MANILA - Allies of Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas deny being behind an alleged plot to thwart Vice President Jejomar Binay's presidential bid in 2016.
Liberal Party member and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice disputed claims that his business partner, Eric Gutierrez, owns the chopper that was used to take a survey of Binay's alleged properties in Batangas and Tagaytay.
"Attorney JV Bautista is either a liar or incompetent. Our company has a chopper but it was never used in either the Batangas or Tagaytay properties of VP Binay. We have no connections with [former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado] but I believe his stories,” he said.
He said he will help in his own personal capacity. “The real issue here is not the ownership of the chopper but the ownership of the Batangas and Tagaytay farm…”
Erice also confirmed Gutierrez is his business partner. "Yes, he is my business partner. We have a chopper, pero hindi ito ginamit tulad ng ipinalalabas ni JV.”
Liberal Party Secretary General and Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento today maintained Roxas is too busy to be involved in a so-called demolition job against Binay.
"Attorney Bautista must be seeing, hearing, and seeing things that are outside the realm of reality. The so called OPLAN: SN16 is just a product of his fertile imagination," Sarmiento said.
"Secretary Roxas would never be involved in such a so-called demolition job because for one, he doesn't need it, and two, he is too busy with his job as DILG Secretary and has no time for such nonsense," Sarmiento added.
“These people are not even members of LP. Secretary Roxas is focused with his job right now as one of President Aquino's most reliable all-around troubleshooter and does not have time for such counterproductive endeavors. There will be time for politics but not now," he said.
'JUST ANSWER RAPS'
Another Roxas ally, Iloilo City Congressman and LP's Visayas party-whip Jerry Trenas, advised Bautista to just convince Binay to answer all the allegations against him instead of blaming other people for his present woes in the Senate.
"I think that the camp of VP Binay should stop the finger-pointing and stop diverting the issue. Dragging the name of Secretary Roxas into his mess will not help him explain the allegations of massive corruption being thrown against him," Trenas said.
Trenas said Roxas should be kept out of this controversy. He said the allegations against Binay were made by an angry and disgruntled former political sidekick who obviously knows a lot of his secrets and now wants to get even.
"This is their fight so they should stop dragging the name of Secretary Roxas into this. Secretary Roxas would not waste his time on politicking especially at this time when there is a need to sustain the momentum of the economic gains achieved under the Aquino government," Trenas pointed out.
Roxas placed second to Binay in the recent Pulse Asia survey on presidential preferences. Binay defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential election.
While Binay has announced plans to run for president in 2016, Roxas has kept quiet, with only key allies like Senate President Franklin Drilon and LP acting president Jun Abaya saying Roxas is their party bet for the presidency.