MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay held an almost three-hour private meeting last Tuesday evening at Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang, the President’s official residence, as Binay faced an investigation and likely impeachment charges initiated by administration officials and allies.
When asked about the meeting, Binay confirmed reports that he and Aquino met and talked but he refused to disclose details except that he told the President that he never thought Aquino was among those who are part of the alleged demolition job against him.
“Ganoon ang tiwala ko sa kaniya (That’s how much I trust him),” Binay said. “Our friendship remains strong. It has been a friendship up to issues of life and death and it has been tried. In fact, our friendship is even becoming stronger.”
When asked if they discussed about the corruption allegations against him, Binay said that it was not a subject of their talk.
“Wala, hindi namin pinag-usapan (We did not talk about it),” he said. “It was a friendly talk. You should know the President…. especially kung kaibigan, walang pulitika, walang problema. (You should know the president… especially as a friend, no politics, no problem.) Kaibigan, kaibigan, How are you ba yun? (Friend, friend, how are you?)”
According to Binay, the meeting also ended in a ‘jovial mood’ after both affirmed their friendship.
“Nagtapos na jovial. Nagtatawanan about the old days. Ganun naman yun, eh (It ended in a jovial mood. We laughed about the old days. That’s how it has been),” Binay said.
All is Well
A few hours prior to the meeting, Binay criticized for the first time certain decisions of the Aquino administration for its ‘selective justice’ and perceived biases against the opposition during an open forum at the 5th MCLE Accredited National Convention of Public Attorneys at the Manila Hotel.
Binay’s attack against the current administration at the convention started rumors that all is not well between him and Aquino.
Binay’s spokesman for political affairs Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla later said Binay was only ‘speaking as a lawyer to fellow lawyers’ when he made his outspoken remarks.
“Before the fire might get too big, and fully aware that some people might take advantage of the situation, they have threshed it out among themselves what the Vice President really meant.” Remulla said. “They talked about the remarks of the Vice President. It appears that all is well. The Vice President was in very good spirits when he left the Palace.”
The Vice President “remains an ally of the President … and more importantly, he continues to be a real friend of the Aquino family,” Remulla added.
With report from Cyra Moraleda