[OpEd Editor’s note: This is not a My Say column. It is a long "riposte” to last Saturday’s long article by Columnist Homobono Adaza "VP Jojo Binay: Can he ever be president?”]
I can take a beating. It will take some Freudian approach to understand this, but it’s been my way of life from as far back as my youth, and that’s been three scores and four years ago. I’ve got this capacity to absorb hurt, physical, emotional, what have you; pleasure from pain, the feeling is cathartic.
But more than masochism to which psychologists would invariably ascribe such a character trait is this sense in me to endure seemingly all humbling, not that I lack guts to combat humiliation but that being humiliated, I have come to realize, far from demeaning one’s person, actually exalts him to a level above those that belittle him. In a novel currently running in my blog, “Shoes Of The Traveler,” I have touched on this phenomenon this way: “By humbling himself, Christ lorded it over humanity.”
Taking a beating has had a way of making me feel superior over the rest – that is, of course, for Christ’s sake. But for my fellowmen’s sake, the notion must take a radical twist, particularly along the Marxist principle of class antagonism.
Fighting for myself alone during my employment as magazine editor at the Makabayan Publishing Corporation, owned by J. Amado Araneta, grandfather of now presidential aspirant Manuel Roxas 2nd, I silently bore the pain from such labor issues as unfair labor practices and oppressive and exploitative working conditions. But the minute the rank-and-file employees sought my leadership of the labor union they had formed to combat this oppression and exploitation, I instantly shed my sheepish garment and put on the horns of a battering ram.
Here, then, is the big difference. So long as the beating I get is private to myself, I take all the pain. But when the pain is a collective hurt of that class in which I belong, I respond with a resolve to do battle.
When we launched a strike against Roxas’ forebear in 1971, Jojo Binay was our labor counsel. Nothing appears to be extraordinary about this fact, labor counsels being standard features of workers unions. In Jojo’s case was one great difference however. He did not do it for a fee, as ordinary labor counsels do. He did it pro bono, no pun intended on Homo Adaza, fellow columnist whose column article this past Saturday, “VP Binay: Can he ever be President?,” spurs this present retort. Nothing distinguished Jojo from the mass of striking workers each hinged to the other in a common strife for workers liberation.
Jojo Binay was one with the union, integral part of our collective. That collective hasn’t diminished in spirit, despite the years, despite distances that physically separated one part from the other. And when Jojo announced his aspiration for the presidency, it was like water seeking its own level that drew in to his campaign hordes of comrades in the anti-dictatorship struggle, all avowing support for a cause they knew was not only Jojo’s but theirs as well.
Pardon me, Bono, for not addressing you in the customary courtesy reference “colleague” in this instance; I am not an “I” speaking now. I am a “we,” a minute element of that great mass called the proletariat who have found new hope in having their failed dreams of the First Quarter Storm finally realized in a Jojo Binay presidency. And if we ever come forward to refute the propositions you raised in your article, it is because by these you actually offended much less Jojo than us. Through worse adversities, Jojo has maintained calm and balance so that your piece now can only amount to a teeny weeny pin prick from which he probably won’t even take any offense at all. It is us, Jojo’s collective, that’s riled.
Bad faith appears inherent in your piece. You say you don’t believe in elections and yet your whole article is about how those elections, from your perspective, would turn out. How can you be credible in your assertions over something which, in the first place, you don’t believe in? At best, then, your slamming Vice President Binay over a number of alleged wrongdoings achieves an intention no less ignoble than character assassination pure and simple.
But then, again, why assassinate Jojo’s character if not for the purpose of diminishing his chances at winning the elections? So Bono does his bit in fact in advancing the chances of winning as a result by someone among Jojo’s opponents. I don’t have to guess who that someone is; Bono says it in fact, “As of now, it appears that the group of PNoy is determined to remove everybody along the way just so the right successor will become president and the right successor is that man who will not send PNoy and his boys and girls to jail. And PNoy has the power to do that with the machinery of government and most of all, the magic machine of SMARTMATIC – the PCOS.”
Bono’s expressed attitude toward Jojo smacks of conceit and elitism that are the hallmark of academic humbugs. He says, “If you examine Jojo Binay’s career, there was nothing spectacular about him. He was an ordinary UP student with no jewel, as they say. If he were a watch, he was one that is made in China, not even in Japan.”
The comparison brings to mind the early academic record of that somebody who flunked his early schooling a number of times but much later, in the hour of fruiting of his genius, came up with the equation E = MC2, the formula for the Theory on Relativity — Albert Einstein. Would Bono dare raise now Einstein’s lack of jewels in his early education?
