MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said Thursday he asked Vice-President Jejomar Binay to lead a new government office that will institute judicial reform and investigate corruption scandals linked to outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Aquino said Binay's experience as a human rights lawyer under the Marcos regime makes him a perfect fit for the new government body that he will form after June 30.
"Well, he is a lawyer and there are cases that we need to tackle and investigations to pursue that will bring closure...on all of the issues that are pending. He will be the one who will lead that," he told reporters at the Manila Hotel.
"I don't want to sound like a broken record but our conviction rate right now is very low, 18%. No big fish. The bigger the fish, the harder it is to even investigate. O, [hopefully] he [Binay] comes in and he manages to prove and send to jail those proven guilty," he added.
Binay was a member of the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism Inc. (MABINI), a group of lawyers who helped human rights victims during the Marcos administration.
DAR, HUDCC or MMDA?
Binay confirmed he was offered to head a commission that would investigate Mrs. Arroyo. He said he was also offered 3 other government posts, including the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Binay previously held the MMDA post during the terms of Presidents Cory Aquino and Joseph Estrada.
Aquino said he hoped Binay would reconsider his position not to accept any position in the Aquino Cabinet.
However, Binay said on Thursday he still prefers not to join the Aquino Cabinet.
"Mr. President, pabayaan mo na lang ako mag-function as vice-president," Binay told Aquino through an interview with reporters.
"Hindi naman ako Liberal Party, hindi naman ako supporter kasi magkakalaban kami noong nakaraang halalan. O, namomroblema naman yun tao. Bakit naman magdadagdag pa ko [ng problema], defiance ba yan?" he added.
Aquino, meantime, said he would announce on Tuesday most, if not all, of his Cabinet appointees. "Basta i-aannounce natin, siguro, by Tuesday next week," he said.
Binay rejects Cabinet post
Binay met Aquino at the latter's Times Street residence in Quezon City Wednesday in their first meeting after their proclamation by Congress on June 9.
The vice-president-elect gave Aquino a letter thanking the president for including him in the short list for secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). (Click here for story.)
However, he asked Aquino to remove his name from the list and "from any other list of nominees for the Cabinet."
He said it was important that Aquino's official family "be able to work as a team."
Binay said it was clear that since he was not a member of the Liberal Party, or of any other group that supported the Aquino-Roxas tandem, he would "not be treated as a member of the team" and would only be seen as "disruptive" to the "existing relations among the members of the incoming official family."
He said he would not want to add to the difficulties the new government would have to face, "specially during its "crucial early stages." - With a report from Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News