Is Aquino plotting to jail Binay?

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It seems like it. Vice President Jejomar Binay is way ahead in the voter-preference polls with 69 percent, against Mar Roxas’ 29 percent, while his trust ratings —despite the all-out demolition drive against him by Senator Antonio Trillanes and the powerful Philippine Daily Inquirer—are still the highest among government officials.

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I had been wondering why the propaganda campaign against Binay was undertaken this early, a year and a half before the May 2016 elections.

One reason obviously is that the campaign is a weapon of mass distraction. Since the attack on Binay started, the issues such as the accountability of the architects (Aquino and his budget secretary) of the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the corruption of the police chief, the horrendous crime rate, the reincarnation of pork barrel funds in the 2015 budget and the MRT-3 corruption have receded from public attention.

But why would President Benigno Aquino 3rd risk weakening the demolition campaign’s impact against Binay in the 2016 elections by launching it too early, just as a distraction?

The inescapable answer is that throwing Binay to jail at this time seems to be the only option left to stop Binay from being President in 2016. If he is detained in the next few months, it would be easier for Aquino to claim that it has nothing to do with the 2016 elections, while Binay’s resources for an election campaign, as I would explain, could weaken.

Stopping Binay from becoming President in 2016 is a matter of political and even personal survival for Aquino and his camp: their illegal DAP, the bribery of senators in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona, the MRT-3 gross anomalies, the pork-barrel thefts under this Administration, will surely land this president and his accomplices to jail unless they control the next administration. They have also wronged so many people with resources who are likely to demand justice – okay, call it vengeance – when Aquino and company are no longer in power.

Jailing Binay, of course, risks making him an underdog, a persecuted opposition figure just like this president’s father, Ninoy.

But Aquino’s camp knows that despite his father’s popularity in 1972, that there was consensus that he would be the next president – people hardly cared about Ninoy’s imprisonment. It would be the economic recession that started in 1983 and Ninoy’s assassination that roused the people to revolt, and that occurred more than a decade after he was imprisoned.

The jailing of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla – once very popular figures – as well as of former President Gloria Arroyo, have been successful dry runs of sorts for Aquino’s plan to jail Binay. The three senators – who were, before, among the most trusted and most popular in the Senate – are fast receding from people’s sphere of attention. Even with the flimsiest of evidence against her, Arroyo is spending her fifth year in detention, her health deteriorating to life-threatening levels, yet there is no outrage over such injustice. If I could do that in Arroyo’s case, I can do it with Binay, too, Aquino must be thinking.

Enrile couldn’t mobilize the North, his RAM veterans, and Marcos loyalists; Jinggoy’s father Erap’s solid popular base of support obviously wasn’t transferable; and Revilla’s movie fans have proven useless in a political battle.

Aquino and his camp have concluded that as long as a personality is portrayed successfully as corrupt, and if he or she is jailed for plunder, which is “non-bailable,” there wouldn’t be a political furor over his or her jailing.

Aquino’s camp knows that the allegations of overpricing for the Makati building, the Batangas agrotourism park, and rigged city-government contracts don’t really matter for the C-D-E classes, which have learned to accept an “acceptable” level of bribery as long as an official is doing his job – and Makati has been practically the kind of social-welfare state the masses want.

Surveys I’ve seen also show that Binay has built up a solid, unwavering 35 percent mass support, even a bit more than of Erap’s. That kind of support has proven to be invulnerable and steadfast, with Erap’s landing second place in the 2010 elections even after his conviction by the Sandiganbayan, and even if the other candidates like Manuel Villar had much bigger campaign funds.

For some reason, despite the corruption of the judiciary, it is still a highly trusted institution, and many people believe that if a regular court orders somebody jailed, it is likely that he or she is guilty, or “somewhat” guilty of a crime.

Almost all the elements in Aquino’s now familiar playbook for attacking a personality and putting him (or her) to jail are now in place:

• The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s and its opinion columnists’ all-out attack against the target, almost simultaneously with a Senate investigation, as has happened in the campaign against President Arroyo, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes, Chief Justice Renato Corona, and the three Senators.

