Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Vice President Binay Free to Leave Cabinet if He Doubts Governments Path Said by PNoy
President Aquino, apparently upset by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay’s recent tirades against the administration, yesterday declared that the country’s No. 2 official is free to leave the Cabinet if he believes the present government is treading the wrong path.
“If he thinks our direction is wrong, he is free to leave our group,” the President said in a media interview after inaugurating the expansion project of a soft drink manufacturing plant in Calamba, Laguna.
But leaving the Cabinet is far from the mind of the Vice President. In a press statement, Binay – who holds two Cabinet positions in the Aquino administration – said, “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player.”
However, should Binay decide to stay in the Cabinet, the President challenged the Vice President to offer solutions to the country’s problems instead of just hurling criticisms against the government.
“But at the minimum, he is Vice President of the land, he has criticisms, maybe for these to be constructive, he should also offer solutions,” the President added.
The President was responding to media queries on whether he thinks Binay, who has been critical of the administration recently, should stay or leave the Cabinet.
In the Aquino Cabinet, Binay is Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR), and chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Binay had earlier criticized some of the President’s allies for focusing on destroying his name instead of addressing the country’s problems on power supply, rising prices of goods, worsening conditions of the Metro Manila railway system, floods, rampant criminality, among others. He had also assailed the way former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is treated as well as blasts the Disbursement Acceleration Program, some key acts of which have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
In the media interview, the President admitted that he has read newspaper reports about Binay being “critical” of his administration. Aquino, however, reminded Binay of his “obligation” as a Cabinet member to also provide advice on how the government could effectively resolve national concerns.
“If the Vice President really said those things, then there are just two things we must remember. Number one, if he thinks we are not doing enough, he is a member of the Cabinet so he should advise us on how we can improve the system. That’s not a choice, it is an obligation as a Cabinet member,” Aquino said.
Aquino lamented that he has not yet heard the Vice President offer solutions in recent Cabinet meetings. “If he has solutions, he should have shared them. The question is why he has not shared them?” he said.
Aquino further said: “Let me reiterate. If you think the government has any shortcoming, you are a member of the government, the second highest official of the country, then you have an obligation to share your knowledge on better solutions if you have any.”
Asked if Binay still enjoys his trust and confidence despite allegations of corruption, the President made clear that the controversy involving the Vice President occurred prior to his role in the Cabinet.
When it comes to Binay’s work in the Cabinet as head of the HUDCC, the President has no complaints.
“If we are referring to his assignment with regards to housing, I think our housing sector has a lot of achievements under our watch,” Aquino said.
“It’s a credit also to the current regime ‘di ba ‘yung pag-iimbestiga no matter what your status is happening,” Aquino added, referring to the government probe on Binay’s alleged corrupt practices during his term as mayor of Makati City.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada warned the Vice President against attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Thursday, saying “it is like entering a lion’s den.”
He anticipates that his colleagues allied with President Aquino would prey on the Vice President.
“I don’t advice him to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Unang-una, babastusin lang siya doon. Pangalawa, it’s like entering a lion’s den,” he told reporters during the bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan.
The detained senator said it is not a wise decision if Binay would attend the Blue Ribbon proceedings, adding that “there’s nothing to gain there.”
He even took a swipe at the panel, chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, for turning the hearing into a “circus” and for allowing some senators to supposedly malign Binay and his family, which he said is the same experience of political persecution they had before.
“Sa paniniwala ko, iyong hearing na nangyayari ngayon sa Senado, it’s like a circus. Anyway, it’s already in the hands of the Ombudsman. Hayaan na ang Ombudsman ang mag-desisyon sa kaso. Ganoon din ang ginawa nila sa amin noon, eh. They persecuted us sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Tapos ganoon din ang ginagawa nila kay Vice President Binay,” Estrada said.
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