PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday Vice President Jejomar Binay should give constructive criticisms as a Cabinet member, otherwise he was free to leave the administration.
But Binay on Monday immediately issued a short statement in response to Aquino’s remarks. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” he said.
Aquino, in an interview in Laguna, said he was only able to read two paragraphs of the report on Binay’s latest criticisms that the administration had fallen “embarrassingly short on performance” on the issues of inadequate mass transportation, the power crisis and the deteriorating peace-and-order conditions.
“If the vice president really said that, perhaps we should remember two things: One, if he thinks that we have not done enough, then as a member of the Cabinet he should advise us how to improve the system.
And that is not a choice but an obligation as a member of the Cabinet,” Aquino said.
“And if thinks that there is something wrong in the direction we are taking, he is free not to join us. At the minimum, as the vice president of the land, if he has criticisms, then there should also be solutions so these criticisms become constructive.
“And to be clear, if he has solutions, I don’t recall hearing these in previous Cabinet meetings. So if he really has solutions, I hope he shares those with us. The question really is why he does not share these solutions with the Cabinet.”
Aquino on Monday also slammed Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello for criticizing his administration too much and for thinking like a traditional politician.
He said Bello should try running for public office in 2016 to implement his programs.
“He has a lot of complaints,” Aquino said.
“If he thinks his visions are the right ones, he should try running in 2016. If he becomes President, he will be able to implement those visions.”
But when asked if he still trusted Binay, Aquino said the corruption allegations against the vice president happened way before he joined the Cabinet.
“And if we talk about his assignments with regards to housing, I think we can point to a lot of achievements in the housing sector under his watch,” he said.
“And the vice president also enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”
Aquino, however, acknowledged that the ongoing probe on the vice president was a “credit to the current regime” that the wheels of justice spares no one regardless of political affiliation or status.
Binay is currently the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser for OFW affairs.
He has been accused of getting kickbacks from the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building II.
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