Jejomar Binay, vice president of the Philippines, delivered a prepared speech for a total of 21 minutes with all the trappings of the higher office save the seal. He was focused on the bigger audience and contrasted himself with those who threw mud at him. Still, I maintain that he effectively repositioned himself and reframed the debate. An astute pivot was used.
Binay talked about his poor beginnings, his being a human rights lawyer and mayor of Makati. He talked about the programs that endeared him to residents of Makati, mind you not to businesses in the financial district of the country. That says a lot and gives one a different lens in viewing Makati under the years of the Binays.
The third part employed triangulation strategy. From Binay as mayor to the issues thrown at him, delimiting it only to three key points: an ill-advised NSO metric, the need to compare the Makati Parking building to some controversial government buildings and jurisdiction. He further laid down the predicate where he wants to bring the nation. Astute and shrewd. The problem with a lot of pseudo analysts is that they use the prism of national politics in understanding Binay. No way Jose because he has mastered what US Speaker Tip O’Neal kept advising pols, “all politics is local.” And that will matter in a close fight come 2016.
By not “directly answering” the issues raised against him by the Pimentel subcommittee of the Guingona-led Blue Ribbon Committee, Binay is trying to inoculate himself from the issues. Will it be a successful inoculation? We will see if the Committee looks or the Fourth Estate digs into the following buildings: Iloilo Convention Center; House of Representatives Annex Building; House of Representatives renovation at North Lounge Extension; Calamba City Hall Complex; Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Dumaguete City at Naga City and Sandiganbayan Building. The mention of these buildings was surprising but the dare is like a Pandora’s box about to explode and bring in more in the proverbial corruption net. Who is bold enough to open the box is just like PDAF Batch II and III. And of late, DAP. So, who is clean?
The proportionate response of Binay upon hearing it may lead someone to a different conclusion. But a reading and re-reading of the speech shows clearly that this Vice President will not wilt and will fight it out. The problem there is a class divide is again nurtured, truly a chapter from the Erap book. The masa votes, while the oligarchs donate or hibernate during elections. That’s a reality that no black or white can undo.
So when some viewers went to social media and started attacking the person of this column, the attacks were below the belt and others were outright lies. And one even suggested how I should answer question thrown by the media. I guess they do not understand one reality: analysts try to adequately answer questions made by program hosts, whether inane or brilliant. Is the bias therefore with the person responding or the person asking the question? How about is it black or white?
And so let me explain further what the 3 minutes can’t allow an analyst to elaborate. Yes, I did say Binay did well with his speech. He was presidential, together with the imagery; his speech was well crafted and in Tagalog, clearly for a targeted audience. Binay reframed the debate. When you have the group who filed a plunder case answering the speech immediately, that was, in my book, an effective reframe. The hooked response was “Binay was campaigning.” A rapid response is what? Partisan politics, right? There were punto por punto paragraphs in the speech, why were these not responded too? Because the only “shades of truth” the accusers want to hear are theirs, right?
The current controversy will not affect Binay’s run for the presidency. Why? Because there are still 12 months before October 2015, the filing of the COCs and 15 months before February 2016, the start of the 90-day campaign period.
Again, in an earlier interview, I cited the psychographics of voters and that is why it will not affect Binay’s run. In politics, timing is very important. When you release a time bomb this early, you are giving the target a chance to cut the red line. In the said interview, I stated that Binay may lose some points because of the issue. But the loss will not be a gain for the accusers who have declared their plans (one even said. “I want to be president” which is far different from I am prepared to be president). My exact statement was “there could be correlation but no causality.”
Lastly, corruption will not be an issue in 2016. Why? Tell me who is clean? You have in some sort of a jail 3 senators. Where are the rest? PDAF I covered P10 Billion so whatever happened to batches II and III? DAP is P172 Billion and still counting, right? Indeed the promises of Tuwid na Daan will have traction. Voters will say, “tuwid na daan o wala, pareho lang lahat.” The bashers should bring in “clean hands.” With “clean hands” then there is contrast and then corruption will be an issue.
The bashers want political analysts to be forthright about their political involvements before any media interview. Funny, who campaigned for candidate Aquino and got appointments in the Aquino administration? Who got sacked for a failed PR campaign? Talk about ethics and the trolls have a doctorate in righteousness.
Finally, governing is choosing, governing is prioritizing and the Vice President just did that. He was saying we fight the fights worth fighting. In a character debate, would Binay win? Not with Cayetano and Trillanes hitting him. Get a Poe or a Robredo. In a performance debate, would Binay win? Get a Salceda. And no, they are not my clients!