Cayetano tells 2016 bets: Sign declaration vs graft

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


SENATE Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano challenged Vice President Jejomar Binay and other presidential aspirants to sign a declaration of principle and pledge against graft and corruption in the government.

In a press conference, Cayetano said politicians running for the highest position should take a strong position of ridding the government of graft and corruption.

Cayetano had earlier announced his intention to run for president.

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"I am preparing for the presidency but it is still up to the party. I am focusing on my programs. To be honest I don't know yet if this is really the time," he said.

In this light, Cayetano urged Binay to announce on whether he will allow justice to prevail especially that it is the money of the people.

Cayetano said: "Pirmahan natin ang declaration na ito. Na kahit kapartido natin pag mali ay hindi natin kukunsintihin. Hindi pwede na huling huli na base sa ebidensiya ay pagtatakpan pa tapos ay ang eleksyon ang gagawin pantapal para matabunan ang mga kamalian."

"The Declaration of Principle and Pledge is like a crusade and a promise to the Filipino people. We should be accountable for what we do. All government officials should have public accountability," said Cayetano, as he raised his challenge to Binay and those aspiring for the presidency to sign an agreement against graft and corruption in the government

Cayetano said justice must prevail no matter what, as he described this move as a political combat waged on behalf of the Filipino people.

"We have to really pronounce our strong position against graft and corruption. Yung mga maliliit na magnanakaw hinahayaan natin na mabulok sa kulungan bakit yung malalaki nakakaalpas at special treatment pa. We should really make a strong stand and let the people know that we will not allow any wrongdoing under our leadership," Cayetano said.

The majority leader also asked Binay to make a strong pronouncement on whether or not he believes that senators linked in the pork barrel scams specifically Senator Jinggoy Estrada are guilty or not.

Estrada, meanwhile, is reportedly among those being considered by Binay to be his running mate in 2016.

"This is about the policy and the kind of government that they want to have. Mabigat sa akin ang sinabi ni VP Binay. Kailangan magpakita siya na hindi siya biased. So if you say it's a dud, kailangan malaman ng tao kung ano ba talaga ang posisyon mo ditto," Cayetano said.

"Kung hindi po siya takot dapat malaman ni Juan dela Cruz kung bakit hinihimok niya si Senator Estrada na tumakbong Vice President niya. Ano ang mga rason kung bakit siya ang napipili mong VP mo?" said Cayetano.

Cayetano further said the positions of President and Vice President are impeachable positions and "meaning only Congress can remove both the President or the Vice President from their office by impeachment."

Cayetano said that all ongoing cases at the Sandiganbayan against an elected President or Vice President will automatically stop for lack of jurisdiction by the Sandiganbayan.

Earlier, Estrada specifically questioned Cayetano's move in asking the Supreme Court to designate special courts to speed up trials on the pork barrel scam case.

Cayetano made the proposal late last month amid his fears that the case might be abandoned once Vice President Jejomar Binay "wins as president" in the 2016 polls.

Estrada, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who are Binay's allies, are charged with plunder along with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and 34 others before the Ombudsman.

Estrada said some "grandstanding" senators were using the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the alleged pork barrel racket to "further their political interest" and pin him, Revilla, and Enrile down.

In his privilege speech, Estrada said he was surprised that his colleagues started to attack him when the pork barrel scam issue emerged last year.

Cayetano who considers Estrada as a friend said that friendship is not a reason to abandon his advocacy against graft and corruption.

While he was close to Jinggoy, Cayetano said he still voted for the impeachment of of the latter's father, now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

While former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo was his godfather in his wedding, Cayetano said he also voted for the impeachment of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Cayetano also belied Estrada's claim that he was just grandstanding.

"Gusto ko lang po ipakita na hindi pagpapasikat ang ginagawa natin dito. This is the search for the truth," he said.

Estrada "went beyond" by accusing his colleagues of using the pork barrel issue to serve their political interest instead of directly answering the charges against him.

"Until now you haven't answered us. Whether the projects had been delivered or these were ghost projects," Cayetano told Estrada during their confrontation in the Senate.

Cayetano said he is challenging the opposition particularly Vice President Binay to make a strong pronouncement on his position about this issue.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who also vowed to strengthen the government's campaign against graft and corruption, said the challenge raised by Cayetano is valid.

"Public accountability must not be ignored by people who express their intention to serve our country. We have to educate the people that it is time to put a stop on this kind of system in the government," Pimentel said.

He assured that in his term as a legislator, he will make sure that corruption will be exposed and will give the Filipino people more powers through good governance. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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