Binay hits Roxas, says term extension proposal ‘selfish’
MANILA, Philippines – “It was a selfish proposal to begin with, motivated more by personal rather than national interest.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay criticized Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II’s proposal for a second term for President Benigno Aquino III, in the latest statement in a week of political positioning and trial balloons two years ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The leader and standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) called Roxas’ idea of a term extension for Aquino a “politically divisive initiative.”
“It was also unfair to the President. The proposal put him on the spot and made him the object of criticisms, which he doesn't deserve,” Binay said in a statement on Friday, August 8.
Binay was responding to Roxas’ statement in an ANC interview on Tuesday that he prefers that Aquino again run for president, citing an “overwhelming clamor.” Roxas made the suggestion even if the 1987 Constitution sets a single 6-year term for Philippine presidents, and despite Aquino’s stand against changing the charter.
The Vice President took a swipe at Roxas, Aquino’s close friend and president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
“Those who made the proposal don't know the President. He is a decent person and will not cling to power. He is a student of history, and he won't tarnish his mother's good name just to please some personalities,” Binay said.
Binay added: “President Cory rejected a similar move to extend her term. As a private citizen, she opposed similar moves by succeeding administrations. I am certain President Noynoy will follow the sterling example of his mother.”
It was an implied reference to Binay’s close ties with the Aquino family, which the President’s sisters cited when they said they were open to their brother endorsing Binay.
It was Binay who first raised the scenario, saying he got word of “loose talk” about it. He immediately thanked the Aquino sisters for supporting the idea.
Cayetano joins fray, attacks Binay
Binay also cited the statement of Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr that the President is not aspiring for a second term, putting an end to speculation a day after another palace mouthpiece, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino “will consider the voice of the people, the voice of his bosses.”
“President Aquino, through Secretary Coloma, has made known his sentiments on term extension. We must respect his decision and end this politically-divisive initiative,” Binay said.
But a day after Coloma’s statement that seemed to end speculations about Aquino’s position on a possible second term, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte maintained that the President remained committed to heeding the call of his supporters, even on that issue.
“In 2009, Senator Aquino sought the presidency as a response to calls from the people. He has consistently held the people to be his bosses. That has not changed for the President, and he continues to hold fast to this, to this day,” said Valte.
Coloma is identified with the so-called Samar faction in the administration that supported Binay for vice president in 2010 while Lacierda and Valte are linked with the Balay faction of Roxas.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano also joined the fray. The presidential aspirant from the Nacionalista Party (NP) issued a statement Friday, saying he is against the term extension while again attacking Binay.
“I see the Aquino government's sincere desire [for reforms]. But If we truly believe in President Aquino, we should not endanger his legacy by putting a corrupt official into power," Cayetano said.
“Let us not be blinded by high ratings and political propaganda. The President will only have peace of mind if he knows his successor is someone who will continue his reforms.”
Binay and Cayetano joined other politicians and observers in rejecting Roxas’ proposal.
Senator Francis Escudero on Thursday dismissed as “unfortunate” the statements of both Roxas and Lacierda, saying “they should not even be toying” with the idea because it goes against the 1987 Constitution, created under the presidency of Aquino’s mother, the late Corazon Aquino.
A Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial on Friday also slammed Roxas for proposing term extension for Aquino.
“This trial balloon he has tried to float suggests that he, rather than his friend, is aiming for the presidency again. He is testing whether he can define his campaign as the second coming of the ‘daang matuwid (straight and narrow path).’ That crashing thud we hear? It means he’s failing the test,” the Inquirer said.
In explaining his proposal, Roxas said: “Many have voiced their support for another term for P-Noy and we are thankful for the many people who prefer another term. We see this as support for continuance of ‘daang matuwid.’”
Binay though also floated his own trial balloon when he said on Monday that the LP might “adopt” him as its standard-bearer, citing anonymous sources from the administration.
Talk of Aquino possibly endorsing Binay began after the President mentioned in his State of the Nation Address that he and Binay were together when he was ambushed in 1987.
Binay’s daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, said last week that Aquino’s endorsement will be “icing on the cake” for her father’s presidential bid.
Yet LP stalwart Franklin Drilon quickly shot down the idea, calling it the work of “spin masters.” Drilon said the LP will support the candidacy of Roxas, should he decide to make his political plans public. – Rappler.com