MANILA (Mabuhay) – You should ask the Vice President. That was the answer of Malacañang on Monday when asked if it considers Vice President Jejomar Binay an ally of President Benigno Aquino III.
“He supports the agenda of the president…but there are some areas that they disagree with,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a televised press briefing.
“I think that is up to the Vice President to say,” he said, adding that Binay’s camp had consistently said they support Aquino’s agenda.
The statement came as Aquino left for Europe without putting the Vice President in charge of the country.
Binay was also noticeably absent during the President’s “agenda setting” meeting at Malacañang last week.
On Monday morning, it was announced that Binay’s 15-minute address to clear his name against corruption charges has been postponed.
Instead, the he flew to typhoon-hit provinces. He said that while the speech could be postponed, help needed by Filipinos cannot, especially since Aquino was away.
On the other hand, Lacierda said there was no need to assign a “caretaker” during the President’s absence since “the reins of government will be handled properly by the designated officials.”
He said Aquino is in constant communication with other government officials.
The spokesperson said it was Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. who “handles the day-to-day (operations) of the Office of the President” while other Cabinet members are expected to continue their work.
He pointed out that just before typhoon “Luis” left the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council held a briefing to assess the effects of the typhoon.
“So government continues to function and we always have communications with the President,” Lacierda said. (MNS)