A political activist said on Sunday President Benigno Aquino 3rd has begun a smear campaign against Vice President Jejomar Binay and other possible presidential contenders from the opposition to sabotage their chances of winning.
“It is clearly hypocritical for President Aquino to unleash his attack dogs against VP Binay and other leaders of the opposition, while shielding himself and his allies from similar demands and mechanisms for accountability,” Dr. Carol Araullo, chairperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), which has anti-government leanings, said in a statement.
Araullo also said Aquino was obviously behind the summary dismissal by the administration-dominated Congress of the three impeachment complaints against him,
Bayan was among the complainants in the three articles of impeachment against the President. All three were dismissed for lack of substance.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. quickly dispelled the accusation, saying the 2016 elections has never entered their minds.
“Elections are farthest from our minds presently,” Coloma told The Manila TImes.
Araullo said the President enjoys even larger control over the Senate, where the family of Binay is being investigated for alleged fraud. The Senate inquiry is clearly “politically motivated,” she said.
“The administration-led Senate has had only one inquiry on the P144-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program [DAP] in contrast to the three inquiries already held regarding the P2.7-billion Makati parking building,” Araullo said, referring to the alleged overpricing of the Makati parking facility which is the focus of the Senate investigation.
She predicted more “attacks” against Binay to diminish his chances in the elections.
“Vice President Jejomar Binay’s early public announcement of his presidential bid and his high approval ratings certainly invites moves by his opponents in 2016 to question his track record as a public official, most especially expose possible wrongdoing along the lines of graft and corruption,” Araullo said.
Coloma argued that President Aquino had no hand in Binay’s predicament.
“[The] President’s focus is on implementing reforms and ensuring permanence of institutional changes,” he said.
Araullo said Bayan has “no illusions” that the “latest selective investigation and prosecution of the political opposition” would end up with a better government, neither it is part of an honest and thoroughgoing effort to clean up government.
“We can expect that once the objectives of demolishing VP Binay’s bid for the presidency is achieved, such charges will be shelved and forgotten like yesterday’s newspaper. Still, the Vice President should explain,” she said.
The persecution of the political opposition is partly aimed at “perpetuating and defending the plunder of the national coffers under his watch through the redesigned pork barrel system,” Araullo said.
Coloma also said Malacañang sees nothing wrong with Binay announcing his intention to tap business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan as his running mate in 2016.
He said he respects Binay’s decision and that it is the right of the Vice President to make public his political plans.
Binay has said Pangilinan is among the personalities he is considering to be his running mate, citing Pangilinan’s track record as a “successful businessman.”
Pangilinan has declared he will not run for any government position, saying “there is no political blood that runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way.”
WITH A REPORT FROM CATHERINE VALENTE