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Ahead of SONA, PNoy in high spirits despite impeach threats
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So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?

hough his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016.Vice President Jejomar Binay But is he the right choice for the country?  His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors.

Soon after he was installed as Mayor of Makati by President Cory Aquino, rumors started spreading that Binay would be "given" a unit or two in every high-rise condominium building constructed in Makati. This was to make sure things went smoothly for the builders or developers. Though these rumors are widespread, we are unaware of any occasion where the former mayor has come out to categorically deny those allegations. It may be that Binay simply refuses to dignify, what to him are silly and preposterous rumors, with a response. The problem with that tact however is the rumors don't go away and his detractors point to his non-response as proof that the rumors are likely true.

Binay's 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) declares a net worth of a little over Php60 million. Compared to other mayors and governors, Binay's net worth appears small. However, a 2013 article from an online news website suggests Binay uses a tactic extensively employed by Ferdinand Marcos during the martial law years: that of having subalterns stand in as listed owners of properties and businesses he really owns. And if an asset is not in his name, then it does not have to be declared in his SALN. If this allegation is true it would be difficult to pin Binay down on it barring actual admissions by accomplices.

So let us look at Binay's other public acts to answer the question we pose at the top. Binay was appointed by President Corazon Aquino shortly after the 1986 EDSA revolution. He then got himself elected mayor of Makati in 1988, won reelection in 1992, and again in 1995. His term ended in 1998 and he could not run for reelection due to term limits. So he fielded his wife Elenita who won as mayor for one term. In 2001, with term limits now behind him, Binay ran for mayor once more and held that post till 2010 when he was term-limited out once again. This time Jejomar Binay, Jr. took over Makati's mayoral reins from his father. Sadly many Filipinos see nothing wrong with what Binay did. Many Filipino officials from governors and mayors down to Baranggay chairmen do the same thing to get around term-limit restrictions.

A true statesman however will look at the spirit of the term limit law and understand that it is there so that an individual or family cannot monopolize an elected office. Term limits give others a chance to govern as well. Binay, a lawyer with post graduate studies  from institutions like Wharton and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard cannot be cut any slack when it comes to knowing what is ethical behavior and what isn't. As we've seen with previous Philippine presidents, those who are not morally and ethically grounded end up causing great harm to the country and its people.

Also at issue with Binay is the "dynastic" ambitions. Aside from himself, four members of his immediate family have been elected into public office: his wife was a former mayor of Makati; his son is its current mayor; his daughter Nancy was just elected senator; and his other daughter Abigail is a congresswoman representing Makati. The question one might ask is: are the Binays so exceptionally gifted that the country needs to have four of them in public office? Or has Binay used his political clout to push is family into positions they could never have attained on their own. There still is no Anti-Dynasty Law in this country so Binay isn't doing anything wrong. It just doesn't pass the "smell test" for those of us who expect uncompromising ethical and moral standards from our highest public officials.

Now let us briefly look at Binay's decision-making process. He just announced that he has Rep. Manny Pacquiao listed in his party's senatorial slate. Really? Manny Pacquiao a Philippine senator? Many Filipinos believe he doesn't even deserve to be a congressman, which he is. Together with former President  and  now Rep. Gloria Arroyo who is under hospital arrest for plunder, Pacquiao has the most absences amongst his congressional colleagues. For most of the year, Pacquiao is away either training or preparing for a fight. And when he's not doing that, he's coaching his basketball team or planning to play professional basketball himself. The fact that he is extremely popular and will most likely win if he runs for senator does not mean that he should run. Binay's choice of Pacquiao is a crass political decision that in many ways give us an insight into what kind of president Binay will be. There is zero benefit for the Filipino people if Pacquiao becomes a senator because there is nothing "senatorial" about him—he has nothing to contribute. But having Pacquiao on his party's lineup will be a big plus for Binay, and that in itself might be good enough for him.

Just this week plunder raps were filed against Binay and 21 others in connection with alleged overpricing of a parking building built in Makati in 2007. According to the complaint, the government ended up paying Php1.56 billion for a building that cost only Php245 million to build. Binay immediately headed off the controversy by stating that one of the accusers lost to Binay's son in last year's mayoral elections. He also told the public to expect more accusations to surface now that he will be running for president in 2016. The question people have to ask themselves however is whether this flood of accusations headed Binay's way is because of his candidacy or because there have indeed been numerous anomalies he was involved in over the years.

We're not going to answer the question we posed at the top, but we'd like you to give us your answer. Tell us what you think. Published 07/25/2014


Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

Comments from Our  Readers
(Topic: So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?)

Name: Mark Williams
City/State/Country: LA Ca
IP Address: 107.132.220.67

Comments

Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. Binary's close friends are the accused plunderers now in jail. Enrile, Estrada & Reviilla. Need we say more?


Name: Steve R
City/State/Country: California
IP Address: 98.234.22.41

Comments

Oh Lord, not Jejomar Binay as President of Philippines in 2016. The plunder case filed against him, his son and 20 others should be a warning to all Philippine voters that if J. Binay is elected in 2016, the Philippines will have to name its new Janet Lim Napoles. Yes, unless the Philippine voters will learn its lessons from the ongoing plunder cases, short of Devine Intervention, J. Binay will be the next President of the Philippines. Thus, all concerned must constantly blog via the internet and post comments to educate Philippine voters why J. Binay must not be elected President.


Name: mockingmaya
City/State/Country: taft avenue, manila
IP Address: 73.48.191.193

Comments

Vice-president Binay's top choice of running mate in 2016 presidential election is a crystal-clear indication that he will establish a dangerous & extreme form of democratic governance: mobocracy, the politics of mob rule, or dregs of society. I think Montaigne's admonition to educate your rulers (despite Binay's charlatan family members elitist educational accomplishments kuno) so that they will not enslave & torment their subjects was not the only cure to the defects of third world run-away democracy like the Philippines. "For the ambitious corrupt man, it is better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven."


Name: SOMEONE
City/State/Country: USA
IP Address: 74.77.36.177

Comments

Binay validated himself by setting Makati's poor against the super rich of exclusive enclaves like Forbes Park, San Lorenzo and Dasmariñas Villages. He cunningly exploited the poor by giving them freebies and pretended to ignore the people in Forbes. In truth he has properties in all those exclusive villages. His daughter Abigail who is now a Congresswoman has a house in Dasmariñas without any proof that she had earned enough money honestly at her age to be able to afford that house. It was this image of "Maka-mahirap" that Binay had established which makes him formidable. The truth is this guy is a gluttonous thief who will install his entire family in power. Once elected President his next target would be to place his children in Malacañang one after the other round robin style.


Name: Jun Bueno
City/State/Country: Virginia, USA
IP Address: 68.238.160.252

Comments

I left Makati 1994, I was only a stone's throw away from Binay's residence in San Antonio Village, hell no, give us another choice. Another story from rags to riches.


Philippine NewsLink reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

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