Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer
The 100-day countdown for this year’s Philippine presidential election is officially on. It’s scheduled on Monday, May 9, 2016, unless an unforeseeable event takes place.
According to the latest surveys, Vice President Jejomar Binay is leading the race. Of course, conducting surveys is big business in the Philippines. Hence, they can be manipulated to get the results desired by those who paid for them. But what if they reflect the true sentiments of the people?
It will be a disaster for the country.
A pro bono lawyer, his rags-to-riches story started when he was appointed in 1986 by the late President Cory Aquino as Officer-in-Charge of the City of Makati, the country’s financial center.
After his tenure expired, he didn’t head to the sunset. He served as mayor from 1988 to 1998. After his wife succeeded him from 1998 to 2001, he reclaimed the post from 2001 to 2010. When he ran for vice president in 2010, his son took over until he was suspended due to anomalies in 2015. For 30 years, Binay and his family had Makati in the palm of their hands.
Binay credits himself for making Makati rich. The truth is that it’s Makati that made the Binays rich through institutionalized corruption as revealed in the recently concluded Senate blue ribbon sub-committee hearings.
He claims that all these charges are lies and politically-motivated despite the testimonies and the Anti=Money Laundering Council reports showing him as co-owner of bank accounts totaling hundreds of millions of pesos.
It boggles the mind how somebody can become a billionaire on his government salary.
Binay wants the people to believe that he’s after the truth, but he’s actually afraid of the truth. The truth won’t set him free. Rather, the truth will put him in jail.
Although the Office of the Ombudsman has the goods, it couldn’t go after him at the moment. As vice president, he’s immune from suit unless he’s impeached first or until he leaves office. As the election draws near, it won’t happen. And when he’s elected, everything becomes moot and academic. He goes scot-free because, as president, he can’t be sued as well.
He promises that when elected, he’ll be a unifying president. I take that to mean that in the name of national reconciliation, he’ll let bygones be bygones and release former President Gloria Arroyo and his political allies who are now in detention for plunder. In addition, he’ll do for the Philippines what he did for Makati. He’ll never leave office for lust of power and greed know no bounds. He and his family will lord it over the country and introduce nationwide their style of corruption perfected in Makati.
There’s a saying that whoever has the gold makes the rules. Binay has plenty of that in the form of cold cash that can be used for electoral fraud and vote buying. As it stands, the election is his to lose. I hope that he does. The Filipino people don’t deserve a crook like him at the top.