Tone-deaf tactics

Those aren’t rosaries, they’re bracelets.

That’s how United Nationalist Alliance spokesperson Mon Ilagan explained away the letter Bs stamped on the crosses of rosaries distributed by Vice-President Jejomar Binay on July 4 to the survivors and relatives of the M/B Kim Nirvana that sunk in Ormoc.

The VP also passed out the euphemistically termed “financial assistance” (cough cash cough), which, however, will be pretty useful to the recipients.

The same can’t be said for the “bracelets,” if that’s indeed what they are. Rosaries would at least have some purpose. They can’t be anything but rosaries, though – anyone with eyes can see that there a cross for the Nicene Creed, and beads strung one-three-ten, for the Our Fathers and Hail Marys.

Calling it a “bracelet” is to impugn our intelligence and imply that we are ignorant and naive, and contradicts what the VP was alleged to have said on that occasion – that he gave away rosaries.

This is not the first time they’ve used that letter as a marker for artifacts. When the now-VP was mayor of Makati, his logo was a circle with the letter B in Greek font. That logo decorated everything in the city, from signs to metal fences, prompting wags to wonder if the city wasn’t named Bakati, after all.

The VP and his family have been much in the news lately, and not for good things. The Senate earlier “recommended the filing of plunder [charges] against the Vice-President, his son Makati Mayor [Junjun] Binay, and other individuals in relation to the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2,” according to Rey Requejo’s front-page story in The Standard yesterday.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said last October that Binay “could be investigated for corrupt acts committed when he was still mayor of Makati.” However, in an abrupt volte-face, she said yesterday that the Vice-President “is immune from criminal prosecution while he is in office.”

No such restrictions seem to bar legal action against Mayor Binay.

Still in connection with the overpriced Makati projects, the Ombudsman imposed a second preventive suspension on the mayor. He refused to comply again. Instead, like some cheesy film star, he defied the order with the support of his parents, the VP and former mayor Dr. Elenita

Binay, and sister, Senator Nancy Binay.

They looked on as denizens of Makati threw chairs at policemen, built barricades, and committed all sorts of hooliganish mayhem. VP Binay confronted a police officer, Senior Superintendent Col. Jamias, who himself is considered such folk hero that a movie has been made about his career.

The Makati Business Club, aghast at how quickly things got out of hand in the country’s business capital, issued a statement saying this was not in any way, shape, or form a good thing. The resulting scandal forced the Binays to realize that the better part of defiance is discretion.

All this was after the VP decamped from the Aquino administration with a terse one-sentence resignation addressed to the President. The VP immediately and openly went “on campaign”, this way before the opening of the filing of candidacy period.

This is a naked manifestation of what the VP has avowed since Day One: that he intends to run for the highest office in the land. As single-mindedly as a heat-seeking missile, like a racehorse wearing blinkers, nothing will sidetrack him or get in the way of his achieving that goal.

He sees nothing else but that golden ring hanging before him but that is proving to be more elusive every day, as he and his camp execute one misstep after another that they will then airily explain away as if the public is deaf, blind, and galactically stupid.

The epaltronic distribution of “B”-marked rosaries to grieving people is yet another move in a series that will extend into the

indefinite future, the Be Nice being tone-deaf in many of their tactics and unable to distinguish between what’s appropriate or suitable for a certain situation or occasion.

This downward trajectory will continue, because there is no fix for this. Ever since Binaygate, no matter the spin they put on, the

narratives they script, or how many PR people they employ, they can’t help but stumble, because it’s the way they really are.

They are brainy, savvy, and cunning, but they don’t understand subtlety. They won’t let achievements speak for themselves; they

prefer to spoon-feed the people alphabet soup, and the people are choking on the letter Bs.


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