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Aquino’s message is polite but clear: Get out

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As I See It

Aquino’s message is polite but clear: Get out

/ 02:09 AM November 07, 2014

President Aquino’s message to Vice President Jejomar Binay last Monday was very clear, and only those who want to cling to their post will pretend not to understand it: Get out, you’re fired! But P-Noy said it the polite way so Binay can save face: “If he (Binay) thinks we are going in the wrong direction, he is free to leave.” Binay was being shown the door.

How much clearer does he want it to be?

But Binay swallowed his pride and unashamedly said he is staying in the Cabinet. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” he said. Yet he has been constantly criticizing the Aquino administration although he is, up to this writing, still a member of the Cabinet. Is that being a team player?

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Binay knows that the ruling Liberal Party will have its own presidential candidate. But he, Binay, will be running as an opposition candidate and therefore against the administration candidate. Is that being a team player?

And this is what has irked the President. As the Tagalog saying goes, Binay wants to straddle two rivers. He claims to be a leader of the opposition but he continues to stay in the administration. Is he a mammal or a bird? asked Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, a top official of the LP. Answer: a bat or a chameleon (or is that an insult to the innocent animals?).

Erice said that after the President’s polite suggestion for Binay to get out, the latter, if he still had any delicadeza left, should resign. He added that he thinks the resignation would be accepted within five minutes.

Which is why Binay does not want to even draft a short resignation letter. No, sir, he is clinging to his post like a leech. He has to be scraped off and kicked away.

But why should he resign? At present, he has the best of both worlds. As a Cabinet member, he can use administration resources and time to campaign all over the country (attention: Commission on Elections), during which he courts opposition supporters by attacking the administration to which he claims to belong. Is that being a team player?

He goes around the country shaking hands and delivering speeches (this is premature campaigning; what is the Comelec doing?), and granting interviews to media organizations. But during all that time he refuses to answer questions on the corruption charges against him. The evidence against him and his allies are piling up and closing around his neck like a noose, but he has only one answer to reporters’ questions about evidence relentlessly being disclosed by witnesses: “That’s only politics.”

The next day, he attacks his fellow Cabinet members, and then runs to Malacañang and says that he is not criticizing President Aquino, that he has the utmost respect for him, that he is grateful to P-Noy’s mother, President Corazon Aquino, for appointing him officer in charge of Makati, and that he remains a loyal family friend. But members of the Cabinet are the alter ego of the President. An attack on them is an attack on the President. Criticism of the administration is criticism of the President. But Binay has the gall to say that he is not criticizing the President, and that they remain close friends. It is like stabbing the President in the back and then turning around to kiss his behind. He is making P-Noy an uto-uto.

I admire P-Noy’s patience with this back-stabbing, but for how long can he stand it? Recent developments show that his patience is wearing thin, hence the polite order for Binay to get out.

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Binay is using the same uto-uto tactic on the senators. He refused invitations of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee to answer the allegations of wrongdoing against him, then he said he would attend the hearings if it is the blue ribbon committee that would invite him. So the committee chair, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, sent him an invitation. Now he is trying to find excuses not to attend.

He challenged Sen. Antonio Trillanes to a debate, thinking that the latter would be a pushover, not being a lawyer like himself. But when Trillanes—who, as history has shown, has never backed out of a fight—accepted the challenge, Binay got cold feet and is again trying to find excuses to back out of the debate. He has devised a moro-moro with one of his mouthpieces, Rep. Toby Tiangco, who is saying that Binay wants to go through with the debate but that he himself (Tiangco) is trying to dissuade Binay from going through with it.

Who is the boss and who is the mouthpiece, anyway? Why is the mouthpiece telling the boss what to do? And it looks like the boss will follow what his mouthpiece is saying and will back out of the debate. What message does that give to the people who want very much to hear what Binay will say to defend himself? Is he guilty or not? Why is he afraid to face the senators—or even just one of them—if he is innocent?

The public wants to hear his side but Binay is so afraid to face the senators that he sent two of his noisiest mouthpieces to gatecrash a hearing. They had it wrong: The senators wanted to hear Binay, not noise, so the gatecrashers were politely escorted to the door. They should do the same thing to Binay: not just show him the door but escort him to it.

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TAGS: Aquino administration, Benigno Aquino Jr., Cabinet, Commission on Elections, Jejomar Binay, Liberal Party, politics, President Aquino, Rep. Edgar Erice, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, Toby Tiangco
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