Former Interior chief Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, administration standard-bearer in the 2016 elections, is not promising the moon and the stars to get the people’s votes.
“What I can say is that I am not capable [of]stealing from our people. Wala rin akong kakayahang mangako ng langit at lupa para lang kunin ang boto nyo. Ang paglikha ng trabaho, ‘yan ang alam ko, ‘yan ang kaya ko [I also am not capable of promising heaven and earth just to get your votes. Creating jobs is something that I know how to and can do],” Roxas said during a trip in Siquijor over the weekend.
He added, “Stealing is something that he [Vice President Jejomar Binay] does. If he stole from Makati [City], he’ll do the same for the entire Philippines. We can’t be at his pity.”
Binay was a former mayor of Makati, regarded as the country’s premier financial district.
Roxas was reacting to repeated criticisms from the Vice President, one of his rivals for the presidency in this year’s polls, that he failed in his tenure as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications and later also as secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Binay, in particular, harped on Roxas faring poorly as DILG chief, especially when Yolanda–the strongest typhoon recorded in the world in 2013–killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed billions in homes and infrastructure in the Visayas region.
Roxas instead challenged Binay to face allegations of corruption.
In May 2015, the Court of Appeals ordered Binay’s assets of P600 million frozen in connection with an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building 2 worth P2.28 billion.
In October 2015, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also ordered Binay’s son, Erwin, dismissed as Makati City (Metro Manila) mayor and perpetually disqualified him from holding public office over grave misconduct and serious dishonesty also in connection with Building 2.
“I have done my part for our country. As for him [Binay], he has a lot to say about that. He should instead respond to the corruption cases hurled against him like the overpriced building that he built,” Roxas said.
He dismissed the Vice President’s claim that the Aquino administration has been underspending for too long.
Roxas cited public spending growing by 17 percent last June, according to the Department of Finance.
“The government is just making sure that government coffers are not being siphoned off, that it [public spending]will benefit the people. That’s why the government is very careful in spending,” he said.