The presidential campaign in 2016 may be a battle of curious, amusing, weird, and repetitious names. It could be a battle between Bong and Bongbong, or among Money, Money, and Money.
The Bongs, of course, are Bong Revilla and Bongbong Marcos. Revilla has long been touted as the presidential candidate of Lakas, GMA’s political party, because he was the topnotcher in the 2010 senatorial elections. In fact, he claims he was included in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam because he is a “frontrunner” in the political derby.
Marcos, meanwhile, is also planning to seek his father’s old position in Malacañang—“if the situation is right.” He may be thinking: If the daughter and son of former presidents have succeeded to the presidency, why not me?
GMA is a daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, while President Aquino is the son of former President Corazon Aquino. Also, former US President George W. Bush is the son of former President George Bush.
On the other hand, Money, Money, and Money refer to the three Mannys: Manny Villar, Manny Pangilinan, and Manny Pacquiao. The three Mannys, who are said to be casting covetous eyes on Malacañang, have one thing in common: plenty of money.
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Scions of two political dynasties were the guests at last Monday’s Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel. Senators JV Ejercito (of the Ejercito/Estrada dynasty of San Juan and Manila), and Nancy Binay (of the Binay dynasty of Makati) admitted they were elected with the help of their fathers, Mayor Joseph Estrada (a former president) and Vice President Jejomar Binay, respectively. The latter two ran as presidential/vice presidential team mates in the 2010 elections. Binay won while Erap finished runner-up to winner President Aquino.
Senator Nancy (I will call her by her first name to distinguish her from VP Binay) was congratulated for the recent Court of Appeals decision awarding territorial jurisdiction over the upscale Bonifacio Global City to Makati (from Taguig).
“Ang suwerte naman ng Makati (Makati is so lucky),” a reporter said. “Are you going to inherit Boni Global City?”
Nancy evaded the question with a smile but said the territorial dispute between Makati and Taguig was 20 years old. The claim was filed long before Fort Bonifacio was transformed into the gleaming Global City that it is today, she said.
“Kawawa naman ang Taguig (Poor Taguig),” the reporter continued.
Nancy replied that there is a proposal to make the Global City an independent administrative district, with the three claimants to it—Makati, Taguig and Pateros—sharing in the revenues and administrative responsibilities.
“It’s a Solomonic solution. I hope they agree to that,” she said.
There is another proposal: to make Boni a separate and independent city. It is rich enough and has big enough revenues to qualify it to be a city.
“But it does not have a big enough population,” commented Nancy.
Someone commented that Boni is being contested by two political dynasties, the Binays and Cayetanos.
“Oo nga,” Nancy agreed, “and we are evenly matched. We each have four members in the government.”
The Binay dynasty has a Vice President, a senator, a congresswoman, and a mayor. The Cayetano dynasty has two senators, one congressman, and one mayor.
The Estrada dynasty, by the way, also has four—two senators and two mayors.
The two were asked: There is a clamor to stop political dynasties. What do you say to that?
Of course they were opposed to the move. They would not be where they are now without their family dynasties. They said: “It is up to the people. It is they who vote for the family dynasties. Obviously, they like us because they keep voting for our members. If they don’t like us anymore, all they have to do is not vote for us.”
They pointed that political dynasties have a built-in advantage: Projects are continued even with a change in administration. If a member of the opposition succeeds a member of the majority, he will always discontinue a project started by his predecessor, even if it is a good one. So projects are never finished since a new one will be started every three years. A government executive will never continue a project started by his rival. With political dynasties, projects are continued and finished by successive executives coming from the same political family.
“[Political families] also tend to abuse their powers because nobody [monitors] them,” someone commented.
Nancy and JV were asked what their advocacies will be in the Senate. Nancy said she wants to focus on social services and on women and children; JV said he will focus on education, health, and job generation.
JV added that he also wants to help his father in Manila, whose primary problem is the lack of funds. He said that following San Juan’s example, Manila will computerize its operations. Computerization quadrupled the revenue of San Juan during his time. He said he wants to help his father do the same thing in Manila.
The City of Manila’s operations were once computerized, but this was discontinued by the previous administration, JV said. He said he did not know why.
With computerization, there will be no or little contact between City Hall employees and the transacting public, JV said. The employees will have no discretion to lower taxes for favored businesses. Computerization will also prevent corruption.
On the issue of the hated pork barrel, the two were asked if they favored its abolition. They both said “yes” but added that everyone should be treated equally: Not only the opposition but also the majority legislators should be denied pork barrel allocations.