Alleged whistle-blowers who would be placed, for drama, under the Witness Protection Program.

After the big Doberman-type of attack dogs on opinion pages, enter the “Chihuahua” attackers yapping their “exclusives,” like that blogger whom congressman Renato Umali in the impeachment trial described as the small lady who gave him Corona’s confidential bank records, columnists who usually follow crowd-thinking, and a news website.

• Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza (remember her crying in the Senate hearing against Reyes and her attempt to explain Corona’s bank records in the impeachment trial?)

• Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and her attack dog, the National Bureau of Investigation; and lastly,

• The Anti-Money Laundering Council’s secretariat, especially when its play-safe head, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco, is out of the country.

The one element that is conspicuously absent is the Akbayan party, which, after getting millions of pesos from this Administration, is wisely starting to disengage from it.

When Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales rears her head in this fray, Binay should start packing his overnight bag.

What would Binay’s jailing achieve?

First, he would find it difficult to tap his resources, financially and politically, and there would be some defections from his political and business-sector supporters. Second, the usual campaign funders from business would reduce their contributions, and if there is no public uproar over his jailing in the eight or six months before the May 2016 elections, they would probably stop their support, crippling his campaign.

The media will play a big role in the coming months or even weeks, whether Aquino will implement his plot to jail Binay and whether it will be successful or whether it will backfire to make him a shoo-in for the presidency in 2016.

However, the two big networks, ABS-CBN and GMA7, as well as Channel 5, are appearing as defenders of democracy and have not joined the still-small lynch mob against Binay, and to their credit have been professional in their coverage of the accusations against Binay. Unlike Aquino’s previous campaigns, the Philippine Star also has been more sober in its coverage of the controversy. There is still a chance for democracy and justice.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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28 Comments

  1. i don’t care if his good in Makati i wanna know what character the next president is if he gets there. Binay is not that good for me if those allegations is true. i could say he suck. and Philippine democracy btw is just in the book it never been applied in real life in the Philippines. Politicians are liars they love to steal money in legal ways. the only things different from robbers and Politicians is that politiians steal in legal ways while robbers in the other way. Justice Systems in the Philippines delayed, denied and for S***. head of Philippines offices anywhere loves red tape and etc. sigh… few more years Philippines will surely fail and war coming my analyze.

  2. I happened to read in one broadsheet a rather disturbing news about Ernesto Mercado, the main witness against VP Binay. And this is anent the mysterious circumstances on the death of Raquel Ambrosia, former lived-in partner of Mercado. According to Mercado, it was suicide. But apparently, the relatives of the late Miss Ambrosia believes there was foul play involved. Mr. Tiglao, being one of the best investigative and objective journalist in the country, perhaps you can shed more light on the veracity of this allegation. I mean being accused of corruption is one thing, but of murder or homicide, now that is truly despicable.

  3. john c. jacinto on

    Thank you, PNoy, for plotting to jail Binay. He deserved to be jailed a long time ago.

  4. I am afraid that the philippine politics is becoming like the 70’s politics of Central and South America (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Columbia etc.) The corrupt politicians should be wary of what is happening now. Assassination might become a normal in the Philippines. My concern is the family of politicians might be also becomes a target. The honest and concerned military should act early and put the house in order.

  5. Now we see the fruits of evil politician in this country, plunder, I’ll gotten or hidden wealth, corruption, and stealing is a norm which being followed by neophyte and season politician. Gone are days when politician serve the country not great disservice of this nation. Hypocrites politician are very rampant nowadays showing themselves like Angel but on his back it’s a real devil.

  6. The Philippine Inquirer has lost its objectivity in news reporting and commentaries that most readers has switch to the other major dailies. I have trusted the Inquirer at the time of Tita Cory but waned on another Aquino presidency.

