Aquino allies say no to Binay impeachment
MANILA, Philippines – Impeach Vice President Jejomar Binay? If it's deadset on doing this, the ruling Liberal Party should count these allies out – the 48 district representatives of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and their partner party-list groups.
NPC is the first to make a party stand on the impeachment calls against Binay, fueling talks that the 2nd biggest political party in the House of Representatives is set to abandon the majority coalition.
'The NPC, which remains one of the biggest political parties in the country completely, disagrees and will not support the calls of the critics of VP Binay to initiate an impeachment move against him'
NPC – which supported President Benigno Aquino III and LP in their campaigns to impeach former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and former Chief Justice Renato Corona – is saying no this time. NPC is led by President Aquino's uncle businessman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr.
In a statement on Monday, October 20, NPC secretary-general Batangas Representative Mark Llando Mendoza dismissed calls to impeach Binay as "counter-productive," "untimely," and a "potentially divisive and costly political exercise."
The NPC statement comes even before a formal move to impeach Binay in the House of Representatives.
Impeachment calls against Binay have been floated by some LP members since the Senate started its investigation into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall II Parking Building. The Senate probe branched out to other issues including the allegedly overpriced cakes for Makati's senior citizens and the 350-hectare farm in Batangas that the Binays allegedly own.
Other administraiton allies also opposed calls to impeach Binay, including Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr of LP. But the NPC is the first political party to make a stand against it.
LP vice-chairman Senate President Franklin Drilon refused to comment on NPC's statement. "That [impeachment] is not even being discussed in the party," Drilon said.
NPC spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian however gave assurances that the political party will support Aquino until the end of his term.
"The NPC is not leaving the LP-led coalition. We remain steadfast in our commitment to support the President’s administration and programs until his very last day in office. Just to clarify: what we are urging the LP coalition in the Lower House is we shouldn’t lose focus on what’s important. We believe that the impeachment move will distract us from enacting important legislative measures. Political exercises always distracts us," Gatchalian told Rappler.
The statement denouncing the impeachment of Binay comes after several NPC stalwarts openly endorsed Binay's presidential bid in the 2016 elections. (READ: Stalwarts of Cojuangco party throw support behind Binay)
Gatchalian's brother, NPC's Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian, announced in September his plan to join Binay's senatorial ticket in 2016.
The NPC and LP were caught in bitter electoral fights in the previous 2013 midterm elections. The two parties have kept their marriage of convenience, but some NPC stalwarts have declared that it will only last until the end of the President's term. (Read and watch: 'Pangasinan NPC is 100% behind PNoy, but not LP') – Rappler.com