The most tragic thing is when children suffer from the sins of their parents. That’s pretty much the plot underlying The Human Condition. So with regard to Senator Nancy Binay’s recent lament that the vilification of her family’s politics is starting to touch her children, well, here’s a cliche to consider: It comes with the territory…
Speaking to reporters after Mass on the quadrangle of the Makati City Hall on the eve of Binay’s 72nd birthday, Nancy on Monday said the corruption allegations against her father and brother, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, were affecting the Vice President’s grandchildren.
“One time, a child of my sibling heard in school, ‘That’s the child of Mayor Binay who is a thief,’” said the senator, the Vice President’s eldest daughter. “Isn’t it hurtful for all of us to hear that?”
The Binays are currently reeling from pressure coming from all sides thanks to their being implicated in various corruption cases that have emerged as a result of various inquiries into their financial affairs by legislators and state investigators.
One wonders whether or not these politicians really enter Philippine politics with eyes wide open. You can’t really be in the Philippines and expect to enjoy an iota of privacy. The concept simply does not exist. Filipinos are world-renowned gossip mongerers and are known to ask probing questions of one another’s private affairs in the most formal of occassions and even in the politest of conversations. Nowhere is this reflected more than in their enormous appetite for Senate “inquiries” that offer no real results other than good reality TV.
Much like the way the Philippine economy is propped up by a vast “informal sector” that is beyond the reach of Kim Henares’s tax collectors, the Philippines’ criminal justice system is run by an underbelly of discrete nods, handshakes, high-fives, and wink-winks amongst plaintiffs and defendants and sentences carried out by fleets of armed motorcycle assassins, mobs of media-savvy publicists and PR “consultants”, and “committees” within the Philippines’ resource-sucking legislature.
Prayers or command masses are of no use. Every Filipino politician is a self-styled “good Catholic” equipped with a finely-tuned “prayerfulness” performance to exhibit whenever cameras roll. This sort of quaint behaviour is evident even in the elder Binay and Nancy’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay on the occassion of his birthday…
Rushing to [attend the policy forum on the rehabilitation of Super Typhoon “Yolanda”-affected areas at the Philippine International Convention Center], Binay, who turns 72 Tuesday, refused to answer questions from reporters. “I am wishing for more prayers for our countrymen,” he said when asked about his birthday wish.
So that playing field in the Philippines’ PR game is largely stalemated. Appeals to decency are therefore of little value as the concept of “decency” in the Philippines is highly-negotiable as well.
So what could Nancy Binay have done to spare the Binay children from all this grief? It seems she already knows the answer to that question: “My siblings and I decided to enter politics. But for these children, they have no choice but to be dragged into this,” she laments. Better yet, perhaps she and her siblings as well as her father could have been a bit more forthcoming with their private affairs seeing (presumably thanks to all their family’s political experience) that in the Philippines, nothing is ever really private in the sense of the term that we all think we understand — specially when you are a top Filipino politician.
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