  7. The fact that Binay is rampaging like an unstoppable bull in the ratings game for the presidency, perhaps that would be a not so far fetched option for P-noy and his maggots to derail the looming election of a presidential candidate that P-noy cannot really control.

  8. I sincerely believe that Pnoy and Mar will never stopped in using dirty tricks against Binay and the reason is simple they can get away with it. They were successful in destroying CJ Corona, GMA, Enrile, Revilla and Estrada and doing it on Binay will be a piece of cake to them. Even if they jail or impeach Binay next year, it will still be impossible for Mar Roxas to win because their is still Bongbong Marcos and Villar waiting on the side to pick up the pieces. Mas masakit ito pag nangyari because it will be disappointment for Mar Roxas after all his preparations someone not him will collect the presidency.

  9. This week the brouhaha reBinay will stop. Senate investigation and PDI will cease or fade quietly in obeisance from the BIG BOSS. Kung hindi pa nagbunganga si Binay hindi pa matatauhan si BIG BOSS. Cawatano ang Trillones will be crying like Spoiled brats. Binay will HA,HA,HA!

  10. Between two evils, sayeth nay..the Dirty Harry Connection (DHC) will have the 2016 PRES stolen. DH connection is also evil, the third evil..but loveable evil also with CDE connections. Pry your eyes loose RP it is not Pnoy and Bnay sideshow only…the DHC is fast emerging..Pnoy or Bnay you do not have 2016 Pres in the bag..not yet

  11. BINAY, AQUINO, ESTRADA, ARROYO, RAMOS, MARCOS have all committed corruption in massive scale. The only difference among them is their competence or incompetence. Looking at them individually gives you a composite image of the Filipino nation they represent, i.e., stupid and immoral people. How could 12 million of them justify voting for president someone who had been convicted of plunder. Or believe in the honesty of a leader who does not even understand the basic idea in a democratic form of government that the constitution applies equally to all people. It does not give the president power to ignore or disregard the provisions of the constitution.

  12. Anybody but the present administration’s anointed one! Very revealing insights and information koyang bobi.

  13. It seems that you are looking at the Binay Affair as a pure political battle. What if Binay is really guilty of those allegations? Don’t you think that people should know his real character before the presidential election?

    • leonardo tiongson on

      “Aquino’s camp knows that the allegations of overpricing for the Makati building, the Batangas agrotourism park, and rigged city-government contracts don’t really matter for the C-D-E classes, which have learned to accept an “acceptable” level of bribery as long as an official is doing his job – and Makati has been practically the kind of social-welfare state the masses want.”…. I suppose that answers your question, Leo? hehehe…

      Fact is, I agree with Mr. Tiglao, people from the CDE care little if there is corruption of not. what matters is that services are delivered. Que Se Joda kung manggalaiti ang mga mayayaman dahil kinokotongan sila, basta pagbirthday ko, may cake ako, nakakapag-aral mga anak ko libre, may pakain pag may okasyon…. simple lang naman kelangan ko, at itong mga ito ay nabibigay ng Makati…

      I live in Makati myself and i can see this services being delivered. I myself am comfortably middle class but I support the CDE crowd here when i say, ok lang sa akin si Binay. :)

    • Most of the time its one thief fighting the other thief to run the country. So they can steal some more.

    • As long as there are Filipinos with this kind of reasoning (Mr. Tiongson) then surely it our country will have more cycle of thieves plainly because as I keep on saying majority of our voters needs to be educated or must care for the welfare all Filipinos.

    • yes good comment aanhin mo un pangako ng mga alta sosyedad if not deliver 100 sure bola lang samantalang dito kay vp binay may action kaya mga folks supportahan natin si vp kalimutan natin un 3 itlog cayatano pimentel at triallanes at un mad mar abad bondging drilon they are buwaya at linta ng lipunan

  14. jose hernani m. parco on

    anybody who’s been in political power since 1986 up to the present must be a real sneaky b*****d! since he cannot or will not explain his becoming so filthy rich beyond his means(?) creates an environment of envy and fear from opponents. as the saying goes whatever goes around comes around, and yes he ought to know by this time when he created a formidable political dynasty that it’s becoming so nasty! as he used to say it that time, “sobra na, tama na palitan na” if he could still remember his famous last words!

