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VP Binay’s biggest mistakes

/ 12:35 AM September 15, 2014

The dumbest mistake of Jejomar Binay was to double-cross his vice mayor and bagman. The second big mistake was to allow himself and his family to become too greedy. And the third was to aspire to be president of this country.

Binay had promised his vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado, that he would be the next mayor of Makati when his own term expired.

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Binay broke his promise and made his son Junjun the mayor instead. If you were Mercado, wouldn’t you be infuriated and try to repay his treachery?

The stupid thing was that Mercado was his bagman, the aide who delivered duffel bags of money from real estate developers and contractors to him and his wife and children. There were separate bags for each of them. As his closest aide, Mercado knew everything. Isn’t it dumb to double-cross such a person?

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If Binay had remained loyal to Mercado, the latter would not be singing his heart out now and Binay’s secrets would still be secrets today.

Binay did not learn from his predecessors. Mob boss Al Capone could not be nailed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation until Capone’s own accountant betrayed him to Eliot Ness and his Untouchables. The same thing happened to Janet Lim Napoles. It was her former employees who spilled the beans on her pork barrel scam.

Still, Binay  would not have been in this deep doodoo had he not been too greedy. Why couldn’t he and his family be satisfied with just a little? But like the ogre in “Jack and the Beanstalk,” they wanted more, more, more!

But even with that frailty, they could have gotten away with it had not Binay prematurely announced his candidacy for the presidency. When he was only a mayor, the people were not so much interested in what he did in his turf. But like Julius Caesar, he was ambitious and aspired for the highest post. So the people became interested in his qualifications to be president. And, to borrow a movie title, “Tinimbang Siya Ngunit Kulang”—he was weighed but was found wanting. And so, like Julius Caesar again, his own former allies are now trying to slay him politically.

Binay could not face the Senate investigators to defend himself. Why? Probably because he knows he is guilty. An innocent man would not be afraid to face his accusers and his judges.

Instead, he announced that he is going to address the nation today. No, not to announce that he would no longer run for president (as many Filipinos fondly wish) but to defend himself. His defense will most likely be the same mantra that he and his allies have been saying over and over: that the charges are politically motivated, that his accusers and their witnesses are lying and are really the corrupt officials in Makati, and that the Senate should stop its investigation because the Ombudsman is already investigating the case.

Only a day after Mercado’s second bombshell, Binay was hit by another big blow: President Aquino did not invite him to a meeting in Malacañang with Liberal Party members, political and civil society allies and other supporters. That means P-Noy does not consider Binay an ally, as the latter has been pretending all the while. The snub should banish all hopes of Binay to be anointed as P-Noy’s successor—a wish that Binay is probably praying for every night.

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Even with the endorsement of P-Noy’s sisters and uncles, it seems Binay does not impress the President at all as fit to fill his shoes.

How can P-Noy, whose policy is to eliminate corruption, endorse somebody accused of big-time corruption? The Binay we now know is no longer the poor human rights lawyer who supported their mother during the dark days of martial law. He is now very rich, as reflected in his own declaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

The next thing that the Senate or Ombudsman should do is to make him explain how he acquired his wealth because, not having any business, his family income comes only from their salaries as public servants. How did he become so rich? If he is not able to explain satisfactorily, that is unexplained wealth and should be forfeited to the government.

* * *

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has lifted the truck ban in the city to help decongest the ports of the container vans that have accumulated there. But is the truck ban really the cause of the port congestion and the resulting traffic gridlock when the giant cargo trucks were given express lanes?

Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, the city’s traffic czar, will explain the situation this morning at the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel. What next for Manila and its citizens? How long will the ban be lifted? How long will Manila’s citizens suffer? Isn’t there any other way to take the container vans in and out of the ports without creating those monstrous traffic jams? Can’t the railroad tracks from the piers be rehabilitated so that cargo can be taken in and out of the port on railroad cars without going through the narrow streets of Metro Manila?

Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian will also give his proposals to ease the traffic situation.

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TAGS: Ernesto Mercado, Isko Moreno, Jejomar Binay, Manila Truck Ban, port congestion, President Aquino
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