Friday, October 31, 2014

Has Binay gone desperado?

By Perry Diaz
P-Noy and Jojo
P-Noy and Jojo
Whatever Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s expectations were, his meeting with President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III didn’t seem to have satisfied them. According to a news report, Binay waited for two and half hours for P-Noy to see him and the meeting lasted only 30 minutes. In essence, Binay was shown the door.
Although Malacañang was quiet about what transpired at the meeting, the media was rife with speculation. But Inquirer reporter Ramon Tulfo’s claim that a “little birdie” told him details of the meeting indicates that things weren’t going well between P-Noy and Binay.
Makati City Parking Building 2
Makati City Parking Building 2
Supposedly, Binay made two requests. He asked P-Noy to stop the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee from investigating the overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2. P-Noy’s response was blunt: “Jojo, I cannot stop the investigation because the Senate is independent. Besides, I have so many problems — the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus brought by returning overseas workers, the Subic murder case, the evacuation of residents near the Mayon Volcano. Pati ba naman ’yan, poproblemahin ko pa (Do I have to solve your problem)?” Binay should have stopped right there and left.
But Binay pressed on. He then asked P-Noy to go easy on GMA (former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo). P-Noy wasn’t pleased with Binay taking up the cudgels for GMA. If Binay’s meeting with P-Noy was intended to appease him, he achieved the opposite. Tulfo’s “little birdie” told him that after Binay left, P-Noy told his staff: “If there are more cases to be filed against GMA, let’s file them.”
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Binay should have known better that if there were one person that P-Noy would blame for all the bad things happening in his administration, it was Gloria. Gloria is P-Noy’s ultimate scapegoat, so why kill the goat? For as long as P-Noy is in power, Gloria doesn’t have a spit of a chance to be released from detention. And P-Noy would do everything to keep Gloria alive.
Binay should also know that P-Noy doesn’t have power over the Senate, which is fiercely protective of its autonomy from the Executive Branch. If Binay didn’t know that, then he shouldn’t be running for president. Or could it be that his attempt to ask favors from P-Noy was because he could be heading for a political freefall?
Indeed, he has nobody to blame but himself for building a personal financial empire during the two decades that he and members of his family – wife, son, and two daughters – were in power in Makati, arguably the richest city in the country that is home to financial institutions and large corporations. And with all the revenues earned by the city, the mayorship is by all means the best plum job in the country with little or no interference from other political entities including the country’s Executive and Legislative branches of government. And for as along as you keep your nose clean, nobody is going to bother you. But the moment you’re involved in some kind of anomaly or scandal, then everybody would gang up on you. And that’s precisely what happened to Jojo Binay.
Public opinion
Lord-of-Makati.2With all the allegations of corruption against Binay that spans more than a quarter of a century since the time of the late President Cory Aquino who appointed him as the officer-in-charge (OIC) of Makati City, Binay had left no stone unturned in covering his tracks. He allegedly used dummies for the properties he acquired while in office. With no solid evidence of corruption, Binay is presumed innocent by law. But Binay is facing charges of corruption not in a court of law but in the court of public opinion.
SWS-Survey-Binay-Oct-2014When the Senate opened an investigation into the allegations of corruption against Binay and his family, he refused to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee, saying that it was a “kangaroo court.” He said that he’d rather go directly to the people to explain his side. But the latest survey of Social Weather Station (SWS) shows that 79% of the respondents want him to face the Senate and address the allegations, which begs the question: Why is Binay scared of appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee?
Binay's popularity dips
Binay’s popularity dips
While there may be several reasons why Binay is not appearing before the Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing, one reason might be that by not appearing before the panel he is not going to say something that would haunt him in the 2016 presidential campaign. By not saying anything now, he could tell the people then that he’s a victim of political persecution. He’d just have to keep repeating his innocence. And since he didn’t appear before a Senate hearing, his opponents wouldn’t have any ammunition to disprove his arguments. As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Yes, if Binay keeps on denying the corruption charges, the people will eventually believe him… and vote for him. But that’s based on the supposition that his opponents don’t have anything to tie him to corruption. And what if they have an “April surprise” that would rattle skeletons in the closet two weeks before the May 9, 2016 election?
If Binay indeed has secrets about allegations of “unexplained wealth,” then he knows that the probability of his rivals knowing about them is pretty high. He ought to know that in politics, secrets are revealed at a time when it will hurt the most, which makes one wonder: Has Binay gone desperado?

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