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Binay should resign from BSP, too

/ 12:09 AM June 24, 2015

Finally, Vice President Jejomar Binay did the right and decent thing: He resigned from P-Noy’s Cabinet. He should have done that a long time ago. For five years he was like a bat in P-Noy’s Cabinet: Was he a mammal or a bird?

Binay is one of the triumvirate, along with former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, behind the formation of the opposition party UNA (United Nationalist Alliance). But at the same time he was a member of the Cabinet. He was like a drop of oil floating on water: The two cannot mix.

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Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, a Liberal Party stalwart, had repeatedly called on him to resign from the Cabinet, accusing him of “paddling a canoe in two rivers.” Former senator Panfilo Lacson asked why he resigned only now.

Yes, why? Probably because he was still hoping to be anointed by P-Noy as successor because of his close relationship with the Aquino clan. It was President Corazon Aquino who plucked him from obscurity in 1986 and appointed him officer in charge of Makati, from where he started his climb to wealth and power. In fact, he and his family never left it. When his term as Makati mayor ended, his wife Elenita succeeded him. After her, he became mayor again, and when he could no longer run for reelection, he made his son, Junjun, succeed him. All three of them are now facing charges in the Sandiganbayan and in the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged corruption during their terms as mayor.

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Binay realized that he would never get P-Noy’s endorsement no matter what the Aquino sisters and other relatives say, so he resigned. After all, how can P-Noy endorse Binay? He would face a rebellion in the Liberal Party if he did. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the leader of the party, unselfishly gave way to P-Noy as LP standard-bearer in 2010 and settled for the vice presidency on the promise that he would be the next presidential candidate.

With Roxas’ low ratings in the surveys, Binay probably thought P-Noy would endorse him, the front-runner, instead. But he is no longer the front-runner because Sen. Grace Poe has overtaken him. And P-Noy wants to draft her as an LP candidate next year, either for president or vice president. So there is nothing left for Binay to do but to resign from the Cabinet.

Besides, Binay won his following as an opposition leader, leading protest marches and demonstrations in Makati against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, probably the most hated president of the Philippines next to Ferdinand Marcos. As a member of the Cabinet, Binay was losing that image as an opposition leader. He wants to get that back.

All presidents become unpopular near the end of their terms.

Public expectations are not met, promises are not kept, the people’s lives do not improve, and so the president becomes unpopular. P-Noy is no exception to that. The people look to the opposition leader to change their lives. That’s Binay’s chance.

Now he can criticize the Aquino administration to his heart’s content. “The battle lines are now drawn,” said Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice chair of the LP. “You have the administration and the opposition.”

But that also means the administration will now go hammer and tongs against the Binays. No more pulling back on the punches.

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While he is at it, Binay should also resign from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, or the people will think he has millions of reasons not to do so. Citing Supreme Court jurisprudence, some lawyers say he is barred by the Constitution from being head of the BSP or any other agency. He has been president of the BSP for about 20 years now—a record that merits a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. During that time, the BSP has been involved in scandals, such as the attempted land-grabbing involving a part of the University of the Philippines campus in Los Baños, Laguna, and the shady deal with a developer on a valuable piece of land in Makati owned by the BSP. Is that the reason he does not want to leave the BSP, the same reason he does not want to leave Makati?

Now why is this organization for young boys being run by a clique of old men? The BSP is supposed to train boys to be good, honest, helpful and reliable citizens, but irony of ironies, it is now led by some old men whose characters are not exactly squeaky clean. Why are the Boy Scouts themselves denied the right to choose their leaders?

Consider the irony. The Scout Oath says: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to my God and my Country … and to obey the Scout Law.” And the Scout Law says: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.” Do the current officials of the BSP possess all these virtues? On the first virtue alone, trustworthiness, some of them would fail.

BSP officials should be elected by the Boy Scouts themselves so there would be true democracy in the organization, and to train the Scouts to be good leaders. Make the Scoutmasters and the Eagle Scouts vote for their officials and liberate the organization from the clutches of a clique of questionable old men.

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TAGS: Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay, UNA, United Nationalist Alliance
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