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Posted in Media Advisory, Press Release with tags , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by jojobinay

I first met President Cory Aquino during the military trial of her husband, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. I was then a young human rights lawyer assisting the defense panel led by legal luminaries former Sen. Lorenzo Tanada and now Senator Joker Arroyo. My job then was to carry the law books and legal documents for the panel during the hearings.

Panunumpa with President Cory
We would often meet at the house of Cory’s mother in Dasmarinas Village. During those meetings, Cory would mingle with us, doting on our group of bright-eyed lawyers who were waging what was then a quixotic battle against a well-entrenched dictatorship. What struck me was her simplicity and her humility. She may have been from a prominent family, but she was down to earth.

When Cory arrived from Boston to bury Ninoy, I never saw her cry in public, not once. Even during the most trying moments of her presidency, she was always calm and composed. I have often wondered how she kept her composure even in the most trying moments. I now believe her quiet fortitude came from her unshakeable belief in God, her belief that He does not give us trials that we cannot bear.

One is hard pressed to imagine the soft-spoken Cory Aquino as a tough woman. But she displayed courage and toughness on several occasions.

She rejected suggestions from her more seasoned political advisers not to make a public appearance during the February 1986 EDSA Revolution. During a meeting at her sister’s house in Wack-Wack, her advisers were telling her “Cory, panalo na tayo. Huwag ka nang lumabas at baka madisgrasya ka pa.” She replied “Akala ko ba ang usapan natin handa tayong lahat to make the ultimate sacrifice? Lalabas ako.” The room fell silent. She then told her brother Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. to look for a venue. Peping then turned to me and told me to look for a venue. I scouted for one. Later that day, Cory stood at the POEA Building at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue and addressed the crowd.

To me, that was the turning point of the EDSA Revolution. When Cory came out and was seen by the people at EDSA, she sent a message to the country that she was ready to assume the presidency.

At the height of the August 1987 coup attempt, I was in a meeting at Joker’s house when Cory called. Joker was then the Executive Secretary. He had stepped out so I took the call. Cory told me that she had been advised by some military commanders to leave Malacanang and to take shelter in Fort Bonifacio. I told her that sounded like a bad idea, and she said “Kaya nga. Kahit na anong mangyari, hindi ako aalis dito.” Afterwards, she gave orders for government forces to attack rebel positions.

And on the day Mrs. Arroyo declared a state of emergency, Cory led a march on Ayala Avenue. A phalanx of anti-riot policemen stood between her and the statue of her husband Ninoy at the corner of Paseo de Roxas. After a lot of pushing and shoving, the policemen gave way and Cory walked quietly to the statue where she laid a wreath. After the brief program, Cory took the microphone. Instead of delivering a political speech, she proceeded to lead the assembly in prayer.

Cory remained humble to the end. On the day she turned over the presidency to her successor, Fidel Ramos, she refused to take the presidential car to the Quirino Grandstand, saying she was no longer the president. After the program, as the guests mingled with the new president, Cory quietly made her way down the grandstand – alone, unattended. I ran to her side and helped her down the stairs and into a waiting car which brought her to Times St. and civilian life.

For those of us who were close to her, Cory was always there for you. Whenever her schedule permits, she would attend my birthday celebrations. And she was someone who was always ready to help in your time of need. When Malacanang suspended me in October 2006, she showed up at the Makati City Hall unannounced, and faced the media to declare her support for me. I am forever grateful to Cory for this gesture, and it will be one moment I will always remember.

Cory appointed me acting mayor of the then municipality of Makati on February 27 1986. I was the first local official to be appointed under her revolutionary government.

The February 1986 EDSA Revolution was more than a collective effort to overthrow a hated dictatorship. EDSA 1986 was for me also an expression of our collective desire for renewal: in ourselves, in our communities, and in our institutions. And Cory was the symbol of our desire for collective renewal.

What we have done in Makati, what we have achieved in Makati – a city that cares for its residents, where everyone, especially the poor, shares in the fruits of a vibrant economy, I believe this was Cory’s vision for our country.

