MANILA, Philippines - Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday lashed out at reports questioning his loyalty to President Benigno Aquino III’s anti-corruption efforts.
Speaking to ANC, Binay said he is now being made to undergo an “inquisition” after Liberal Party officials allegedly dared him to declare his support for the prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“I understand pinasasagot ako. Ano ba ito- inquisition? That I have to answer? E ano naman ang answer ko e obvious naman yun. I will repeat what I said. Mahirap magpaliwanag sa mga nagbibingi-bingihan. Mahirap namang magpakita sa mga nagbubulag-bulagan,” he told Mornings@ANC.
Binay said he doubts that Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad Jr. would tell media that the vice-president must declare if the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is pro- or anti-administration. The UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
“Kasama ko naman si Butch sa Gabinete. Nagbabasa naman siya. Tinatanong niya yun e alam naman niya kaya hindi ako naniniwalang si Butch Abad ang may sabi niya,” he said.
“Alam naman natin sa maraming pagkakataon pangalan lang ang sinasaksak pag ka mayroong sinasabi,” he added.
Binay said reports that he is being made to choose between Aquino and Arroyo are reactions to the UNA coalition, which will field senatorial candidates for the 2013 election.
Regarding the Corona impeachment trial, he said the merits of the case should be decided based on the evidence presented.
“For the nth time, I will say again - this is democracy in action and the proceedings have started. Siguro because of my training as a litigation lawyer, binibistahan na yan. Bakit pa gagawa tayo ng spekualsyon? Tignan na lang natin kung tunay na mayroong ebidensya at kung ang ebidensya ay kapani-paniwala, sana magkaroon ho ng tamang desisyon,” he said.
‘I owe a lot to Aquinos’
Binay denied that there is a brewing rift between him and the President. He said he owes much to the Aquino family after President Cory Aquino appointed him mayor of Makati after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
“After we had dinner last night, we had a long meeting until 11 pm. I was seated beside the President. We were discussing some matters. So kausap ko si Ballsy (Aquino’s sister) kagabi tsaka si Eldon, e alam mo naman mahaba naman ang pinagsamahan namin.’
“Ako naman ay uulit-ulitin ko sa ating mga kababayan - kinikilala ko pong malaking utang na loob na kung ano si Jojo Binay ay nagsimula po naman ito kay Pangulong Cory Aquino at sa kanyang family. So ako po ay isang taong marunong tumanaw ng utang ng loob.”
Binay said the collective leadership of the UNA has yet to decide on which candidates will be included in the coalition’s senatorial ticket.
LP officials allegedly questioned UNA’s inclusion of Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and former senator Ernesto Maceda in their senatorial slate despite being fierce critics of President Aquino.
‘I suffered under GMA’
The vice-president said he is irked by reports that he is allying himself with former President Arroyo especially after he suffered persecution from Malacañang while he was still mayor of Makati.
Binay was twice ordered suspended by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Office of the Ombudsman for various charges in 2006-2007. Both times, Binay defied the suspension and barricaded himself inside the Makati City Hall.
Binay said his own critics are hypocrites for questioning his loyalty when they were the ones who backed Arroyo during the controversial 2004 presidential election.
“Nagdanas ako ng malaking hirap. Yung hirap na pinagdaanan ko kay GMA -patong-patong ang aking kaso tapos ako pa ngayon ang pinagbibintangan,” he said.
“E kung sino man sila, nakita ko kayo ‘Wow GMA! Mahal na mahal ka namin, GMA. GMA, ikaw ang tunay na nanalo.’ Kayo po yun ah. Hindi po kami yan. Ngayon ang lakas ng loob niyong pagbibintangan niyo kami diyan,” he added.
He also denied sending text blasts during Holy Week, allegedly linking him to Arroyo and criticizing Aquino’s “Yellow Army.”
“Panahon pa ng Holy Week yun. Semana Santa..Hindi naman kami siguro ganun kahina ang kaisipin na magpapalabas kami ng ganung statements. Siguro kapani-paniwala yun kung isa, e 3-4 yun e,” he said.
Examples of the text messages, also received by journalists, are the following:
“Let’s pray for unity this Holy Week. VP Binay will unite all factions vs the vindictive Yellow Army +Google Manila Times+Binay Senate slate.”
“Jesus, Joseph & Mary may be gone, but salvation lies in our beloved Jejomar. Go VP Binay+ Pls pass…”
“Paalala mula sa tanggapan ni VP Binay: Magpaka-Boy Scout ngayong Holy Week – huwag aanga-anga sa daan para hindi manakawan.”
“We pray that GMA’s StrongRepublic will be realized under Binay’s Strong Leadership. Time to unite. Patawarin ang nagsisisi! Binay sa 2016!”