There should always be open forum, Binay asserts
By GUIEN GARMA
[UPDATED WITH AUDIO: September 19, 2015] Despite the seemingly heated questions from the students of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Vice President Jejomar Binay says he indeed wanted to accommodate more questions from the students who attended the Forum on Transparency, Governance, and Social Transformation held Tuesday afternoon at the DL Umali Hall.
“Ako, I always have taken the position na kung maaari, laging merong open forum. Hindi ka makakasiguro kung yung sinabi mo e yun ang gusto nilang mapakinggan,” he said in an interview with the media on the sidelines of Tuesday’s forum.
Binay added that it is only through open fora like yesterday’s event that one can answer questions.
“Pagka [walang] open forum, [parang] may tinatago ka… malaking isyu yun,” he said.
The open forum was attempted to be closed multiple times during the program, but the Vice President was willing to accommodate more questions.
Even after the interview with the media on the sidelines of Tuesday’s forum, students still approached him to ask questions. The Vice President entertained their questions.
When asked whether he saw Tuesday’s forum as a challenge, he recognized that it was the nature of UP, having been a student activist himself during the Martial Law era.
“UP is known for academic freedom,” he said.
How about in the Senate?
Binay was also asked whether or not he would be willing to face the same treatment of questions at the Senate, where the Blue Ribbon Subcommittee is conducting hearings about corruption allegations against Binay.
“Ang problema doon ay ang demeanor [ng mga senador]. At least dito, walang bastusan,” the Vice President said.
When asked if he would go to the Senate hearings on the condition that other senators would conduct these hearings, Binay answered “Kung magpapalit ng tao at may guarantee na walang bastusan.”
Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Antonio Trillanes IV lead the subcommittee hearing, which has been ongoing for a year already.
During the open forum, Binay even compared the Senate hearing to the AlDub phenomenon, from the so-called kalyeserye of noontime program Eat Bulaga.
Upcoming 2016 run
Binay was also asked by the media about his upcoming candidacy in the 2016 national elections.
When asked if Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. would become his running mate, he simply said “Secret!”
He also gave little details on his senatorial lineup, Binay said that it is still under evaluation of the selection committee of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). [P]