During her presidency and even after, she would always introduce me as her favorite mayor. I must admit that I was thrilled whenever she would say those words. What I am today, I owe to Cory Aquino. I hope I have lived up to her expectations.

Cory Aquino was the personification of humility and selfless service, both as a public official and as private citizen. She was, in all respects, the quintessential servant-leader.

Cory provided us with the leadership we needed during those crucial years of rebuilding our democracy. She was also with us even when she was plain citizen Cory, joining the ranks of nameless, faceless Filipinos each time democracy and truth came under threat.

She was and will always be Cory Aquino, the mother of the nation and the shining example of servant-leadership that we sorely need today.



Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by jojobinay

July 29, 2009

Washington District of Columbia
United States of America

Dear Mr. President,

We shared the wonderful jubilation of the American people during your historic election triumph. When you assumed office early this year, we rejoiced at the audacious hope that you inspired, and on your promise of change for the common good.

We joined all freedom loving people of the world who exulted when you declared that “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent… are on the wrong side of history.”

The Filipino people share the same morals, ideals, and aspirations that define the envied way of life of the American people. Filipinos yearn for the same kind of leaders that the American people yearn for themselves; leaders who are imbued with the right values, lead principled lives, and govern with the highest ethical standards. The ideals of justice, democracy and the upliftment of human rights animate the Filipino people’s dreams of a better world in much the same way that these ideals animate the dreams of the American people.

Upon your invitation, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will have the chance to meet with you on July 30, 2009. In your meeting with Ms. Arroyo, it may serve you well to be mindful of Ms. Arroyo’s legacy of corruption, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, bribery, election cheating, among others. We do not wish to belabor you with the details of these high crimes which have surely been documented and reported by the U.S. State Department to your Office.

The Filipino people also yearn for change from the effrontery of hopelessness and the curse of decadence that Ms. Arroyo represents. In your meeting with Ms. Arroyo, we feel confident that you will make clear to her that a Government that does not comply with Principles of Democracy and respect for Human Rights cannot have the approval and support of your administration. We implore you Mr. President to inspire hope and be an instrument of change for the common good of the long suffering Filipino people.


Teofisto T. Guingona Jr.
Former Vice President

Jovito R. Salonga
Former Senate President

Franklin Drilon
Former Senate President

Camilo D. Quiazon
Former Supreme Court Justice

Wigberto E. Tañada
Former Senator

Sergio R. Osmeña III
Former Supreme Court Justice

Vicente T. Paterno
Former Senator

Agapito A. Aquino
Former Senator

Josefina T. Lichauco
Former Cabinet Secretary/CCM

Francisco I. Chavez
Former Solicitor General

Corazon J. Soliman
Former Cabinet Secretary

Juan Santos
Former Cabinet Secretary

Jejomar C. Binay
Mayor, Makati City

Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
National Chairman, PJM

Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Co-Chairperson, AMRSP

Harry L. Roque Jr.

Jun I. Lozada
State Witness, ZTE-NBN


Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by joselito capariño


24  JUNE 2009


Self-quarantine for Arroyo and entourage pressed


She may be immune from impeachment, but not from the virus.

“Mrs. Arroyo should not see herself as immune from AH1N1. She may be immune from impeachment because she controls the majority in Congress, but there is no immunity from the virus,” Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said.

The opposition leader said he cannot understand why Malacanang could not even give a straight answer when asked by media if Mrs. Arroyo – who flew to Japan , and went on a side trip to Colombia before proceeding to Brazil – will observe the government-required quarantine.

He chided the Palace for saying that only Mrs. Arroyo “has the decisive voice” on the issue.

“I hope Malacanang isn’t asking the public to respect Mrs. Arroyo’s right to privacy on the matter,” Binay said in jest, referring to Malcanang’s standard reply to reports of her political plans after 2010.

Binay earlier said Mrs. Arroyo and her entourage should take it upon themselves to observe the required self-quarantine period, especially since the A(H1N1) virus has been reported worldwide.

