Destroying the past

Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay—before the EDSA Revolution of 1986—was undoubtedly a passionate human rights lawyer but he was not considered outstanding even if he constantly tagged  along future senators Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag when they marched together in the streets in praise of Senator Ninoy Aquino and in protest against President Ferdinand Marcos. 

That has been forgotten after President Cory Aquino appointed him—for want of candidates to choose from, perhaps—as ­officer-in-charge of Makati, still a municipality then but already the country’s undisputed premier metropolis.

To the surprise of those who had belittled him, Makati became Binay City since that day of his OIC appointment on February 27, 1986. He and his family—the Binays—would control it for the next 30 years as if President Cory gave it to him to own.

Jojo Binay got elected as its mayor, and when he wasn’t eligible anymore, his wife Elenita took over. Then in 2010, as if Makati were a property for inheritance, it was handed over to his son Junjun.

Two popular movie actors – Edu Manzano and Lito Lapid - tried to unseat him but both failed, losing by wide margins.

He irked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when he allowed opposition groups to stage protests against her in his Makati’s business district. Accordingly, she had him suspended on October 17, 2006 and while he was defying this suspension, President Cory visited him to publicly extend her moral support.

President Cory must have reciprocated the over-zealous support that Mayor Binay provided her administration in all the coup attempts that were staged against it. Armed to the teeth ala-Rambo, he was always in full battle gear as if he were prepared to shoot it out to the death with the coup plotters.

We just woke up one morning already acknowledging the stature of Mayor Binay as a formidable opposition leader in his own right who didn’t have to bask anymore in the glory of others. He had become the star mayor from Makati who proudly proclaimed that things were going very well for its residents, even extending to non-Makati residents the same benefits that its residents enjoyed. They now compose the bulk of his nationwide support base.

Emboldened, he aspired to be vice president in 2010.

President Cory had recently died at that time and the outpouring of public sympathies for the Aquino children catapulted her son Noynoy—then only a happy-go-lucky bachelor—into becoming a political heir to the presidency.

This prompted the leading Liberal Party presidential aspirant Senator Mar Roxas to slide down into the vice presidency, confident that he would easily defeat an overly ambitious Mayor Binay.

Unexpectedly, though, while the Balay group of mostly elite supporters who were based at the Araneta Center campaigned for Noynoy and Mar, a different Samar group supported a Noynoy and Binay tandem. They even gave away NoyBi stickers and shirts.

The supporters of Mar could not believe that Jojo beat their candidate and that President Cory’s brother Peping had been for Jojo all along.

They lodged their electoral protest, perhaps out of false pride, but certainly confused about how their presidential candidate won in a clean and honest election while his vice presidential partner who once topped a senatorial race lost in that same election in a dirty and dishonest manner.

Noynoy now PNoy, the president, continued to support loser Mar, preferring him over elected Vice President Binay. He would deny VP Binay the Department of Interior and Local Government post that he coveted but would readily offer it in 2012 to Secretary Roxas whom he had appointed earlier in 2011 as transportation and communications secretary.

As token appointments, PNoy assigned VP Binay as head of the coordinating committee in housing and urban development and of a task force that dealt with concerns of overseas Filipino workers. These were not regular cabinet posts but Binay would hold on to them for the next five years.

He could then claim that he was able to informally study and observe how to perform the president’s job properly as he was once only a breath away from him.

These assignments must have endeared him further to the Filipino people because—to the consternation of Secretary Roxas and maybe, PNoy—VP Binay’s performance and popularity were consistently rated highest in national surveys, surpassing even that of PNoy and far outdistancing that of Secretary Roxas.

He could have easily won the presidency had it been held four years after the last presidential election.

But alas, the man he defeated in the vice presidential election—Secretary Roxas—would not give up, still seeking the presidency that he thought he gave up for PNoy in 2010. 

It is so clear—a grateful PNoy never left him for a single moment since his defeat in 2010 and is now doing everything to make him the next president.

He would destroy the Binays—once his family’s allies and friends—starting now with the son, Mayor Junjun and ending later with the father, VP Binay.

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