  15. There is one practice in Makati never analyzed for democracy’s sake. I labelled it political prostitution being perpetrated among their electorate. In an October 16, issue of the Business insight, an almost one page of page A3 was devoted to: “Ang Ganda ng buhay sa Makati” where a senior citizen claimed all her benefits. Probably all of these came from the huge kickbacks under senate investigation.

  16. I highly doubt it. Here’s my personal opinion:

    Immediately prior to Binay and PNoy’s meeting, Binay was asked for his comments on the additional issues raised against him. Binay answered a curt, “We’ll see.” However his camp through JV Bautista identified the plotters against Binay namely: Roxas, Drilon, ABad, and Joel Villanueva of TESDA. I posted after the meeting that we will see and understand the impact of their meeting based on subsequent developments. Clues:

    1. After the three hour meeting of the BFFs, Roxas, Drilon, ABad, and Joel Villanueva are strangely silent. Roxas, was pestered when he was asked about it in Cebu. And, just flatly denied it without further explanation but added, “Why don’t you ask Binay” showing irritation;

    2. Another report exposed that Salvador Buddy Zamora owned the helicopter used to take video footage of the Batangas property. His brother Ronnie Zamora was able to convinced Cayetano to run as VP of Roxas in that same meeting at a building owned by Buddy Zamora where the conspiracy was hatched. Definitely Cayetano is part of the conspiracy proven by his two employees who took the video footage and not Mercado. For sure, this LP-NP tactical alliance is not sanctioned by PNoy. Cayetanbo is also strangely silent on this matter;

    3. I assume that the expose of Binay to PNoy in their three hour meeting about the alleged conspiracy of the plotters against him is more than meets the eye. It is against PNoy himself;

    4. De Lima was given specific instructions by PNoy to investigate, not against Binay but as to Binay’s expose that is why Binay is willing to participate with the DOJ;

    5. Finally, the preempted revelation by Koko Pimentel to recommend the stoppage of the senate yellow investigation against Binay based on “negative findings or no overprice” is glaring proof that something is amiss behind the scenes. Pimentel will not recommend it’s stoppage if there are no verified newly discovered evidence.

    • Your opinion number 4 does not make any sense. I am a little bit confused. Binay is the one being investigated by the NBI and he will cooperate with the DOJ? It is very clear that the objective of this NBI investigation is to tighten the noose around Binay with the end result to throw him in jail. Plain and simple. As for Binay, the writing is on the wall, he is against formidable politicians and the current administration and no amount of denials will save him from suffering the same fate as Enrile, Jinggoy and Revilla.

  17. Funny. I was going to write this commentary or, analysis – if you will. But, I thought, it’s so obvious, everybody should have seen it by now. Or, since the Corona trial. But, I forgot – perception is such a fickle reality, (here) in the U.S. or, in the Philippines. Wherever poor education is prevalent.
    So, thanks for articulating this scheme Mr. Tiglao.

  18. Herman P. Hondojare on

    Filipinos must unite to remove all this people they are the Government of Criminals prostituting our Philippine Constitution and Democracy corrupting and controlling the Three Branches of Government, the AFP and PNP.

    An Evil Genius President elected by automated machine and not by the people.

    God Bless the Philippines

  19. It seems to me that all jounalists in the Manila Times are anti administration. I thought you all wants to know the truth so, why not wait for the result of the investigation. I still have to see a commentary by this newspaper that can be construed as seeking the truth about this corruption probe. Are you all apologists of Binay? Just wondering.

    REPLY TO MR GEORGE: You obviously have not read the Tea Time column of Ms. Tita Valderama, who is also a professor at The Manila Times College and also some of the columns by Mr. Marlen Ronquillo.

  20. i think this administration is on tail end of his popularity. every time palace make an announcement, most are skeptic if it is true or not.