“Force once, Mrs. Arroyo should do the responsible thing and  go on a self-quarantine,” he said.

The same goes for the members of her travel entourage – which includes 16 pro-Arroyo congressmen, their wives and children.

“I just hope that just this once, Mrs. Arroyo should be responsible enough and go on a self-quarantine,” he said.

“They have travelled at taxpayers’ expense and the least they can do is not to infect the public with new strains of A(H1N1),” he said.

Mrs. Arroyo left for Japan and Brazil last week just a few days after arriving from South Korea and Russia .

The Makati mayor said if public outcry over the cost of Mrs. Arroyo’s frequent travels has not stopped her from leaving the country, he hopes the A(H1N1) virus should put the brakes on her “jet-setting ways.”

“Perhaps, Mrs. Arroyo should seriously consider restricting or completely foregoing her jet-setting ways since the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic,” he said.

“If she wishes to ignore the outcry over the cost to the taxpayers of her frequent foreign travels, she should at least consider the consequences to public health,” he added.

Sixteen congressmen – including their wives and children –  had joined Mrs. Arroyo in her 11-day official visit to Japan and Brazil .


Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

23 JUNE 2009

A plan by Mrs. Arroyo’s allies to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly immediately after she delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month – a plan ordered reportedly by Mrs. Arroyo herself – will hasten the economic recession, Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said.

“The World Bank’s analysis that the Philippines will enter an outright recession this year should be reason enough for the Arroyo administration to put the brakes on Charter Change,” he said.

But Binay said reliable reports that Mrs. Arroyo herself gave instructions for the House to push for Con Ass immediately after she delivers her SONA to take advantage of the presence of the senators will trigger unrest and impact on the economy.

“The planned railroading of Con-Ass will be met with protests from all sectors – from the Senate as an institution, from the Church, civil society groups, the political opposition and the general public. The political climate will surely affect investor confidence, resulting in lost employment and livelihood opportunities for millions of Filipinos,” he said.

The World Bank said it expects the Philippines to enter into a period of outright recession this year. The lending agency said in a report that it expects the Philippine economy to shrink by 0.5 per cent, contradicting claims made by Mrs. Arroyo’s economic managers.

The opposition leader said Mrs. Arroyo is acting irresponsibly by personally pushing for the railroading of Con Ass.

“She is risking the country’s stability, endangering the livelihood and welfare of millions of poor Filipinos so she may be able to wield power beyond 2010,” he said.

“At a time when the Arroyo administration should find ways to cushion the impact of the impending recession on millions of poor Filipinos, it insists on amending the Constitution so Mrs. Arroyo may become prime minister under a parliamentary form of government. As a result, it is pushing the economy towards a recession,” he said.


Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by jojobinay

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today pressed Malacanang to explain why Mrs. Arroyo made an unscheduled detour to Colombia, the latest of her frequent side trips to countries not on her official itineraries.

“These side trips have become more frequent in the past months and since Mrs. Arroyo is traveling on taxpayers’ expense, the public deserves to know the reason for these unscheduled visits,” he said.

“Until a complete accounting is made, the public will continue to speculate as to the real motive behind her private visits to such destinations as Dubai , and now Cartagena ,” he added.

Reports said Mrs. Arroyo took a side trip to Cartagena , Colombia en route to Brazil with members of her family. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was not aware of the visit.

Mrs. Arroyo has also made several side trips to Dubai during her travels to the Middle East .

Binay cited reports that Mrs. Arroyo has made 50 foreign trips since 2001.

The opposition leader said the costs of these trips to the taxpayers have not been fully disclosed, and in view of the economic crisis, needs to be justified in terms of concrete investments and financial aid.

“When millions of Filipinos are hungry and jobless, it would be hard to justify the jet-setting ways of a national leader who brings relatives, nannies, and personal stylists to foreign countries, not to mention scores of political allies and their families,” he said.

Binay said each time Mrs. Arroyo returns from a foreign trip, Malacanang rolls out so-called pledges of investments, job openings, and financial aid.

