In a barely veiled attack on the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, embattled Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday night enumerated the chief complaints of the public that, according to him, his detractors must deal with.
"There is a power crisis, the rising prices of oil and other commodities, the rampant crimes plaguing the country, the hellish traffic jams, unsafe MRT and LRT, the recurrent flooding and the wrath of nature that we must all prepare for," Binay said in a speech at the 32nd anniversary celebration of the Lions' Club District 301-D2 at the Manila Hotel.
"But instead of giving all their time and thoughts to achieve solutions to these problems, they chose to advance their own interests by destroying my name and those of my loved ones," he said, referring to administration allies in the Senate who have mounted an inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati during his term as the city's mayor.
He said those members of the Senate had been blinded by their ambition and were now using a blue ribbon subcommittee to "unjustly persecute" him and his family.
Gift of sight
Binay praised the members of Lions' Club District 301-D2 for their "first sight" project that offers free prescription glasses and cataract treatment to indigent people.
"The gift of sight is one of the most priceless gifts that anyone can give to a fellow human being. I only wish that you could have extended that gift to some members of the Senate who have been so blinded by political ambition," Binay said.
"Their recent activities and actuations are no longer in aid of legislation but in aid of political persecution. Indeed, they have made the Senate inquiry a platform to unjustly persecute my person and office, my family, and in fact anyone who has had even the remotest association with me," Binay said.
Then, without directly referring to President Aquino, Binay pointed to many pressing problems of the country.
"We thought they had been solved in the 1990s. But they are here like ghosts haunting us now," Binay said.
Asked later if his statement was directed at the administration of President Aquino, Binay said: "It was not against the President. I was just saying a factual information."
The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is investigating allegations of corruption against Binay, including the alleged overpricing of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, which was constructed when he was the city's mayor.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, the principal witness in the inquiry, has accused Binay of taking 13 per cent of the cost of municipal infrastructure projects in kickbacks and concealing assets, including an 8,877-square-meter property in Comembo village in Makati and a 350-hectare farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.
In his speech, Binay said President Aquino had been praising him for his performance as head of the key shelter agencies. "I never thought of tarnishing someone else's name to get what I wanted to achieve," he said.