VICE President Jejomar Binay has left the Cabinet of President Noynoy Aquino. No explanation was given for his exit. However, one of Binay’s spokespersons, Joey Salgado, earlier said that the resignation letter had reached the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. A day later, the President accepted the resignation.

The Vice President’s resignation did not surprise of some legislators. Sen. Francis Escudero said he respects the decision as the Vice President may want to focus on his presidential run in the 2016 elections. After all, now is the time when appointed officials begin resigning from their appointed positions.

Escudero said that this actually signals the so called gun start of the 2016 elections where candidates start concentrating on their respective campaigns. He hoped that President Aquino will immediately appoint Binay’s replacement at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Other members of the Cabinet have also been encouraged to resign because of next year’s elections so as not to adversely affect the government’s ability to deliver basic services.

For Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Binay’s resignation is a positive development for the Aquino administration. Now, there is no more inconsistency in the “Tuwid na Daan” slogan of the Aquino administration, Trillanes said. More importantly, it can now go all-out against the Vice President, he added.

Trillanes is one of the senators pushing for Binay’s prosecution for corruption in relation to the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II that was implemented when the Vice President was still mayor of Makati City. Binay is also accused of other corrupt acts.

Meanwhile, the Philippines fell seven places in the latest Global Peace Index report owing to the country’s maritime dispute with China and the ongoing military drive against rebel groups. According to reports, the Philippines placed 141st (out of 162 countries). In 2014 its rank was 134th.

The South China Sea, reports noted, remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index. The Philippines ranked second to the last in the Asia-Pacific region, besting only reclusive North Korea, which placed 153rd.

Because of the dispute, the Philippines has conducted military exercises with the United States and just recently Japan. While a Philippine military spokesman said that the military exercise with Japan did not have anything to do with the dispute, the planes of the two countries flew near the South China Sea.

China reacted by cautioning the Philippines, United States and Japan against playing up the military drills. The spokesman of the foreign ministry of China said that countries should not hype up the tension in the area.

Japan actually has a territorial dispute also with Japan over some islands in the East China Sea.