under the Bureau of Corrections and the Metro Rail Transit as among examples of the Aquino government’s shortcomings.
Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Roxas was qualified to be President given his education and public service experience.
“I just hope he will be able to translate his attributes to positive action,” Lacson told reporters at a breakfast forum at Club Filipino.
Lacson, who is considering a possible run for the presidency himself, said it was about time that the country changes for the better and that these changes would be lasting.
He said that it was a “foregone conclusion” that President Aquino would pick his LP party mate as his candidate for the presidency.
“The President could not have appointed anybody but Mar,” Lacson said.
Deposed President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada told a press conference on Friday that as of now he had no specific preference among the three presidential aspirants—Roxas, Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.
“It depends. Grace Poe is my goddaughter. VP Binay is my kumpadre, Mar is my former Cabinet member and he performed well,” Estrada said.
According to Estrada, he only had the “greater good of the majority” in mind.
“The solution is to choose someone who will solve the problems of the country. That is my ultimate decision—who can better serve the country,” he said.
Estrada also disputed reports that he and Poe had asked for support from Iglesia ni Cristo for Poe’s presidential bid.
“There’s no truth to that. In fact, I haven’t seen Grace in a long time. I have not seen her since she ran for senator. The last time I saw her was when she ran for senator,” he said.
He also denied that there was a rift between himself and Binay, who was noticeably absent at Estrada’s so-called state of the city address on Monday.
In Lucena City, former Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said it will be a tight race between Roxas and Binay in 2016.
“With President Aquino’s endorsement and the organized political machinery of the Liberal Party, it will be a very tight race,” Suarez, a Lakas-CMD member, said in a phone interview.
Suarez, a supporter of Binay, earlier said Arroyo had given a tacit order for Lakas-CMD members to support Binay in 2016.
He said Arroyo has no official order yet but has asked the more than 1,000 Lakas-CMD members to meet and provide support to Binay whenever he visits their areas.
Suarez stressed, however, that there is no formal alliance between the Lakas-CMD and UNA.
He said that only Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the Lakas-CMD president, can make an official announcement on whom they would support for President.
The Suarez political clan in Quezon has promised to campaign for Binay in 2016. Suarez’s wife, Aleta, has replaced him as the representative of the province’s third congressional district while the couple’s son, David, is the provincial governor. With a report from Delfin Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon; and Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao; Mariejo Ramos and Christine Avendaño
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