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Roxas on Binay: Corruption cases confusing him

Bea Cupin
Roxas on Binay: Corruption cases confusing him
Vice President Jejomar Binay accuses the administration of deliberately underspending so the funds could be used for the May 2016 elections

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II lashed out at his 2016 rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay, after the latter accused the administration of “deliberately” underspending so that public funds could be used during the national elections next year.

Alam niyo si Vice President Binay nalilito nalang siguro siya sa dami ng kaso sa pandarambong, korupsyon na hinaharap niya. Pilit niyang dinadala ang usapan sa kung anu-anong mga topic. Palagay ko ang mainam na lang sa kanya ay sagutin na lang niya yung sinabi ng Ombudsman, sinabi ng Senado na may pandarambong o may pangungurakot sa kanyang pamamahala sa Makati,” Roxas told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to Pampanga on Wednesday, December 9, when asked to comment on Binay’s allegations.

(Vice President Jejomar Binay must be confused because of all the corruption cases against him. He insists on steering the conversation into other topics. I think it’s best if he just answer the Ombudsman, the Senate [Blue Ribbon sub-committee’s] allegations of corruption during his time as Makati mayor.)

Binay’s tirades against the administration and the ruling LP for allegedly underspending because of the coming national elections are nothing new.

During a Kusog Mindanaw in Davao late November, Binay said the administration was refraining from spending its money now and plans to release it as the elections near.

“These delays have resulted in underspending on infrastructure, although we know that underspending has also been done deliberately to give the administration more funds to use during this election season. Inipit ang paglalabas ng pondo para pakawalan naman ito ngayong malapit na ang eleksyon (They’re holding back on releasing these funds so they can release it when the elections are nearer.)”

Binay added: “So many reason and excuses have been offered to justify underspending and delayed spending. But for me, underspending is simply underperformance. Delayed spending is delayed service.”

The vice president, who is also chairman and standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), made the same remarks during a visit to Bais City in Negros Occidental.

Roxas again made another hit at his 2016 opponent on Thursday, December 10, when asked to react to Binay defining graft and corruption in a school forum. 

Maganda rin na nagpaliwanag siya tungkol sa graft and corruption dahil siya ang expert. Tanggapin natin ang kanyang paliwanag (It’s good that he explained graft and corruption because he’s the expert. So let’s accept his explanation),” he told reporters. 

Palace spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda, asked to react to Binay’s criticism, said the Vice President was “not updated” in underspending talks.

In 2014, the government underspent by over 13%. It again continued to underspend in the first quarter of 2015. 

Lacierda, who has expressed his support for Roxas’ presidential bid, attributed Binay’s tirades to President Benigno Aquino III’s decision to endorse the former interior secretary’s presidential bid and not his.

Ganyan talaga ‘pag hindi na endorso ng pangulo – ang dating pinupuri, pinupuna. What is certain is that si VP Binay, gumanda ang buhay niya dahil hanggang ngayon hindi niya maipaliwanag ang alegasyon ng korapsyon laban sa kanya,” said Lacierda in a text message to reporters.

(That’s what happens when you don’t get the endorsement of the President. What you once used to praise, you now lambast. What is certain is that VP Binay’s life improved because to this day, he is unable to explain the corruption allegations against him.)

Binay was once part of the Aquino Cabinet as chief for housing concerns. He resigned in late June, a month or so before Roxas was endorsed by Aquino. Since then, Binay has been non-stop in criticizing the administration.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs lawyer Rico Quicho dismissed the statements of both Roxas and Lacierda.

Quicho went on to once again accuse the LP of being behind efforts to “destroy” Binay, who led early presidential preference polls. He also urged Lacierda to stop “Noynoying” and instead focus on explaining alleged corruption within the departments of transportation, budget, and agriculture, and the Customs bureau.

Binay’s spokesman had harsh words for the LP standard-bearer as well.

Hindi na nakakagulat ang sagot ni Sec Roxas. Talagang natutulog sa kangkungan kaya puro kapalpakan ang inabot ng mga departamento na kaniyang pinamunuan (Roxas’ answer is not surprising. He’s not doing his job right, that’s why the departments he headed were failures),” the lawyer said in a text message.

Quicho also hit Roxas for projects headed by the interior department during his stint as its chief. “Mr Secretary ano ang kakayahan ng DILG sa patubig at pabahay? Ginamit mo yan sa iyong papogi sa tao pero hindi naman naramdaman (What does the DILG have to do with water and housing? You used that to boost your popularity but people did not feel the benefits),” he added.

Members of the opposition have long raised a howl over the inclusion of several potable water and housing projects in the interior department under Roxas, accusing the ruling party of using the coveted Cabinet post to improve Roxas’ chances in 2016. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.