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Binay’s was a cheap political speech

/ 12:09 AM September 22, 2014

There is a joke among our old folk that when somebody sings out of tune, it would rain. A day after Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered his supposedly “presidential” speech to answer charges of corruption committed when he was mayor of Makati, the heavens hurled not only rain but a deluge, an angry storm that swamped large parts of the Philippines, including Metro Manila where Binay delivered his speech in front of a “hakot” hometown crowd of black-clad Makati City Hall employees. It was as if God was very angry, and at the same time weeping in sorrow, shedding torrents of tears at what He heard. What does that say of Binay’s speech?

His mouthpieces said that Binay himself wrote the speech and that it went through 20 revisions. Well, 20 revisions weren’t good enough. It still sucks.

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It took him a long time to answer the charges but when his answer finally came, it was a dud. It was nothing but a cheap political speech.

The people wanted to hear his side on the corruption charges hurled against him by his former aides in Makati, but what did he give them? A tearjerker about himself, an orphan who rose from poverty to what he is today. It was like a story for a soap opera. Binay is in the wrong racket. He should be writing telenovelas, not running for president.

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Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod said it was a campaign speech that is one-and-a half years premature. The Commission on Elections should disqualify him for premature campaigning.

The speech was about 25 minutes long but Binay devoted a large part of it to his life story (who cares?): that he is being opposed by the rich because he is poor; that he is a fighter and will always fight for the poor Filipinos. In short, he is a champion of the poor, that he is as pure as the driven snow, and that, like

Sir Galahad, he has the strength of 10 because his heart is pure.

Binay boasted that what he did in Makati, he would do to the rest of the Philippines if he became president. Which is what gives Filipinos the creeps. If he did that when he was only mayor of Makati, imagine what he could do if he became president of the whole country.

When he finally came to defending himself against the corruption charges, his defense was generic: His accusers were his political rivals who were rejected by the people of Makati; what they have testified under oath in the Senate were “all lies”; it is they who are corrupt; that the whole of Makati knew of their corrupt activities; there is no evidence against him “that will stand in court”; the P2.3-billion cost of the Makati parking building is comparable to the cost of other government buildings; government auditors have examined the documents on the building and found nothing wrong. That was all. He said nothing new. The people have heard all that before.

Let me question some of Binay’s statements: Does he mean that just because the accusations were made by his political rivals, then they automatically are false? If the whole of Makati knew of their corrupt activities, how come he, the mayor, did not know? If he did know, how come he did not stop them? Doesn’t that make him an incompetent chief executive and a bad judge of the character of his chosen subordinates? If he could not stop corruption in his city when he was mayor, how could he stop massive corruption in the whole national government if (God forbid!) he became president?

Binay compared the cost of the overpriced Makati parking building to the cost of other government buildings like the House of Representatives. But anybody who has gone to the House and the parking building can see that they are not in the same class. The House building is partitioned into the offices of more than 200 congressmen and their staff, and each of these offices has a first-class comfort room; the tiles are the best available here; the finish of the whole congressional building is, to borrow the words of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, “world-class.”

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But there is nothing “world-class” or “green” in the Makati parking building whose finish is rough concrete and cheap paint.

Besides it has very few partitions and few comfort rooms.

That the documents of the parking building have been examined by the internal auditors and found nothing wrong does not prove that it is on the up and up. It is common knowledge that some internal auditors have ceased to become watchdogs of the people’s money. Instead, they share in the spoils collected by corrupt public officials. For example, when directors of a government corporation or when local government officials give themselves a luxury vehicle each, they also give one to the auditor. How can that auditor resist the temptation?

That is why COA Chair Grace Pulido Tan has ordered a new audit by a special team because she said she saw “red flags” in the construction of the parking building. Let us wait for the results of that new audit.

After that, Tan should reshuffle internal auditors of government agencies. They should not be allowed to stay too long in the same agency. They are usually co-opted by the crooks in those agencies.

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TAGS: Commission on Elections, corruption, Jejomar Binay, Makati City parking building, nation, news
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