Palace on Binay's claims: 'We have no time for that'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang shrugged off the claims of Vice President Jejomar Binay that the allies of President Benigno Aquino III are behind a demolition job against him in preparation for the 2016 polls.

On Wednesday, October 15, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters via text message that Aquino and his allies have more important matters to deal with. He was responding to questions on the allegations made by Binay at the 5th MCLE Accredited National Convention of Public Attorneys on Tuesday.

“The President and his Cabinet do not have the luxury of engaging in 2016. We are focused on the problems at hand," Lacierda said, adding, "Just to give you some examples: Ebola, China, Golan, Mayon, MRT, etc.”

Coincidentally, there was no Palace press briefing on Wednesday. Aquino’s schedule released to the media included meetings with Cabinet members on Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) rehabilitation in the morning, an economic cluster meeting in the afternoon, and an Eid’l Adha dinner celebration at the Palace.

In a speech on Tuesday evening, Binay criticized Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for her “unusual interest” in probing him for alleged corruption. He also noted that many of those “attacking” him are the same ones “surrounding” Interior Secretary and presumed ruling Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II. (READ: VP Binay not in Aquino 'show of force' event)

Binay, who leads polls of presidential hopefuls for 2016, has dismissed the Senate investigation into his alleged ill-gotten wealth as politically motivated. He has seen a significant drop in his numbers since the accusations have surfaced, while Roxas has enjoyed a slight increase although he remains a far second to Binay.

The Vice President had also slammed the administration for its alleged unfair treatment of Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima – a close friend of the President, its controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and even for allegedly mistreating former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is under hospital arrest as she undergoes her plunder trial.

Lacierda again shrugged off the accusation regarding Arroyo, saying it is not under the administration’s jurisdiction.

“It is a matter before the courts. The courts exercise jurisdiction over her and the cases and all attending incidents,” he said. –