Binay: Aquino believes I'm doing a good job
MANILA, Philippines – Amid allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Saturday, October 25, that his sole goal is to do a good job in the housing and overseas Filipino workers sectors, for which he has earned a pat on the back from no less than President Benigno Aquino III.
At the induction ceremonies of a local district of Lion's Club International on Saturday night, Binay's speech was devoted mostly to parrying allegations of corruption unearthed in a Senate inquiry into the alleged overpriced Makati city building.
Binay said that while it's no secret that he will run for president in 2016, the "sole" focus of his attention at the moment is to do his job well. He chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and is the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns.
The Vice President volunteered that the President is satisfied with his official performance.
"Si Pangulong Aquino na mismo ang nagsabi, kailan lang, na nasisiyahan siya sa pamamalakad ko sa kanyang iniatas sa akin (President Aquino himself told me just recently that he is happy with how I have accomplished the tasks that he has given me)," he said.
Binay had admitted that he is seeking Aquino's endorsement in the 2016 elections.
Malacañang said, however, that the Vice President was not at the Cabinet Performance Pledge session called by the President on Wednesday.
Responding to questions in an interview on state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said that Binay was not seen at the session where Cabinet officials signed a "perfomance commitment contract" on the accomplishment of their programs in the last 20 months of the Aquino administration.
Coloma said, though, that there were other Cabinet officials who were unable to attend the session as well.
'Power crisis, hellish traffic, unsafe MRT'
The Vice President, who calls himself an "ally and a friend" of the President, again took potshots at the Aquino administration when he enumerated the country's "many problems" that should have been solved decades ago but have "returned like ghosts out to dash the hopes of our countrymen."
"Nariyan ang lumalalang krisis sa kuryente, ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at ang lumalaganap na kriminalidad sa ating bansa. Nariyan ang mala-impyernong traffic, ang kapanga-panganib na pagsakay sa MRT at LRT, ang madalas na pagbaha at hagupit ng kalikasan na dapat paghandaan," he said.
(There is the worsening power crisis, rising prices of goods, and widespread criminality. There is also the hellish traffic, the perilous ride on the MRT and LRT, and the perennial floods and natural disasters that should be prepared for.)
After saying that the 2016 elections is not his priority at the moment, Binay discussed his apparent campaign platform anchored on replicating the so-called "Makati miracle" in the entire Philippines, which would foster inclusive growth.
"The progress achieved in my home city in over two and a half decades is demonstrable proof of competent and compassionate governance – governance that successfully meshed social realities with a sound environment for business and commerce – built on a core value of service to all, with each member of the community having a personal stake in their city," he said.
Binay's former allies have painted a different picture of Makati City under his watch, which the Vice President again strongly denied. Binay was Makati mayor from 1986 to 1998, and from 2001 to 2010.
'Blinded by ambition'
The Vice President said he hopes Lion's Club's "Sight First" project, which provides free services to indigent Filipinos ranging from prescription eyeglasses to cataract operations, would be "extended" to some senators who are "blinded" by political ambition.
He was referring to Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano who, with Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, are spearheading a probe into the alleged overpriced Makati building, which has branched into corruption allegations against Binay and his family. The two senators are reportedly eyeing higher office in 2016.
"They have made the Senate inquiry a platform to unjustly persecute my person and office, my family and, in fact, anyone who has had even the remotest association with me," he said.
At the Senate hearing on October 22, businessman Antonio Tiu sought to disprove allegations that he is a "dummy" of the Vice President. Tiu owns Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation, listed as the owner of a 350-hectare farm in Batangas.
Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado had testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee that Binay is the real owner of the farm he called "Hacienda Binay."
The Vice President said that instead of focusing on urgent national problems, his detractors have chosen to do a demolition job on him and his family.
"Sa halip na buhusan ng sapat na utak at solusyon ang mga suliraning ito, mas pinili nilang isulong ang sarili nilang interes sa pamamagitan ng pagwasak sa pangalan ng inyong lingkod at ng aking mga mahal sa buhay," he said.
(Instead of pouring their energies into resolving these problems, they have chosen to pursue their self-interests by destroying the name of yours truly and my loved ones.)
The Vice President again denied the testimonies of the whistleblowers in the Senate probe, who have accused him of getting kickbacks from city projects, rigged bids, and using dummies for his businesses and real estate acquisition, when he was Makati mayor. – Rappler.com