MANILA - Students of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) on Tuesday engaged Vice President Jejomar Binay in a spirited discussion on topics ranging from informal settlers in Makati to corruption allegations.
Binay was in UPLB to speak before students and faculty members about governance, transparency and social transformation.
The vice president took the opportunity to talk about his accomplishments as vice president and Makati City mayor.
In his speech, Binay downplayed the corruption allegations being hurled against him and boasted how he was able to uplift the lives of residents of Makati with quality education and health care services.
The vice president also had scathing words for the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for its investigation into various accusations of corruption against him.
But despite the strongly worded speech criticizing his opponents and the current administration, Binay's usual remarks did not turn out to be the highlight of the day.
“EH DI MERON PA RIN”
More exciting than the vice president’s speech itself were the questions thrown at him during the forum's question-and-answer portion.
One student asked Binay about informal settlers in Makati, to which the vice president answered there were none.
The student, however, did not take Binay's answer sitting down and insisted that he himself saw informal settlers in Makati.
“Hanapin niyo nalang po, sir. ‘Di niyo pa po siguro nakikita,” the student told Binay.
Binay relented, saying there may be around 3 to 5% informal settlers in the city.
"Eh di meron pa rin," the student blurted and the crowd jeered.
“HINDI KO TALAGA ALAM IYAN…”
Another student asked Binay, a human rights lawyer in his younger years, on how genuine agrarian reform can be achieved.
"'Pag ako naging pangulo, aalisin ko ang irrigation fees," Binay answered. "'Yung CARP [Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program] when it started, was okay. Pero hindi nasustain ng gobyerno."
However, Binay seemed to be at a loss when asked about House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform bill filed by Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap which the leftists are pushing for.
"Akala ko yung House Bill 252 ay tungkol sa CARP. Ano ba 'yun?" Binay asked the audience, which responded with jeers.
"Hindi ko talaga alam iyang House bill na yan. Pero, ok yan," Binay added.
“BAKIT UMAANGAL KAYO?”
Meanwhile, Binay's criticism of the current administration did not sit well with audience either.
"I am disappointed sa sagot n'yo sir dahil you keep on blaming the government, whereas part kayo nu'n," another student told Binay.
The vice president was quick to dismiss the comment and explained that many problems were beyond his scope of duties as vice president, saying "Kanya-kanyang trabaho sa administrasyon."
Binay's remarks elicited another round of jeers from the crowd, to which the vice president retorted: "Bakit umaangal kayo? Ano bang function [ng VP]? Ang trabaho ko sa administrasyon ay tungkol sa pabahay eh 'di 'yun ang trinabaho ko."
BINAY TRENDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Enthusiasm over Binay’s remarks was not confined within the halls of UPLB.
Netizens were quick to join the discussion and were highly critical of Binay’s answers.
The hashtag #BinayVisitsUPLB was among the top trending topics on Twitter on Tuesday.
Below are some comments from netizens when #BinayVisitsUPLB.
Even though Binay was willing to answer more questions from the crowd at UPLB, the forum ended with a number of students still waiting for their turn to ask questions.
Binay, an alumnus of UP, joined the students in the singing of the school hymn, "UP Naming Mahal" at the end of the forum.