Binay: I resigned to protest 'crooked, failed' gov't

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – "Ito ang baluktot na hustisya at pamamahala ngayon. Ang umiiral ay selective justice." (This is now crooked justice and leadership. Selective justice prevails.)

Two days after resigning from the Aquino Cabinet with no explanation, Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered a speech on Wednesday, June 24, to explain why he quit, but did not open himself up to questions.

In a 10-minute speech in Filipino at his office at the Coconut Palace in Pasay, Binay openly burned bridges with the Aquino administration, deriding its "tuwid na daan" (straight path) slogan, and criticizing its key programs and policies. 

"Ito rin ang hangarin ng ating mga kababayan: isang pamahalaang kabaliktaran ng manhid at palpak na pamahalaan ngayon," he said. (This is also the government our countrymen want: a government that is the opposite of the insensitive and failed government now.) 

Watch the full speech here:

Saying he "ran out of patience," Binay added that he resigned because the government attacked his programs as mayor of Makati for 21 years. Yet he was silent about corruption allegations against him over the same Makati projects that were supposedly overpriced and rigged. 

"Nagbitiw po ako sa kabinete dahil hindi ako makapapayag na ipawalang-saysay at siraan ang aking mga programang pang-masa na nagtagumpay sa Makati at nais kong mapalawak sa buong bansa," he said. (I resigned from the Cabinet because I will not allow them to destroy my programs in Makati for the masses that I want to continue and expand across the country.)

"May hangganan ang pagtitiis ng isang tao. Tama na! Sobra na! Bakit hindi nila ako harapin sa isang malinis na halalan?"

(A person's patience has limits. Stop it, enough! Why don't they face me in a clean and honest election?)

Binay faces multiple plunder complaints and investigations for alleged corruption in infrastructure projects in Makatiusing dummiesrigging bids, and supposedly owning a vast estate in Batangas province.

The Vice President is the leader of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), and is among the front runners for the 2016 presidential polls. The corruption allegations brought down his popularity in surveys but he remains the most trusted government official.

On Monday, June 22, Binay submitted a resignation letter to President Benigno Aquino III, saying he is giving up his Cabinet posts as housing czar and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFW) concerns after 5 years. He retained his post as vice president. 

He then offered no explanation, and did not even personally meet the President. He had his daughter, Makati Representative Abigail Binay, hand the letter to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The letter simply said, "I hereby tender my irrevocable resignation as a member of the Cabinet effective immediately." 

Binay resigned after Aquino turned down his "secret wish" to be endorsed as the next president.

Binay and Aquino have long family ties, dating back to when the vice president was a human rights lawyer supporting the President's mother in the fight against martial law. The late President Corazon Aquino appointed Binay officer-in-charge of Makati in 1986, giving him his political break. 

Yet the younger Aquino said that endorsing Binay was far-fetched as the Vice President belonged to a different party in the 2010 and 2013 elections. As early as November 2014, Aquino said Binay is free to resign if he disagrees with the administration's programs.  

A copy of Vice President Jejomar Binay's resignation letter. Photo by Ayee Macaraig

A copy of Vice President Jejomar Binay's resignation letter.

Photo by Ayee Macaraig

Hits DAP, PDAF, MRT, SAF

On Wednesday, Binay turned the tables on the Aquino administration and the ruling Liberal Party, saying it is the government's policies and blunders that must be criticized, not allegations he amassed ill-gotten wealth.

"Ako ang pangunahing balakid sa kanilang pansariling ambisyon at hangarin." (I became the main obstacle to their selfish ambitions and goals.) 

Binay repeated a refrain of the opposition: that the administration only pursued its anti-corruption campaign against political rivals but turns a blind eye on anomalies involving its allies. 

"At habang ako ay ginigipit at inuusig, hinahayaan naman nila ang malawakang anomalya ng kanilang mga kasama at kapartido: ang Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), ang Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) ng kanilang mga kakampi, kapartido, at kaibigan; ang pangongotong sa MRT, at ang masaker ng SAF 44 sa Mamasapano."

(And while I am being persecuted and judged, they allow widespread anomalies of their allies and party mates: the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of their allies, party mates and friends; corruption in the Metro Rail Transit system, and the massacre of the Special Action Force (SAF) 44 in Mamasapano.) 

Binay was referring to the administration's stimulus measure, DAP, which the Supreme Court struck down. The PDAF was meant for development projects for the poor but a scam exposed in 2013 showed that some lawmakers were part of a conspiracy to pocket the million-peso fund. Binay's allies, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, are in jail over the so-called PDAF scam. 

The Mamasapano tragedy referred to the encounter between elite cops and Moro rebels on January 25 that killed 67 Filipinos. It became the worst security crisis to hit the administration, and endangered the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 

Binay again criticized the Aquino government's economic policies, saying these did not result in inclusive growth.

He said he wants a government that can provide effective and wide-ranging health and education services.

"Hindi ako papayag na magpatuloy ang kawalan ng katarungan sa bansa. Hindi ako papayag na iilan lang ang magtatamasa ng benepisyong nararapat sa karamihan."

(I will not agree that injustice will continue. I will not agree that only a few will benefit from the benefits that are supposed to be for all.) 

'I am a real Filipino'

Binay recalled his days as a street parliamentarian during the Marcos dictatorship. He likened this to the "persecution" he and his family went through when he was opposition leader under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency, and now under the Aquino government.

"Kahit pagkatapos ng 1986 EDSA Revolution, ilang beses akong ginipit at tinangkang patahimikin dahil patuloy akong lumalaban sa pang-aapi at pang-aabuso."

(Even after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, I was persecuted and threatened to be silenced several times because I continued to fight abuse.)  

"Ngayon, sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang administrasyon, ako ay pinagkakaisahang siraan, hamakin, gipitin, tanggalin bilang pangalawang pangulo at ipapakulong pa."

(Now, under the current administration, they are ganging up to destroy, mock, pressure, and remove the vice president, and even jail me.)

The Vice President sought to appeal to the masses, saying he can take being persecuted. "But I cannot bear it that you continue to experience poverty every day."

 

Binay also took a swipe at the possible candidate who poses the biggest challenge to his presidential ambitions: Senator Grace Poe.

The Vice President indirectly referred to questions on Poe's citizenship and residency, which his allies first brought up two weeks ago. The questions on Poe's qualifications to run for president or vice president backfired on the Binay camp, as Poe addressed these and earned public sympathy.

A neophyte politician, Poe overtook Binay as the front runner in presidential surveys released last week even before she declares her plans for 2016. 

"Ako po ang inyong pangalawang pangulo, si Jojo Binay, na laging nagsasabi at taas-noong ipinagmamalaki ang pagiging tunay na Pilipino sa puso at gawa. Lagi ninyong kasama sa hirap at ginhawa, at ngayon ay namumuno sa oposisyon."

(I am your vice president, Jojo Binay, who always says with pride that I am a real Filipino in heart and deed. I am always with you in trials and success, and now I am leading the opposition.)  Rappler.com