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The future in the hands of Jejomar Binay

01:50 AM April 30, 2015

Is there anything that Filipinos should be afraid of if the future of this country will be in the hands of Jejomar Binay? It is not as if the Vice President emerged out of nowhere or from outer space. We are not in a situation wherein there exists a strong candidate and the rest in the field are weak. Political parties have got nothing to do with it either. If the surveys are to be believed, that the Vice President has continued to lead his potential opponents is only reflective of the brand of politics that we Filipinos have been used to in a hundred years.

We can check our textbooks. We almost had them all. We had a brilliant mind in Ferdinand Marcos, women in Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a nationalist in Manuel L. Quezon, and, while ill-prepared for statesmanship, an honest president in Benigno Aquino III. A simple look at some documents and the country’s historical records will indicate that our former leaders have all created fiefdoms, one way or the other. They have succeeded, quite especially, in ensuring the future of their families for the next 500 years.

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A Claro M. Recto or a Jovito Salonga would have advanced the standard of living of our people by a decade or so. But the ideal system that should have put these two statesmen in the highest position in the land is not there. The present system that we are in produced Jejomar Binay. It is also the same system that elects the classroom president in any elementary school, the punong barangay, your municipal or city councilors, your mayor, and your congressman. The Senate is a different category, for it requires national prominence and not just local patronage. Yet, beyond the tools of running campaigns and winning elections, political strategists know that the same principle of personality-based politics runs into the mindset of the majority of the electorate.

Should Jejomar Binay become president, we will still have the same setup in a Congress dominated by dynasts or political clans. Senate hearings and investigations will be a staple in our news feeds, including perhaps the possibility of former officials being at the receiving end of political vendetta. Your favorite anchorman, Mike Enriquez, will still deliver with much gusto or parody the tragedy of a people in the tapestry that is Philippine democracy. Things will not change on your television set, as those who are performing whatever comic relief is palatable will have mastered the job of confusing the masses so enamored of fake love stories.

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We have yet to hear from Jejomar Binay his plans with respect to rescuing this nation from the abyss of total disrepair. It is wrong to say that he has none. I am sure that just like any pther human being, he also dreams of finally liberating the Filipino people from the dark pit of human existence. Our fears of him stealing from the national treasury and putting into positions of power and influence all those who are part of his political bandwagon are not news.

Of course, with all due respect, the learned among us will accuse those who will give their two cents’ worth on the matter as mere armchair analysts. But you have to know this: Many among us actually live a life of reclusion, like some madman looking for God, unable to dirty themselves in a world where real people suffer and weep. Maybe there is nothing morally wrong with their indifference, for one’s commitment to work and family should also count as some form of a heroic contribution to nation-building.

Indeed, we should welcome the courage of those senators who are into some form of fishing expedition and those in the judiciary for initiating the democratic proceedings meant to punish those who have abused their positions. However, while laudable, such efforts are mere scratches on the surface, mere markings on the wall, for the greater battle happens not in the halls of Congress or in our honorable courts but in the hearts and minds of every Filipino.

Beyond Jejomar Binay, the big question is how as a collective body the Filipino people might be able to overhaul this iniquitous pathology that is patronage politics. Otherwise, any future president who wins an election under the same circumstances will have his/her hands full not in terms of securing the common good for all but in ensuring that the interests of his/her financiers are protected.

As of the moment, recent surveys are an indication of those would-be candidates who might be able to topple the Vice President come 2016. These surveys are important, but more than the fact that they put into despair other potential candidates and rattle those who are behind them, the Filipino people have to realize that choosing the next president is not like a search for a new Moses who will deliver the poor from all the ills of absolute destitution.

Christopher Ryan Maboloc is a former secretary of the board of trustees of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute. He has attended the 2011 Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Training on Political Party Building for Young Leaders in Bonn and Berlin, Germany.

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