When the incoming president of the land failed to clinch any Cabinet post offer with his supposed partner in the executive branch, the nation caught a glimpse of the friction within the incoming “NoyBi” administration – a sign of disunity at this early.
Exactly a week before they take their oaths, Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay expressed that he will not accept any Cabinet post offer from President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. He disclosed this after his meet with Aquino in the latter’s residence on Times St., Quezon City.
“Vice President-elect Binay reiterated to the President-elect his decision conveyed Monday evening, to decline any Cabinet position so as not to burden the president and allow him to focus on the many challenges facing the nation,” the camp of Binay said in a statement after the meeting, Manila Timesreported.
Aquino, meanwhile, told Malaya that “several positions were offered but the VP declined.” Both camps declined to name the Cabinet posts being offered.
Binay, who defeated Aquino’s running mate Sen. Mar Roxas, described the nearly two-hour meeting as “social” and “cordial.” “Magkaibigan naman kami nyan [Aquino and I are friends],” he said.
When asked why the meeting lasted for nearly two hours, Binay said it is proof of how social and cordial the meeting was. “Pagka hindi social, maiksi lang [If not social, the meeting would have been short].”
His rejection of Cabinet post offers from Aquino nonetheless created a buzz in the media and in blogs and online forums. In the eyes of some observers, it was an early sign of the rocky road that the Aquino administration would tread.
A news report two days later by GMANews.tv revealed that Binay rejected offers to lead four government agencies in the next administration: Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the anti-corruption commission that will be formed to probe outgoing President Gloria Arroyo.
In the latest development, Estrada urged Binay to accept the offer to lead the anti-corruption commission, saying he should not be an “NPA, a nonperforming asset,” Inquirer.net reported.
Estrada headed the Presidentia Anti-Crime Commission when he was vice-president under the Ramos administration.
Meanwhile, Albay governer and Aquino’s partymate Joey Salceda said the President-elect “should do everything” to convince Binay to accept a Cabinet post. He said “Binay is an asset of the administration,” a report said.
Not picked for DILG
Aquino indeed offered Binay four choices, but he admitted he did not offer him to head the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the long-time Makati City mayor’s preference.
Earlier before their meet, Aquino said he is considering Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Public Service in 2000, for the DILG portfolio even as Binay publicly expressed that he is eyeing the post.
As if to criticize Binay’s preference for DILG, the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) ran an editorial on June 16 titled “Positioning Binay.” It said that campaigning for a seat in Aquino’s Cabinet “through a media blitz undermines that [Aquino’s] prerogative.”
The editorial even went on further to demand Binay’s answer to allegations of his tenure in Makati City and to support columnist Solita Monsod’s opposition to Binay’s appointment to DILG.
In a rejoinder to PDI, Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said that when the Vice President-elect publicized his preference for the DILG post, “he was stating a preference based on his competence and background as a local chief executive.” He also said the editorial “wrongly interpreted it as an imposition.”
Salgado added that the corruption case filed against Binay was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan in 2006 “for lack of factual basis.”