Vice President Jejomar Binay and Manuel Roxas 2nd made a pitch for their respective presidential bids in next year’s elections on Monday’s national convention of the National Unity Party (NUP), which is composed mainly of politicians allied with the once-powerful Lakas-Kamp–CMD party.
While he has yet to make any formal declaration of his political plans for 2016, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also attended the event dishing out his aspirations for the country before 500 NUP members at the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
Pre-election survey frontrunner, Sen. Grace Poe, on the other hand, failed to address the NUP due to other commitments.
Binay, Marcos, and Roxas presented their platforms for the government and boasted their respective achievements in public service.
NUP – the third largest political party in the country with at least 27 congressmen, eight governors and nine mayors – will form a committee to evaluate the presidential hopefuls.
They will announce their stand before the start of campaign period for the national candidates in February next year.
“Everybody presented their platforms very well. Lahat po sila magagaling,” NUP president, Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia said.
“The party’s ideals are for national unity, development and progress. We will support the candidate whom we see as the one who could probably achieve those ideals,” he added.
In their respective speeches, Binay and Marcos criticized the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd over supposed selective justice and vindictiveness.
Binay said that if he gets elected president, his administration will be known as a unifying and healing administration that will put an end to vindictiveness.
According to Binay, he will make sure that the rule of law will prevail and will not allow selective justice to prevail because as a lawyer, he knows what is right and what is wrong.
“If there is enough evidence to file charges then be it, but not to the point of choosing who to charge and it will be found later that there was really no basis,” the vice president noted, adding that being place under hospital arrest is the same as being detained.
Binay said he also plans to strengthen relationship between the legislative and the judiciary by conducting regular meetings and consultations with members of the other branches of government.
Binay expressed belief conducting regular dialogues with the legislative and the judiciary could help prevent problems similar to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), that were both declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
He also intends to conduct regular meetings with Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), which the Aquino administration never did.
The vice president also promised decentralization by allowing the local government units to exercise all the power and authorities provided by law and lessening the intervention of the national government.
“I will make you experience what decentralization really means, you must be able to exercise all the powers and authority given by law,” Binay said.
Binay admitted he is considering Marcos as his running mate in the 2016 elections.
Marcos meanwhile said he may announce his political decision next week.
Marcos, in his speech, blamed President Aquino’s adversarial style as the reason why the Philippines is facing the same problems for the past several years.
Marcos said vengeance and divisiveness seems to have been part of government policy and instead promoting unity, it brought division and unending politicking.
“Instead of uniting the nation, we ended up fighting each other. Politics is not being set aside even after the elections,” Marcos stressed in Filipino.
“That (unifying leadership) is what we are looking for. That is what we have to make sure, because many years of this confrontational and polarizing politics has done us no good,” he said in his speech.
Marcos added because of the adversarial kind of governance, poverty incidence remained unchanged, unemployment rate is still high, and there has been no progress in public transport, communication and even water and energy supply.
The administration instead of working on providing good services to the people had focused on how to go after those who are not allied with them, to give favors to their allies and party mates, he said.
“All of these problems have come up because of the paralysis that comes from this confrontational kind of policy of government,” he added.
But the Senator made it clear that he is not saying that the government should stop going after public officials who have done wrong during the time that they were in office, noting that they should be made answerable but it should be left to the courts.
“Let us allow the wheels of justice to turn and allow the judicial system to take care of any such allegation, and to defend whether or not this is something that needs to be pursued,” he explained adding that it should not be a central part of government policy.
Roxas, who was last to take the stage, said Binay and Marcos seem to have not fully convinced the members of NUP because a lot of them still stayed in the convention to listen to him speak.
Roxas received the warmest introduction and applause. He was described by Capiz Rep. Fred Castro as the “Aswang ng Capiz.”
Urging the NUP to support “Daang Matuwid 2016,” Roxas boasted of the good things the Aquino administration had done in the country, including the bottom-up budgeting (BUB) project.
“I’m determined to stand up before you and seek your approval to let the Straight Path continue in 2016. The coming electoral fight will not be easy, but that does not discourage me because I’m confident, you will all be with me,” Roxas, the standard bearer of the Liberal Party, said in Filipino.
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI