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Binay’s town-hopping is premature campaigning

/ 02:30 AM November 19, 2014

Under the pretext of “feeling the pulse” of the people, Vice President Jejomar Binay is again violating the law by town-hopping, shaking hands, and delivering speeches to gain support for himself. This is clearly premature campaigning even if his mouthpieces claim that he is only “gauging the feelings” of the people.

Binay is a declared candidate. He announced that he would seek the presidency as soon as he was declared winner in the vice presidential race in 2010. Therefore, his barnstorming activities can only be a campaign to court votes for the presidential election in 2016. The campaign period has not yet officially started. He is violating the law again. It seems he is a habitual law-breaker.

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I am surprised that until now the Commission on Elections has been very docile and quiet, and has not issued any warning to Binay that he may be violating its rules against premature campaigning. The Comelec should not allow itself to be made a laughingstock by Binay. It should at least warn him that he is breaking the law.

President Aquino appointed Binay as housing czar, to lead in the construction of homes for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” many of whom are still homeless and complaining of government neglect. But what is Binay doing? He is campaigning as an opposition candidate against whoever will be the administration’s presidential candidate for 2016.

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Aside from courting votes, Binay is trying to clear himself of corruption allegations before the gullible people in the countryside, instead of facing the Senate that has invited him a number of times to present his side on the overpriced Makati parking building and “Hacienda Binay” in Batangas.

Instead of facing the senators, Binay has sent an affidavit to the Senate wherein he repeated his mantra that the corruption charges are “only politics.”

Why not face the senators instead of hiding behind an affidavit? Because the affidavit, being a mere piece of paper, cannot be questioned by the investigators. Binay knows that if he would accept the senators’ invitation, he wouldn’t be able to answer the questions truthfully. He is actually hiding from the truth. The people should be smart enough to recognize this chicanery.

In his affidavit, Binay resorted to legal technicalities that losing lawyers use to ward off the conviction of their clients. He said the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s investigation is not “in aid of legislation” but has subjected him and his family to a “trial by publicity,” and accused print and broadcast organizations of “putting him in a bad light.”

But how can the media put him in a “good light” when he refuses to defend himself at the Senate? The only inference that can be made from his action is that he cannot defend himself. A person who is lying can easily be exposed by expert cross-examination. Binay knows he cannot survive a cross-examination.

Binay prefers that the Office of the Ombudsman, and not the Senate, investigate him. He would rather be impeached than be investigated by the Senate. The reason is that, through legal technicalities, he can delay an investigation by the Ombudsman or even an impeachment. The 2016 election would be long over by the time these two proceedings are finished.

He is saying that the job of Congress is to pass laws “not to determine anyone’s guilt of a wrongdoing.” Precisely, the Senate is investigating so that it can craft laws that will prevent this type of wrongdoing from happening again.

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Besides, he has declared himself a candidate for president. The people have the right to know if he is, or is not, qualified to be the leader of the country. He should not complain of being “put in a bad light.” It is his fault, in the first place. By running for public office, he becomes fair game. The people have the right to examine him with a magnifying glass.

If Binay does not want to be examined closely, he should back out of the presidential race, like he has backed out of the Manila Peninsula siege and the debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes.

* * *

The Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) is caught in a maelstrom by incorporating the terminal fee with the cost of the airline ticket. Because overseas Filipino workers are exempted from the terminal fee, they are complaining against this innovation and a court has issued a temporary restraining order on its implementation.

But Miaa general manager Jose Angel Honrado clarified that the integration project is precisely intended to help the OFWs.

At present, airline passengers, after buying their tickets, still have to pay the terminal fee at the airport. Because of the big number of passengers, there are always long lines for those waiting to pay the terminal fee, which inconveniences and delays the passengers.

By integrating the terminal fee with the cost of airline tickets for those buying online, the long lines are avoided. The terminal fee is then refunded to the exempt OFWs at the airport before departure or after arrival. Isn’t that much better?

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TAGS: 2016 Elections, Binay, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Hacienda Binay, housing czar, Jejomar Binay, Jose Angel Honrado, premature campaigning, Vice President Binay
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