All is not well in UNA
What’s going on in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)? Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada did not show up at the party’s relaunch in Makati last Wednesday. Binay spokesmen had conflicting reasons for the former president’s absence: One said he had to attend to the affairs of Manila, another said he was not “feeling well.” Silence from Erap himself.
Erap is “god the father” of the trinity that formed UNA. Former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile is “god the son,” and Vice President Jejomar Binay is the “holy ghost.” Members of Erap’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) make up 80 percent of UNA. Enrile and Binay brought only themselves and their families to the coalition.
Why did Erap snub such an important event? Some say he is “unhappy” over the way Binay “hijacked” UNA, declaring it his own party when it is not. They say Erap has been unhappy since 2010, when he was junked as UNA’s presidential candidate. In exchange, a faction in P-Noy’s camp, including some of his relatives, junked Mar Roxas, his vice-presidential candidate. As a result, P-Noy and Binay won and Erap and Roxas lost.
Erap has said he would back Sen. Grace Poe if she runs for president. Meaning, he would junk Binay. Poe is the daughter of Erap’s best friend, Fernando Poe Jr. Erap said helping FPJ’s daughter become president is the “only way” he can make up for his failure to help FPJ when the latter ran for president. At that time, Erap was in detention.
Erap also said he himself would run for president again if Binay is disqualified because of the many corruption charges filed against the VP that the Ombudsman has endorsed for trial in the Sandiganbayan.
If Poe decides to run for president, Binay would lose the huge PMP votes that would go to her. Without Erap backing him, Binay would be a sure loser. The lesson is that double-crossers eventually get their just desserts.
That is why Binay is repeatedly attacking Poe, claiming that she has “no experience” and that voters should choose him because he has “experience.” But Binay critics ask: “Experience in what? Experience in overpricing government projects and hiding ill-gotten wealth in the names of dummies, two of whom are now in hiding?”
“Inexperienced” was also what was said of a housewife named Cory Aquino when she challenged the dictator Marcos. “TWA—talagang walang alam,” the Marcos supporters jeered. But look at what the “inexperienced” housewife gave us. She gave us back our freedom and our democracy. She gave us a new Constitution. She won the world’s admiration and respect for Filipinos. And she made us proud to be Filipinos.
Between an “experienced” but dishonest politician and an “inexperienced” but honest one, we should choose the latter. “Experienced” politicians know all the loopholes in the law to be able to steal the people’s money. The “inexperienced” ones don’t know these yet, so they remain honest.
I think the battle lines in the 2016 polls are clear. It’s a battle between good and evil, like Darth Vader and his Dark Side fighting Han Solo and The Force. We all know who won.
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What happened in Makati three days ago was shameful: the Vice President behaving like a bully, threatening law enforcers, poking his finger at their faces, grabbing their collars and mocking them for being policemen. Is that how he will behave if he becomes president? There will be a new reign of terror in the Philippines, worse than the martial law that Marcos imposed.
TV footage showed the Binay mob throwing chairs at the phalanx of policemen who did not retaliate but only used their shields to protect themselves.
Ironically, the policemen were sent there to ensure peace and order during the serving of the Ombudsman’s suspension order on Mayor Junjun Binay. But they were the ones attacked.
“Political persecution” and “selective justice” are the shibboleths that the VP is again invoking. The strongest argument against that is himself. He said he is being persecuted because he is P-Noy’s political enemy. This is a big lie. Nobody in the government was as close as Binay was to P-Noy, at least until he resigned from the Cabinet and started attacking the latter and his administration.
There are two false assumptions in the “selective justice” charge. The first is that P-Noy regards Binay as a political enemy. Well, maybe he does now, but not before Binay started showing his true colors.
Second, can P-Noy order Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales around?
Of course, De Lima takes her marching orders from the President, being his alter ego, but it is extremely doubtful that she would commit an illegal act like persecuting an “innocent” man—which would require manufacturing evidence—at P-Noy’s behest. As for Ombudsman Morales or
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, they would denounce the President if he so much as insinuates that they twist the law to suit his political agenda.
Sen. Bongbong Marcos echoes the same charge. He said political persecution only creates divisions in the nation, and so he calls on the administration to stop it. He dares not say it, but he must be referring to the cases that resulted in the arrest and detention of three senators: Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, and a number of congressmen and members of their staff.
It is a straw-man argument, one that assumes that he can order officials of constitutional bodies to violate the law to satisfy his vindictive streak. Forget this logical fallacy; focus instead on what the senator is trying to tell us: that graft and corruption should not be prosecuted because it would alienate the officials so charged and their supporters.
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