Jojo’s hour for the Philippine presidency is now fruiting. I perceived this early in the race, which is why on my own I passed around through the social wire my citation of a glaring pattern in elections to the presidency: no Vice President who ran for President ever lost. This is true for Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, who beat the re-electionist President Carlos P. Garcia in 1961; true for Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who ran for President in 1998 and won. Certainly this was not true for Salvador P. Laurel, the Vice President in the US-forcibly-installed Cory Revolutionary Government, who ended up in the cellar of the presidential contest in 1992. But Laurel was a non-elected Vice President and so cannot be made to distract from the fact that no Vice President who ran for President ever lost.
Vice President Jojo Binay is the historical heir to the Philippine presidency.
I find it very intriguing that somebody priding in scholastic jewels should miss out on history he himself had been deep into. He says, “I did not know Jojo Binay then. He was miles away from the centers of Opposition power.”
I cringe at this assertion, recoiling from a recollection of a Chinese adage of old which illustrates a frog’s outlook of the sky from where it has dropped at the bottom of a well: “The sky is as big as the mouth of the well.” We know, of course, that what the frog sees is not the entire sky but a tiny portion of it corresponding to the size of the mouth of the well.
Don’t misread history, Bono. When you say “centers of Opposition power,” you are referring only to the bourgeois Opposition to the Marcos dictatorship. There was an Opposition much greater than the anti-Marcos bourgeoisie: the great proletarian revolutionary forces. To great many a proletarian in the revolution, Jojo was held in high esteem. You talk about MABINI in a manner that tends to belittle its significance (losing in trials by military junta), but you never mentioned LUMABAN (Lupon ng mga Manananggol ng Bayan), lawyers which bore the brunt of defending workers and youth activists in their skirmishes with the fascist rule. Jojo was a stalwart in this group, practicing “serve the people” all day long and deep into the night. You needed to throw a stone at his house in order to wake him up from slumber and prompt him to the police station where to secure release for detained activists.
Bono, you didn’t know Binay then because unlike you, probably, he did his job sans any grandstanding. This reminds me of that little girl who complains about the Lord Jesus not walking beside her on the sand as he promised, seeing there just one pair of footprints. Jesus tells her not to moan, because the reason why she sees only a pair of footprints on the sand is that he is carrying her on his shoulders as he walks.
Martial Law splintered collectives for a time, each thrown to his own revolutionary way. Sometime in 1977, I visited a provincemate in his Pasig home for some business talk. Who should astound me with his presence there but Jojo discussing some urgent business in connection with the dismantlement of the Marcos dictatorship.
Have you ever paused and pondered, Bono, that the reason you didn’t see Jojo in the “centers of Opposition power” at the time is that in his own little, quiet way, he was carrying you all in the “centers of Opposition power” on his shoulders?
If Jojo got the plum Makati OIC post, wasn’t that just a fitting reward for effort? For being in the “centers of Opposition power,” you got your own reward, didn’t you, Bono? Just your luck that you didn’t fare as well in public service. Why fault Jojo now for having bested you in this regard by many a mile?
Your piece, Bono, is quite bothersome. Evidently you cannot just be sour graping. An ostensible commentary that the article appears to be is permeated with a conscious, consistent design to malign Jojo’s person with a single aim in view: to frustrate Jojo’s election to the presidency.
After much elaboration on the wherefores and whatnots of what you perceive as negative aspects about Jojo, not the least of which being your allusion to him as the thieving Ali Baba (as if you are not a lawyer and should know whereof you speak, that it is fundamental principle in criminal justice that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that for all the hullabaloo in the Senate investigation on VP Binay, no guilty verdict has ever come out of it); and in addition you depict a scenario of a Binay arrest before the elections, as if you are not a lawyer yourself and should be aware that under the Constitution impeachable government officials cannot be charged criminally in court, you make a sweeping conclusion: “So Jojo’s chances of becoming president because he is the incumbent vice-president are as dark as the color of his skin.” With such a skin-deep analysis, you must be prone to be the object of Jojo’s crooning when he does: “I’ve got you under my skin.” Meaning, he knows who, as you state in your opening, the “faith” that is your master: “PNoy looks healthy despite Asperger syndrome and receding hairline.”
Certainly the many propositions you advanced ostensibly as a discrediting of the May 2016 elections are nothing new, such propositions having been expressed separately by some quarters of the Fourth Estate. I for one have voiced out apprehensions on the possibility of No-El for some reason or another, like the declaration of martial law which the Philippine president is empowered to do under the Constitution as necessitated by sudden hostilities in South China Sea, for instance, or the outbreak of a sudden social upheaval, like an intransigent action to deter the imminent election of Bongbong Marcos as vice president.
But in voicing out these apprehensions, my desire is to be proven wrong, because my being proven wrong can only mean a Binay win in the event of a fair, clean and honest election.
There’s where we differ, Bono. What you painted in your article is a grim scenario of the bastardization of all that we hold sacred in a democracy. Such bastardization can only bring about the destruction of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, the man destined to establish once and for all the long-cherished dream of a good life for all Filipinos.
Bono, will you insist you are right? Then accept the formal declaration of a barefaced Benigno C. Aquino 3rd Dictatorship.