Vice President Jejomar Binay did not attend the Cabinet performance pledge session in Malacañang last week, but his absence does not mean that he no longer supports President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Malacañang said on Saturday.
“Binay wasn’t there. I did not see him during the Cabinet Performance Pledge session,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.
He was referring to the meeting on Wednesday where Cabinet members committed to give their best in the last 20 months of their term.
Coloma said Binay’s absence does not mean that the Vice President is getting ready to part ways with the President’s allies.
As housing czar and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers, Binay has a Cabinet rank.
“Just because he wasn’t there, it does not mean that he is not backing such initiative. The important thing here is to understand the context of the move . . . that all agencies and Cabinet-level departments should perform to achieve goals because we are practicing performance-based budgeting,” Coloma said.
The camp of Binay said he was not able to attend the meeting because he spoke before the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
“The speech before the PCCI last Wednesday has been set in advance and provided the Vice President opportunity to interact with the business community on their concerns. While the Vice President was not present at the cabinet meeting, the Key Shelter Agencies (KSAs) remain committed to fulfill their mandate,” Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesperson, told The Manila Times.
“For the past four years, the housing agencies have succeeded in generating 749,965 housing units valued at P358 billion. They have also instituted sector-wide reforms that stopped the abused of workers’ funds, freed more resources, opened programs for the informal sector and encouraged greater private sector participation,” he said.
“These achievements would not have happened without the support of President Aquino and the housing sector under Vice President Binay is grateful to the President,” Salgado added.
The President earlier said that he assured Binay that he would not tolerate the fabrication of evidence against the Vice President amid allegations that he pocketed kickbacks from the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 when he was the mayor of Makati City.
A sub-committee of the Senate’s blue ribbon panel led by Senators Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano are looking into the allegation and other charges leveled against Binay. The Vice President has refused to attend the committee hearings, claiming that the senators had prejudged him.
Aquino called for the Cabinet performance pledge meeting to reinforce the commitment of Cabinet members to the administration’s priority programs which according to Coloma include infrastructure development for airports, seaports, decongesting ports, completion of the rehabilitation work for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, completion of the second road connector for the South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway, improving health services and securing sufficient energy supply.
Coloma said the meeting was part of the administration’s program to promote good governance.
“From the start, we have had this concept of performance-based budgeting, performance-based bonuses and part of this entire process since then is committing to achieve certain goals,” he said.