By By Atty. Romulo P. Atencia
Our next President?
posted 25-Nov-2014  ·  
13,264 views  ·   1 comments  ·  

Jejomar "Jojo" Cabauatan Binay, Sr. was born on November 11, 1942. His first name was formed from the first letters of the members of the most respected family in Christendom -- Je from Jesus, Jo from Jose and Mar from Maria. He co-founded along with fellow human rights lawyers like Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag, a national movement of lawyers known as MABINI to coordinate their efforts in advancing the cause of nationalism and, on protecting human rights. I knew him as early as the Martial Law years because he shared a modest room in a building along Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong as law office with my childhood friend, the late Atty. Honesto Cueva, whom I used to visit in said office.

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In February 1986, Binay became one of President Corazon Aquino’s first appointed local officials after the incumbent Makati mayor died during the EDSA Revolution. In 1987 he was elected in his own right to the same office. He never lost in any election since then. A shrewd politician, he trounced in the polls prominent personalities who dared oppose him. He served as mayor of Makati from 1986 to 1987, 1988 to 1998, and again from 2001 to 2010. With their riches and with Binay as incumbent Vice President, his daughter Nancy as senator, another daughter Abigail as Makati congresswoman, and son Junjun Binay as mayor of Makati City, the Binay political dynasty is a formidable force to reckon with in contemporary politics.

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Understandably, Binay wants more. He initially announced his bid for the presidency in the 2010 elections but abandoned his bid in order to become former President Estrada’s running mate. Although Estrada’s margin of victory was the biggest ever registered in Philippine electoral history when he ran for president in the 1998 national elections, Binay knew that Estrada was a poor bet for president after his removal from office only 31 month after assuming office as president, subsequent conviction of plunder, and controversial pardon by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Nevertheless, Estrada’s drawing power with the masses was still strong and can benefit his running mate. Binay was likewise aware that the other contenders for vice president were no pushovers. Very smart -- Binay has ripened into one of the most astute politicians in recent local politics.   True enough, Estrada lost but Binay won and is the current Vice President. He is concurrently serving as the Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. Binay certainly appears ready for the highest position this time.

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Unfortunately for him, the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has been investigating charges of corruption when he was the mayor of Makati. The accusers are former Makati government officials who have submitted evidence tending to prove that Binay accepted kickbacks from Makati’s infrastructure projects, including the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II. Binay is also being investigated for owning, allegedly through dummies, a P1.2-billion, 350-hectare farming estate in Rosario, Batangas.

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Of course, Binay has denied the allegations, saying these were all political persecution aimed at destroying his bid to run for President in 2016. Thus, he consistently refused to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the corruption charges against him, saying that he was already prejudged. He also refused to answer questions on the corruption charges against him. While evidence relentlessly being disclosed by witnesses against him and his allies are piling up, his only comment was: “That’s only politics.”  Again playing smart politics, he challenged to a debate Sen. Antonio Trillanes, the most outspoken member of Senate in describing the evidence against him. Binay thought that Trillanes will not face him in a one-on-one debate, considering his (Binay’s) training in the art of argumentation as a lawyer. As it turned out, he grossly underestimated the former soldier. If Trillanes even allegedly participated in a coup d’etat, he will certainly engage Binay in any kind of combat. This miscalculation must have sent whim-whams down Binay’s cojones. Binay knew that he cannot gain anything from the said enterprise even if he bested Trillanes. Considering that Trillanes has not been known to mince words in calling a spade a dirty spade, more charges of corruption may be hurled at him in the course of the debate, rendering him more politically difficult to swallow.  Thus, there was no point in participating in such a debate which he can never win. So he tried his best to find excuses to back out. What really matters is for him to be president. And he might still accomplish his presidential ambitions with his iron grip on Makati, and influence on many other vote-rich areas in the country. All he had to do was pave the road to the Malacanang with billions of pesos of allegedly ill-gotten wealth.

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The public is closely watching the Senate investigation proceedings. Needless to say, he is also being tried in the bar of public opinion. In our system of democracy, sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them (Sec. 1, Art II, Constitution). This supreme power includes the right not to elect or to remove from office government officials who are perceived to be corrupt, or are no longer responsive to their needs.  Obviously, the Filipino People will not be satisfied with those evasive tactics Binay is employing. Even the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa), was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe him, his explanations were unconvincing and I’m scared at the thought of him becoming President.”

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Hard facts support the charges against Binay, including testimony of witnesses and documents.  There is a dinning public outcry for Binay to show evidence of the same nature: hard facts, if he is really innocent. Neither may he dodge the issue by saying that he will defend himself in the proper forum. True, the courts would be the proper forum if criminal cases have been filed against him. But, no -- he is being tried in the bar of public opinion which is the proper forum to determine the fitness of a declared candidate for president in 2016. Lip service may not save the old pro this time. His meticulously prepared formula to win the presidency is in serious jeopardy. 

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In his haste to accumulate “campaign funds” perhaps he forgot to factor into his “winning” equation one crucial item – Us, the People. The fate of our country, as always, lies in our hands. Let us think about it my friends. Is Jejomar "Jojo" Cabauatan Binay, Sr. fit to be the next president of the Philippines?

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no if it is true that he amassed that much of ill gotten wealth as a mayor how much more when he becomes the president of the our country. being in such position as head of the state , he will wield enormous power where he can steamroll any investigation of wrong doing by him or his men in his behalf. am pretty sure in some point he'll use executive privilege as what other presidents did. this early he has a knack of avoiding, defying, ignoring the investigation being done by a committee in the senate .
by Josef Guerrero 26-Nov-2014  ·  
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