World Bulletin / News Desk
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay announced his resignation Monday from the cabinet in a move a senator said was “no surprise” ahead of next year’s general election.
In a statement to ABS-CBN News, Binay’s camp said the resignation was “irrevocable" and submitted to the office of President Benigno Aquino III by his daughter, Makati city Abigail Binay.
Last week, Binay had criticized Aquino’s “daang matuwid" -- or straight path -- slogan, casting doubt on whether government officials were staying true to Aquino’s governance mantra.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda had responded to the comment by saying it was up to Binay whether he would cut his ties with the cabinet.
Following the resignation announcement, Senator Chiz Escudero said Binay’s intention to run for president was public knowledge, and political parties and prospective candidates were already gearing up for the election.
“This signals the so-called gun start of the 2016 elections where appointed officials begin resigning from their appointive posts in order to concentrate on their respective campaigns,” he said in a statement.
He expressed respect for the decision, as well as hope that Aquino would immediately appoint a replacement for Binay’s previous posts as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino Workers.
Before becoming vice president, Binay had served as the mayor of Makati -- the financial center of Metro Manila -- for over 10 years until he was succeeded by his son. He had been a loyal supporter of Aquino's late mother, former President Cory Aquino.
Aquino has expressed his support for Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as his top choice of successor.
In the 2010 elections, Roxas had slid down to the vice presidential race after giving way to Aquino in the presidential contest -- but lost to Binay.
Both Binay and his son are under investigation by the Ombudsman’s office under a graft and malversation complaint for alleged anomalies in the construction of a car park project.
Rico Quicho, Binay’s lawyer and spokesman, had dismissed any charges against Binay as “frivolous” in March, saying they were indicative of “how desperate the critics of the Vice President have become in order to fuel their own personal interests.”
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