Gringo: Noy successor should continue daang matuwid

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Whoever is elected president on May 9, 2016 should continue the daang matuwid (straight path) governance and anti-corruption core advocacy and policy of President Aquino, Sen. Gregorio Honasan said yesterday.

He told ABS-CBN News Channel that daang matuwid should be continued so there would be “sustainability, continuity and predictability” in governance.

Honasan, running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has described the Aquino administration as “palpak” (failure) and “manhid” (insensitive), said they would sustain the gains of the outgoing administration if they win in May.

He pointed out that he agreed to become Binay’s running mate on condition that he would not be made a “deodorant” of the beleaguered Vice President, who is facing corruption charges. Binay had earlier denied the charges.

Asked if he thinks the Vice President is corrupt as his critics claim, Honasan said he could not be the judge of such corruption issue.

“To say that he is corrupt because he is perceived as corrupt is unfair. Let the legal process determine that. I will believe what the courts say,” he added.

Honasan revealed that he consulted Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile about his vice presidential run.

“He told me to be careful because I was about to make an important decision in my life. He did not know that I intended to run when, out of courtesy, he accepted the invitation to attend the launching of the candidacy of Sen. Bongbong (Ferdinand) Marcos,” he said.

He said he did not know if Enrile was supporting Marcos, one of his vice presidential rivals. Honasan and Enrile, Marcos regime defense minister, were among the key players of the 1986 EDSA Revolution that toppled the Marcoses from power.

Honasan said he did not think that Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada, who also attended the launching of Marcos’ vice presidential bid, have abandoned Binay.

“Abandon is too harsh. Maybe they have gone their separate political trajectories,” he said.

As for the charge that he pocketed P1.7 million of his pork barrel funds, he said, “I could have raised that amount from a bank loan or from friends passing the hat around. It is just an information that the DOJ (Department of Justice) filed with the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation. There is no criminal complaint yet.”

Meanwhile, former Arroyo administration spokesman Ricardo Saludo said yesterday that the incidence of criminality and smuggling has worsened under President Aquino.

“In fact, the number of crimes and the magnitude of smuggling have gone up three times,” he claimed at a forum in Quezon City. Saludo is head of the Center for Strategy, Enterprise and Intelligence.

Citing records from a World Bank study that gathered export figures from countries doing trade with the Philippines, he said there were goods that entered the country between 2010 and 2014 that were either undervalued or wrongly declared.

“There was a discrepancy of $7.9 billion in 2009 and $26.6 billion in 2014. This means that smuggled goods were worth that much during the period covered,” he said.

He accused the current leadership of “not being serious” in stopping smuggling and looking into reported smuggling cases.

Possible withdrawal

Honasan said he would withdraw as running mate of Binay if the latter is found guilty of corruption charges against him.

Honasan said the corruption allegations against Binay have yet to be proven through due process and courts of law. 

“Who said he’s guilty? If he is found guilty or innocent as a candidate or as an elected official I will be the first to say, ‘I’m sorry Mr. Vice President through due process and in proper courts of law you have been found guilty or innocent as a candidate or as an elected official,’” Honasan said.

Binay and Honasan wereformer foes during coup attempts against then President Corazon Aquino. 

Binay, UNA chairman, is accused of receiving kickbacks from various infrastructure projects during his term as mayor of Makati City.

The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict Binay, his son dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and 22 others over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

 “The ombudsman knows what it is doing, but the courts of law have the final say on the determination of guilt or innocence,” Honasan said.  – With Helen Flores


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