AT LEAST 27 incumbent administration lawmakers and mayors, including members of the ruling Liberal Party, were a “no show” in the campaign rally led by President Benigno Aquino III in Bohol Wednesday after they “defected en masse.”
They turned opposition and dumped Aquino’s anointed, Manuel Roxas II, in favor of his arch-rival Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
Aquino, who designated himself as the campaign manager of Roxas, was in Bohol to campaign for Roxas but was surprised to find their allies joining the Binay camp.
On the eve of the President’s arrival and the Liberals’ rally, incumbent officials and big political groups in the province shifted alliances, turned opposition and forged a rainbow coalition dubbed “Bohol United Opposition” to back Binay’s presidential bid.
Apparently irked by the defection, Roxas criticized Binay’s getting the support of administration allies and branded as a “rip off” of his platform Binay’s promise to create jobs for the poor.
The mayors and a lawmaker, who did a complete turnaround, were members of the ruling Liberal Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Nacionalista Party and PDP-Laban.
Roxas, who claims he has created more than a million jobs in the business process outsourcing industry, has also been repeating he would continue to create more jobs.
In a sortie on Tuesday, Binay reiterated he would also focus on generating jobs for the poor.
“You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” LP spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.
“So we’re pleased that Vice President Binay is aping Mar’s platform on increasing jobs in the manufacturing and business process outsourcing sectors.
“A crucial difference, however, is that Roxas has already delivered on his promise to create jobs while Binay was only making promises.”
Gutierrez said another difference was that Roxas had a track record unlike Binay.
“If the vice president insists on appropriating Mar’s ideas, why doesn’t he go all the way and copy Mar’s clean record on the use of public funds?” Gutierrez said.
“He can start by showing where Baloloy and Limlingan are, the documents that prove if his properties were bought or inherited, and how much he earned from his projects in Makati. We understand going clean will be extremely difficult for the vice president, but it’s worth a try.”
Gutierrez was referring to Binay’s close aides Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy and Gerry Limlingan, who were alleged to have amassed millions of pesos in kickbacks for the vice president in several anomalous projects in Makati City.
The corruption charges were vehemently denied by Binay and branded the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee probe, led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, as a demolition job against him.
Binay filed libel charges against Trillanes, who was ordered by the court to post bail after a warrant of arrest was issued against him.
While Roxas suffered the most junking, he was not the only one that was abandoned by allies.
The 12 PDP-Laban mayors, led by Loay Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy, also dumped Duterte in favor of Binay. Lim-Imboy is running for governor.
The 27 of 47 administration mayors and vice mayors in Bohol were among those who campaigned for President Aquino and his then running mate Roxas in 2010 and catapulted to victory nine of the 12 senatorial candidates of Team PNoy in the 2013 midterm elections.
Roxas ran but lost to Binay in the 2013 vice presidential race. They are again squaring off in the presidential race in May.
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