A lot of Filipinos are scared of a Binay Presidency. A Catholic priest even said it is a “scary prospect” after meeting Vice President Jejomar Binay himself. It is quite understandable why. If Vice President Jejomar Binay wins the Presidential Election in 2016, he will simply continue the world-renowned Filipino tradition of patronage politics. This tradition involves protecting and coddling family, friends and allies of those in power even when they break the law.Patronage politics is quite rampant in the current administration as it is. This is evident in the way President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd quickly absolves cabinet members when they get embroiled in controversies and when they get accused of corrupt activities. To be sure, accusations of nepotism, favoritism and selective justice have been hounding BS Aquino since Day One of his term. Lately, BS Aquino has become so blatant in defending his incompetent staff that people can already predict his responses to calls for accountability and resignation: “innocent until proven guilty”, a defense that doesn’t seem to apply to his political enemies especially Former President Gloria Arroyo.
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Speaking of allies, Binay is said to be a close ally of the Aquinos with the Presidential sisters being in good terms with him and favoring him over his rival in the Presidential race. The Vice President makes no secret of his ties with the Aquinos. He has mentioned numerous times in the past how he is forever grateful to the late former President Cory Aquino — BS Aquino’s mother — for opening the door for him to Philippine politics. Cory appointed him officer in charge of Makati City after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Binay held such a very tight grip on his post that decades after serving the city as mayor, he passed the reins to his immediate family members; first to his wife Elenita after his term ended in 1998 and then to his son Jejomar Jr after his come-back term ended in 2010. Of course it is worth mentioning that it was the voters who made it possible for the Binays to stay in power since the 1980s. It is also worth mentioning that it is easy for voters to become attached to any public official like the Binays who gives out freebies using public funds. Hence, those who try to run against the incumbent do not win because the playing field is not level. But I digress…
As pointed out before, Binay’s history with the Aquinos has more than likely put BS Aquino in an awkward position. The President is now subtlety asking the senators to put an end to the investigation on Binay’s supposedly overpriced building and other alleged properties in the Senate hearings. His move is probably confusing his supporters who have been working hard to campaign against a Binay Presidency.
Frankly, some of us are getting confused too because it seems BS Aquino is also okay with Binay winning the Presidency in 2016 even though his Liberal Party mate Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas is also eyeing the Presidency. Roxas could be forgiven for feeling betrayed. Everyone knows Roxas sacrificed his own ambition to run for the Presidency in 2010 to give way to BS Aquino who took advantage of the people’s sympathy after his mother’s death a few months before the Presidential Election.
Some of those who fear a Binay Presidency see the behavior of President BS Aquino and assume Binay will do the same thing. Ironically, the President’s most rabid supporters fail to see this. They lead the charge in campaigning against Binay without realizing that Binay has a lot in common with their idol BS Aquino.
The truth is, BS Aquino set a precedent in creating an environment of impunity in government. Binay will just continue where BS Aquino left off.
The following are what will likely happen if Binay wins the Presidency in 2016:
(1) Binay will defend his family, friends, and allies even when they break the law.The Filipino people already saw a glimpse of this when his son Makati Mayor Jejomar Jr got in trouble with Dasmarinas Village authorities after he insisted on using the wrong exit point of the posh gated community. It remains to be seen just how far Binay is willing to defend his allies. Since the Aquinos are his allies, Binay might not push for the prosecution of BS Aquino when his term is up. His violations against the Constitution will go unpunished.
Binay promises to use impartiality once elected but some are already predicting that he might let the three senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla off the hook because they are members of his political party. The three have been facing corruption charges involving the use of their pork barrel funds.
(2) The Binay dynasty will further institutionalize nepotism and favoritism in Philippine society.Even though nepotism and favoritism are already rampant in BS Aquino’s administration, the presence of Binay’s immediate family members in government particularly in Congress gives a stronger impression that the Binay family will act like royalty if he wins the Presidency. The funny thing is, all these years Filipinos didn’t care or notice how the Binays slowly managed to get elected in the most powerful positions in government. It’s only now that he is being scrutinised that people realized how powerful the Binays have become. Some say his children already behave arrogantly now and their behavior could get worse if their father becomes the President.
(3) A Binay Presidency will result in more conflicts of interests and continue the cycle of retribution.The recent senate investigation conducted by the Blue Ribbon Committee showed how both the public servants and majority of Filipinos are not even bothered by the fact that Senator Nancy Binay keeps defending his father against her colleagues who were “investigating” his father’s alleged crimes. Senator Nancy did not even bother to stop making comments about his father’s case during the investigation. Binay’s other daughter Congresswoman Abigail Binay also released statements defending her father using the media. Sometimes they give conflicting statements, which could be a sign they are not being completely honest. This is the mother of all conflicts of interest.
Indeed, in a predictable move, Senator Nancy Binay in turn investigated her father’s rival, Senate President Franklin Drilon for his alleged overpriced building in Iloilo.
(4) A Binay Presidency will result in more conspiracy to commit acts of betrayal against the Filipino people.If what Senator Antonio Trillanes’s recent revelation claiming that Binay conspired with him to oust former President Gloria Arroyo through a military coup in 2003 is true, that is proof that Binay is not above using illegal activities to get his way. If there is truth to Trillanes’s allegations that Binay broke his promise to send his followers to give support for the failed coup, then it is proof that Binay cannot keep his promise. This is bad news for Filipinos. Senator Trillanes thinks Binay is a traitor and does not keep his word. Whether or not we should believe what a convicted mutineer and certified traitor like Trillanes has to say is another story.
It is worth mentioning that it was a good thing Binay did not send support for the mutiny. Nothing good would have come out of another EDSA revolution with Trillanes leading it.
(5) A Binay Presidency means more dole outs, bigger Conditional Cash Transfers and a resurrection of the pork barrel funds, and Disbursement Acceleration Program.Binay has endeared himself to the voters by giving away freebies including free cakes to senior citizens using public funds. He will more than likely continue giving more “incentives” to voters to keep them happy and stop them from complaining. This will promote mendicancy and is a waste of taxpayer’s funds.
Getting elected is one thing but staying in power is another. Binay will have to keep Congress happy to stop them from impeaching him. The easiest way to do this is to give them money. Since the Supreme Court have declared both PDAF and DAP unconstitutional, he might try to rename it to justify giving funds to the lawmakers who have the power to oust him.
A Binay Presidency is scary, indeed. Particularly since the incumbent President BS Aquino already paved the way for disrespecting the rule of law and routinely ignoring calls for accountability.
In life, things are not always what they seem.