MANILA — ‘Magpakalalaki ka.’
In a strongly worded letter addressed to Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay dared the senator to push through with his plans of conducting an audit of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Prior to the said letter dated June 24, Binay resigned from President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet as head of the HUDCC on June 22. Aquino readily accepted the resignation.
In the letter addressed to Pimentel, Binay wrote:
“Obviously, your statement is but part of the demolition by perception employed by you and your Senate cohorts for the last ten months. I hope this is not a bluff. I dare you: Magpapakalalaki ka (be a man). I expect nothing less than a continuation of your demolition campaign against me.”
Vice Presidential Spokesperson Joey Salgado confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
In a phone interview with reporters, Pimentel said he will still request for the HUDCC audit.
“Gagawin ko naman talaga ‘yon (I intend to do it anyway),” Pimentel said over the phone. “The audit [has] to be conducted, no one has an idea or inkling as to the result.”
Pimentel also clarified that the audit is not a part of any “demolition job.”
“The audit could even clear him, so therefore he can use it for positive spin. So, how can this be part of a demolition job? This is just a logical proposal because somebody is leaving an office,” Pimentel was quoted saying in an ABS-CBN report.
When asked about Binay’s strong words, Pimentel said, “May mga kanto speak pa. ‘Di ko maintindihan kung bakit niya kino-connect sa demolition job. I did not focus on the kanto-speak, but nagulat din nga ako na, how come those words were inserted there?”
(He [Binay] even used ‘kanto speak’ I don’t understand why he is connecting this to a demolition job. I did not focus on the ‘kanto speak,’ but I was still surprised, I mean how come those words were inserted there?)
Upon receiving the letter, Pimentel released the letter to the media. According to a Rappler report, a member of the Office of the Vice President left the letter on a table in the senator’s office.
Aside from leaving the HUDCC, Binay also resigned as the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.