By Deighton Acuin


Former Vice President Jejomar Binay is now on the hot seat of fresh tirades from Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as the former second-in-command criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In his daily commentary, Panelo asked Binay’s record and his lifestyle, also questioned what good he has done for the Philippines during his tenure.

He also raised the suspicion that the former might run for public office after making fierce statements against the administration.

“Si Jojo Binay, nandiyan ka pa pala. Akala ko nagretiro ka na. Mukhang tatakbo ka yata. Ano kayang tatakbuhan nito? baka tatakbong mayor, tatakbong congressman,” Panelo said.

“Ito nagpapalabas na mga maaanghang pahayag. Sabi ba naman niya ‘Compassion and common sense.’ Naku ha? coming from you? Ikaw naman. Ikaw galing ka na diyan. Naging bise presidente ka na. Sabihin mo nga sa amin kung ano naman ang magandang nagawa mo bilang bise presidente. Hay naku Jojo, you got a long way,” Panelo added.

Binay earlier questioned the alleged lack of common sense and compassion in some officials as he opposed attempts of imposing “oppressive policies” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He also sought a moratorium in an increase in government fees until the public health ermgency comes to an end.

Panelo did not mince words when he talked regarding the former vice president’s wealth ever since he joined government. He also recalled Binay used to be “ordinary” worker and wore “humble” clothes during struggles against martial law era.

“After that, bigla kang… look at you now. Saan ka ba nakatira ngayon? Yung mga anak mo? Mga exclusive. Eh kami, kung saan kami nakatira noon, doon pa rin kami nakatira

“And then naging bise presidente ka, nakinabang ka sa paglalakad natin sa langsangan. Tapos eto ka naman bumabanat ka naman,” he added.

On February 17, Binay wrote a Manila Bulletin column titled “Compassion and Common sense,” taking a shot on government’s “serial fumbling” in fighting with the impacts of pandemic.

He said the government seemed to never learn when attempting to impose higher fees for mandatory inspections in vehicles, which was also chided by motorists.

He mentioned the government’s controversial policy of motorcycle barrier between the driver and passenger, that was later scrapped due to criticisms.

“And the propensity of some government officials to insist on imposing these oppressive policies, often accompanied by threats of punitive response for non-compliance, exhibits insensitivity and dearth of compassion so badly needed in these times,” Binay said.

The former vice president suggested that the moratorium on increase in government fees until the pandemic is over could be a “wiser course of action.”

“It’s a simple solution, plain common sense. But it seems to have eluded most government officials,” he said.

As the country remained under lockdown, Binay observed the government seemed “more fixated with imposing additional burdens on already burdened public rather than extending comfort and relief.”

“It is more concerned with silencing critics, red-tagging its enemies, dispensing pork barrel, and controlling the narrative, rather than effectively controlling the spread of the virus,” Binay said.

However, Panelo belied Binay’s claims against government. He said the government actually exerting efforts against COVID-19, protecting public health, and providing subsidies to pandemic-hit sectors, opposite to allegations it was adding public burden.

He also rejected Binay’s accusations of silencing critics as baseless and just an insults.

“That is not silencing. That is, Jojo, responding to you and to all of you,” Panelo said.

On pork barrel allegations, Panelo asked Binay what he did to address such a system among his party mates in Congress.

“We’re not controlling the narrative. You’re the one spreading the false narratives. We’re trying to correct them, we’re trying to straighten them out,” he said.

Binay was a longtime mayor of Makati City before being elected as vice president in 2010. He ran and lost in the 2016 presidential elections.

In 2019, he failed to make a political comeback when he lost in the congressional race in Makati City’s first district.

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