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Questions the youth should ask the Vice President

/ 03:04 AM July 16, 2014

It is always an indication of a healthy democracy when the youth participate in the political process and freely voice their opinion on matters that affect the national interest. I believe that only through a freewheeling discourse on governance and politics—and its effects on every decision we make—can we discern what is right from what is wrong, and from what is convenient.

All throughout my political career, I have tried to live by the exacting standards of honesty and integrity. I believe the majority will agree that honesty and integrity are essential public service standards that must apply to all public officials, most especially to those seeking the presidency.

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Vice President Jejomar Binay has, since last year, openly declared his intentions to run for president. My challenge is for him to give a definitive and unequivocal statement about his political allies charged in the pork barrel scam. This is a call to exact the standards of honesty and integrity on someone seeking to lead our country as president.

VP Binay continues to be evasive in his responses to this issue, unlike in his past positions on former president Gloria Arroyo and in his tirades against Delfin Lee. Why does the VP talk about the rule of law and fairness when asked about Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada and yet speak so unequivocally against Arroyo and Lee?  Why did he say that the justice department’s witnesses were duds, when both their testimonies and documents clearly showed proof of wrongdoing on the part of his allies? Is it because Enrile and Estrada are his allies while Arroyo and Lee are his foes? Will Binay, assuming he is elected president, prosecute Estrada, his avowed leading choice for running mate?

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The youth, if they are to begin working for meaningful change in our country, should demand answers to important questions and make an enlightened choice. My challenge now is for them to ask VP Binay these questions and demand answers. The Filipino people deserve no less.

As a declared presidential candidate, Binay has the responsibility to conform to the highest standards of accountability, which should extend to the members of his family. He should have asked his son Mayor Junjun Binay to explain and apologize for his behavior in the Dasmariñas gate incident, instead of saying that he deserved “special treatment.” He should have welcomed an investigation into the alleged anomalous transactions of his wife when she was mayor of Makati, instead of shouting political persecution. And with his daughter implicated in the misuse of her Priority Development Assistance Fund in a “bulate” project, he should have asked her to account for the funds as openly as possible, instead of pointing fingers at everybody.

The VP has already said that nobody should be spared from the PDAF investigation. I absolutely agree with him: No one should be spared—including his friends and family.

—SEN. ALAN PETER S. CAYETANO

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TAGS: Binay, Delfin Lee, Jejomar Binay, pork barrel scam, pork scam, Vice President Binay
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