PNoy’s uncles supporting Binay in 2016 – Butz Aquino
After President Aquino’s sisters, come his uncles who now expressed their support for the 2016 presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.
The uncles’ support for Binay was declared yesterday by former Sen. Agapito “Butz” Aquino at the observance of the 31st death anniversary of his brother, former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. – the father of President Aquino.
Butz said it was not only President Aquino’s sisters who are supporting Binay’s bid but also his uncles – him and his brother Paul Aquino, as well as former Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., the youngest brother of President Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
Asked to comment, a chuckling Binay told reporters: “Kung ano na lang narinig niyo, yun na yun (Whatever you heard, that’s it).”
Binay added that he values the support of the President’s relatives.
“Sa akin kasi kaibigan ko yung mga yun, eh. Kasama sa hirap at ginhawa, a reiteration ng aming pinagsamahan (They are my friends. We were together through thick and thin, a reiteration of our close relationship),” he said.
The President’s sisters – Ballsy Aquino Cruz and Kris Aquino – reportedly said in a media interview that they see Binay “as someone who can continue the good programs of the President.”
But President Aquino later clarified that his sisters have not endorsed anyone yet for the 2016 elections.
“The gist of their statement was, ‘If he can continue what our brother started, then thank you, that would be good,’ which is not exactly the same as you should continue,” Aquino clarified.
“They were asked to react on a statement that there should be someone who should continue the reforms we started,” the President noted.
Binay, one of the trusted men of the late President Corazon C. Aquino, said in a previous statement that “the friendship between the Aquino and Binay families was a bond that transcended politics.”
The Vice President also said that he has yet to talk to President Aquino about alleged moves to amend the Constitution.
He maintained that it was a “speculation” to say that Aquino was aiming for a reelection through Charter change.
While he has always been open to the amendment of economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, Binay said he is against political Charter change.
Binay, who received the “Ninoy Aquino Memorial Medal of Valor” from the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) yesterday, also urged “comrades in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship” to fight moves to amend the 1987 Constitution.
He said democracy in the country currently governed by Ninoy’s son, President Aquino, is again in danger because of some quarters who are pushing for the amendment of the Constitution to lift term limits of elected officials and clip the powers of the Supreme Court.
“This, I believe, is how we can best protect the legacy of Ninoy Aquino, and the best way we can ensure that our struggle to bring back a working democracy that serves the interests of the people, and not of a selfish few, will not be in vain,” Binay said in a speech at Ninoy’s death anniversary rites at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Binay branded such move as “insidious plan clad in the guise of good intentions.”
ABAD BEHIND CHA-CHA?
He named Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad as one of those allegedly advising the President to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Binay’s allegation was virtually confirmed by Senate President Franklin Drilon when he said that Abad suggested a meeting among the members of the ruling Liberal Party to tackle President Aquino’s views on Charter change and term extension.
“Secretary Abad suggested that a meeting should be held, I endorsed that but, as of now, I do not know when is the schedule,” Drilon said in an interview with reporters after attending the mass for Ninoy at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
‘INSURANCE AGAINST THREAT OF ANOTHER DICTATORSHIP’
Binay reiterated his objection to clip the Supreme Court’s powers, noting that “checks and balances are the foundations of democracy.”
In previous statements, Binay had slammed “those advising President Aquino to pursue a course that will lead to a frontal confrontation with the Supreme Court,” saying that they are only bringing the country “to the brink of a political and constitutional crisis.”
President Aquino had earlier said in an interview with a local television network that he is open to constitutional amendments, claiming that the judicial overreach of the High Tribunal has allegedly disrupted the balance among the three branches of government.
But Binay said: “The Constitution has mandated the judiciary with both the power and duty ‘to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch of instrumentality of government.”
“This provision was included to prevent a submissive and subservient judiciary that bends to the wills of one branch, or as was the case during martial law, of one man. Such power is our insurance against the threat of another dictatorship and the ensuing encroachment upon our liberties,” he stressed.
FOR TERM EXTENSION
While some are against term extension, Presidential Security Group chaplain Monsignor Daniel Tansip favors it.
“If I had my way, I’m just an ordinary priest, on this personal note, I hope the President’s service will not end so he can continue the gains he has achieved in the straight path,” Tansip said.
Meanwhile, Binay related how he get to know Ninoy when he was part of the team that defended him in court during the rule of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Other members of the legal team were topnotch lawyers like Lorenzo Tañada, Jovito Salonga, Rene Saguisag, and Joker Arroyo.
“Simple lang ang trabaho ko noon, at iyon ay ang magbuhat ng mga libro at dokumento para sa iba’t ibang kaso ng mga dakila at batikang abugado gaya nina Lorenzo Tañada, Jovito Salonga, Rene Saguisag, Joker Arroyo, at napakarami pang iba (My job was simple then. I was tasked to carry the books and documents of the case for topnotch lawyers Lorenzo Tañada, Jovito Salonga, Rene Saguisag, Joker Arroyo, and many others),” Binay said. (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling)