n our July 25th editorial we asked if Vice President Jejomar Binay should be the next president of the Philippines. In this editorial we arrive at the definitive conclusion that that Binay should not be elected president.
Since our last editorial, more witnesses have come forward with more allegations against the embattled Vice President. But our decision not to support Binay’s presidential bid is based on irrefutable public acts that in our opinion disqualify him from the presidency.
First and foremost, Binay skirted around the country’s term-limits law by having his wife run for mayor after his third term in office—the maximum allowed by law—came to an end. That three-year gap out of office while his wife was mayor allowed him another three consecutive terms as mayor. An opportunity he seized till he maxed-out once more in 2010. At that point his son Jejomar Binay Jr. was old enough to run for mayor and did so, thus keeping the office “in the family.”
To outsiders not accustomed to Filipino-style politics what Binay did is simply outrageous and totally unacceptable. The term-limits bill was signed into law to prevent any individual from monopolizing a public office. Sadly that is what Binay and many other mayors and governors all over the country are doing. But the fact that so many unscrupulous politicos do it does not make it right. We must point out that what Binay did is technically not against the law, but it certainly goes against the spirit of the law.
Secondly, Binay made a mockery of the Philippine Senate when he allowed his daughter Nancy who was so obviously unqualified, to run for senator.
The fact that she was a likely winner—given an easily manipulated electorate—did not mean she deserved to become a senator. Long gone are the days when only statesmen with years of experience became senators. The fact that Binay saw nothing wrong with his daughter Nancy running for the Senate speaks volumes about Binay’s true character. It appears he cares only about himself and his family. The fact that the Philippines now has an unqualified senator is not a matter of concern to Binay. What matters is that his daughter Nancy is now a senator and in place to protect and expand the family’s dynastic interests.
And like an astute chess player, Binay has his pieces in place. Aside from Nancy, his other daughter Abigale is currently a congresswoman, while his son Jejomar Jr. is now the mayor of Makati City.
Binay made a name for himself in the early Eighties as a staunch critic or Ferdinand Marcos and his martial law regime. Cory Aquino who became president after the EDSA revolution saw Binay as a loyal ally and appointed him mayor of Makati shortly after she took office.
His actions since assuming public office however show Binay as a power-hungry politico who like Marcos puts himself and his family above country. Like Marcos, Binay also seems to have the same cynical attitude towards the average Filipino voter who he sees as gullible and easily manipulated.
Given the disastrous presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Arroyo, it is high time Filipinos begin raising the standards for those vying for the office. While Binay’s acts, as we mention above, are not against the law, they do not pass the “moral ascendancy” test—to borrow a phrase bandied about by Filipino Bishops. It appears that Binay is bent on creating a political dynasty for his clan and has no qualms about bending the rules to keep himself in power. And those are very dangerous traits for a Filipino president to have. Published 09/16/2014