“Malacanang is fond of citing millions of dollars in pledges and promises of job openings. How many of these pledges became reality and how many Filipinos were actually employed? On these, Malacanang remains silent,” he said.

The opposition leader added, however, that he expects Malacanang not to address head on the issue of Mrs. Arroyo’s Colombia trip.

“It would be expecting too much from an administration that is fond of invoking executive privilege and the right to privacy even on matters of national interest,” he said.

Dubai has been a frequent destination for Mrs. Arroyo despite the absence of jobs for foreign workers there.

Mrs. Arroyo flew to Dubai after the aborted Asean Summit in Thailand last May. She also made a recent stop over in Dubai from Davos , Switzerland on the way to an unscheduled side trip to Washington where Mrs. Arroyo tried but failed to secure a photo opportunity with US President Barack Obama.

Malacanang said the most recent visit was intended to look for investment and job opportunities for Filipinos, but recruitment agencies said the were no job openings in Dubai, and that demand for Filipino workers in the Middle East has been declining.


Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by jojobinay


JUNE 21, 2009

REF.: MAKATI ICRD, 8998938

The Province of Isabela has proclaimed Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) President Jejomar C. Binay an “Outstanding Isabelino” during the recent celebration of the province’s 153rd Foundation Day.

Binay’s mother, Lourdes Cabauatan, was a native of Cabagan, Isabela.

Isabela Governor Grace Padaca led local officials and residents in recognizing Binay for his “exemplary and meritorious performance” as a public servant, champion of the causes of the poor, human rights advocate, nationalist, and leader.

The Award of Excellence, signed by Gov. Padaca, Rep. Edwin Uy and Vice Gov. Ramon Reyes, hailed Binay for succeeding despite his humble origins, thus “giving invaluable contribution to the upliftment of the image and honor of the Province of Isabela .”

For his part, Binay thanked Padaca and the provincial government for conferring on him the said distinction.

“I am very grateful and honored to be considered an outstanding son of Isabela.  I have never forgotten my roots, and this recognition has made me cherish even more my birthplace and province mates,” Binay said.

As Makati mayor, Binay has gained national and international acclaim for his administration’s outstanding programs on public health, education, social services, and infrastructure and other public services.  Under his administration, Makati has become one of the nation’s richest localities, and its financial stability has facilitated the delivery of quality public services to residents and other stakeholders of the city.

Binay ranked fourth among the Top Ten Best World Mayors in 2006 – the only Filipino and Southeast Asian on the list – in an internet-based search conducted by City Mayors, a London-based organization of professionals.

The World Health Organization and the Department of Health (DOH) have also lauded Binay for Makati ’s success as the country’s pilot area for community-based breastfeeding. Recently, Binay became the first local chief executive to be recognized by DOH as the “Most Supportive Local Chief Executive” to its newborn screening advocacy.

Under the Binay administration, Makati has reaped a number of distinctions, the most recent of which was being named the country’s “ Most Child-Friendly City ” in the highly urbanized category.  Other awards include the Dubai International Award for Best Practices 2002 for its Yellow Card program and the Manuel L. Quezon DOTS Achiever’s Award for its successful Tuberculosis Control campaign.  Makati is also the country’s first local government unit to attain universal health insurance coverage for its constituents through the PhilHealth sa Masa program.

Binay was brought up by an uncle after being orphaned at an early age.  His father, Diego Binay of Bauan, Batangas, died shortly after his mother passed away.  He supported himself through

college and law school at the University of the Philippines , and passed the bar exams in 1968. As a human rights lawyer, he gave free legal assistance to poor clients and victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime.  He also taught law, political science and public administration at various colleges in Metro Manila.

Binay was appointed acting mayor of Makati by President Corazon Aquino in 1986, becoming the first local official to be appointed after the EDSA Revolution.  He was subsequently elected mayor for three consecutive terms until 1998.  He served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority during the three-year break, and was re-elected as Makati mayor in the 2001, 2004, and 2007 elections.