MANILA, June 24 (Mabuhay) — “An unfortunate choice.”
This was how Malacañang on Wednesday called Vice President Jejomar Binay’s combative speech enumerating supposed shortcomings of President Benigno Aquino III.
In a statement shortly after the vice president’s speech, presidential spokesman Sec. Edwin Lacierda said Binay could have aired his gripes to Aquino during his almost five years as Cabinet member.
“In the five years of service to President Aquino, he [Binay] has never spoken ill of the governance policies of the President,” Lacierda said.
“Still, he has made the unfortunate choice to commence his presidential run with statements he could have otherwise discussed with the President as a Cabinet member but chose not to,” he added.
Last November, the President said Binay never presented solutions to the country’s problems during Cabinet meetings.
Lacierda further said that Binay’s speech “will define himself not only as an official but also as a person.”
In a speech earlier in the day, the vice president called the Aquino government “callous and incompetent.”
Binay, who quit his Cabinet posts last Monday, also accused the administration of advocating selective justice.
Earlier this month, Aquino said he is not inclined to endorse the Vice President, the opposition’s presumptive standard-bearer for the 2016 polls.
A hollow speech
Ranking officials of the Liberal Party on Wednesday dismissed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s scathing criticism of the Aquino administration as nothing more than a hollow speech.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., LP’s vice chair, said Binay’s speech proves that he should have quit from the Cabinet much earlier. “Why did he remain for so long?” he asked.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, LP’s vice chair for political affairs, slammed Binay for being ungrateful even when he had been given plum posts in the current administration.
He also questioned why Binay only criticized the Aquino administration over the controversies involving the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he had been in the Cabinet since 2010.
“I don’t get it. Why did he (Binay) mention the DAP and PDAF only now, after he has served five years in the Cabinet? Wala siyang utang na loob kay Pangulong Aquino, na in-appoint siya sa HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) kahit hindi siya kakampi ng LP. Pero anong ginawa niya? Ginamit lang niya ang ahensya para sa kanyang ambisyong maging presidente,” he told reporters in a phone patch interview.
Erice said Binay’s speech is nothing more than a hollow tirade since he only uttered general criticisms against the Aquino administration while at the same time staying mum on the corruption allegations hounding him and his family.
“We would have answered him point by point kung nagsabi lang siya ng mga specific na pagkakamali ng administrasyon. Pero wala eh, puro general statements lang. Tapos hindi niya pa rin sinagot yung mga ibinabatong akusasyon sa kanya. Tinakbuhan lang niya pagkatapos ng speech at umalis,” he said.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, chair of LP’s organizing and membership committee, said Binay’s speech was merely an evasive tactic meant to deflect the attention from the allegations he is facing.
“He didn’t give any specifics. He didn’t even have a Q and A (question and answer portion). The speech attacks the administration but doesn’t answer the many questions brought about by the alleged anomalies being investigated by the Ombudsman,” he said.
Resignation was overdue
Magdalo party-list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo, a member of the House majority bloc, said that while Binay is portraying himself as an example of “delicadeza” (propriety), the timing of his criticism was self-serving.
Acedillo said Binay should have resigned from the Cabinet before the 2013 midterm elections, when he started his own political party.
“His current attacks against the administration are borne out of opportunistic convenience,” he said.
For his part, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) stalwart Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting said Binay’s criticism of the administration was forthcoming after he had bolted from the Cabinet.
“VP Binay has made his stand that he’s clearly against the administration because of his resignation from the Cabinet. This was expected,” he said. (MNS)