A lot of Filipinos do not like the Binay family. Some people see the Binays as a force to reckon with. Some hate them so much they see the Binays as monsters. There are also some groups devoted to stopping their rise to become the most powerful family in the Philippines.
The Binays do not even need introduction because most Filipinos know who the Binays are. They are one of the most powerful political dynasties in the country. In fact, writing about the Binays kind of makes one a bit queasy because the adults in the Binay family occupy powerful positions in government and it’s perplexing when one starts to wonder how they all got voted into office to begin with.It becomes quite a daunting task when one has to write information about all of them in order to show the conflicts of interest. It makes one crazy thinking about how the children — Nancy, Abigail and Jun-Jun, a Senator, Congresswoman and Makati City Mayor respectively — all come to the aid of their father to defend him against his political enemies and critics while the father comes to the aid of his children to do the same.
I guess the only way to understand the complexity involving the Binays is to accept that they treat their hold over a portfolio of government posts as a family business. In a family business, it is natural for the owners to help each other out. The problem is, the Binays shouldn’t be treating their government posts as a family business because they are not dealing with their own money. It’s only in the Philippines that dysfunctional behavior exhibited by the Binays has gone unnoticed until recently.
One has to wonder how the Binays managed to hold on to the mayoralty position in the country’s premiere financial district for decades without anyone complaining until now. Surely, their cohorts in the alleged crimes and the people who kept voting for the Binays despite their excesses should be blamed as well for the sorry situation the country is in with the political family.
The popularity and notoriety of the Binays is partly due to the incessant negative publicity they have been getting from the media from months. One member of the media who has been conducting a trial by media is Solita Collas-Monsod. She seems to have taken on the role of unofficial attack dog for the Liberal Party.
In a recent article on her Inquirer column, Monsod tried to refute the claim made by the Binay family that the Aquino administration is persecuting them. To counter that claim, Monsod reveals that President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino gave his Vice President Jejomar Binay a lot of privileges since Day One.
Monsod enumerated some of the “requests” the Aquino administration granted VP Binay starting with giving him the Coconut Palace as the VP’s official residence. In addition, BS Aquino also gave Binay Cabinet roles as Presidential adviser for OFW affairs and as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman, which, according to Monsod, gave Binay a lot of opportunity to grandstand. Monsod also goes on to mention how Binay was receiving “P200-million-a-year share of the pork barrel—until that was removed”.If we are to believe Monsod, those things should be enough proof that the Aquino administration has been more than generous to the Binays. Yes, one would have to agree that the Aquino administration has been generous to the VP and it has benefited his family. In fact, in enumerating all the privileges that Binay has been enjoying until the VP’s resignation from his cabinet posts, Monsod inadvertently proved that BS Aquino is partly to blame for creating a “monster”.
Why did BS Aquino agree to give VP Binay the Coconut Palace and even had the place refurbished to the VP’s specifications? According to Monsod, it cost the public more than 50 million pesos to refurbish it. Furthermore, why did BS Aquino give Binay 200 million pesos worth of pork barrel funds? Now, why did BS Aquino approve that? What the heck was he thinking? I thought BS Aquino was against the excesses that happened in previous governments. It turns out he has his share of excessive spending of public funds. Why did he feel the need to spoil his VP with that budget?
The thing that we can take from Monsod’s article is that, BS Aquino himself may not be directly involved in the orchestrated attacks against the Binays headed by a few senators who appear to have a grudge against Binay. If you compare how relentless he was in attacking his political enemies in the past like former President Gloria Arroyo and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, it is interesting to note how BS Aquino is very restrained when it comes to VP Binay and his children.
After VP Binay criticized the Aquino administration – calling it incompetent, uncaring and blundering – BS Aquino’s response could be interpreted as puzzled yet accommodating. He even said “thank you” to Binay. That is very different indeed to how he treats his “real” enemies. What could be holding BS Aquino back from retaliating in return? It’s not like him to be diplomatic. Could it be that Binay could help him escape prosecution once he is president?
It has been said before that the Binays are actually allied with the Aquinos. Binay has been vocal about crediting the late Cory Aquino for giving him the opportunity to enter politics. Some people even claim that the President’s sisters prefer to endorse Binay as the next President and not the Liberal Party’s bet Mar Roxas. At some point, celebrity sister Kris Aquino was even consoling Junjun Binay after his wife passed away. She may have been to his main office in Makati City, which, according to Monsod, is “huge—larger than a two-bedroom condo in Makati”. We didn’t hear Kris complain about the size of Junjun’s room.It is quite laughable to think that BS Aquino’s most rabid supporters are busy campaigning against Binay while the Aquinos themselves could be secretly supporting a Binay Presidency.
The bottom-line is, those who hate the Binays so much should look deeper and see who put him and his family in power in the first place. First it was the Aquinos who put the senior Binay in-charge of Makati City and then the voters who got addicted to the Binay dole outs helped build the Binay dynasty.
While the timing of the cases against the Binays is quite suspect (why bring up the cases now when these should have been filed before 2010?), it is still welcome. If it will help expose the Binays and, as a consequence, the Aquinos for who they are, that’s all well and good. But judging by the way the majority of voters have acted in the past – this exercise of campaigning against the Binays will yield results that will simply fly over their heads.
In life, things are not always what they seem.