More tough questions for Binay, Poe and Roxas

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Last of two parts

While Senator Poe faces questions about loyalty to the country and lack of governance experience, Vice-President Jejomar Binay and Secretary Mar Roxas are untarnished by foreign citizenship and seasoned in affairs of state. The questions they face are also not so different.

The administration campaign to highlight anomalies in the Binay family’s three decades of running Makati has painted the VP as corrupt. Yet far bigger sleaze has happened under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, though pro-Aquino media never give it the space they give rabid attacks unleashed against Binay.

Compare the billions of pesos in alleged Makati sleaze with the Aquino era’s unprecedented smuggling of P4 trillion in undeclared or undervalued goods, based on International Monetary Fund trade data; and record pork barrel totaling hundreds of billions of pesos, including maybe half a trillion pesos concealed in violation of Supreme Court rulings.


Plus tens of billions of pesos in dubious deals and programs of the Transport, Defense, Agriculture, and Social Welfare Departments, as cited by state auditors and Ombudsman investigators. These include the disastrous Metro Rail Transit maintenance contract bidded out when Roxas was Transport Secretary, turning the MRT from a reliable train service into the daily bane of commuters.

Plainly, Binay and Roxas have mammoth sleaze to explain, at least for those knowing both the VP’s alleged past graft and the LP’s present documented excesses, perpetrated in large part to bankroll Roxas’s presidential bid. To twist a Biblical line about King Saul and David, Binay has his thousands, and Roxas his ten thousands.

What can these men say to convince Filipinos that corruption wouldn’t flourish even more if one of them becomes president? Probably nothing would make those who know of both Makati and LP sleaze trust them. Still, a few things come to mind.

The corruption issue
First, if Binay goes to Malacañang, both press and public would not have the blind faith and relatively uncritical coverage accorded to Aquino. That and the robust economy and fiscal reforms he inherited, allowed Aquino to maintain lofty approval ratings despite record-high smuggling and pork, the MRT mess, and his constant defense of associates’ irregularities, including the uninvestigated disappearance of more than 2,000 cargo containers in 2011, the worst flood of contraband in the country ever.

Binay as president would not be able to pull off anything approaching Aquino-era anomalies without press and public raising inferno. And with a tarnished family name to burnish, Binay has even more reason to keep his presidency scandal-free.

Then there’s the fear of post-presidency prosecution. The Sandiganbayan court convicted Estrada; it also detains former president Gloria Arroyo on plunder charges which even the Ombudsman’s own lawyers found unfounded.

Aquino also faces charges, at least for his P157-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program, which allocated funds to unbudgeted expenditures, according to the Supreme Court itself.

If even just one-tenth of the estimated 1,400 DAP documents he signed are ruled illegal, the mandatory minimum sentence of six months prison for every count of malversation would incarcerate Aquino for 70 years.

No wonder he desperately needs the LP to stay in power, with its selective justice sparing its own while jailing opponents.

And what if Roxas and the Liberals do win in 2016, despite six years of monumental sleaze and some pretty gross and gruesome incompetence, from the August 2010 Rizal Park tourist bus carnage to Mamasapano? It would only show that with tons of money, the brazen abuse of power, and automated election fraud, one can rob the people blind and still stay in charge.

That’s one key difference between a Binay and a Roxas presidency: the former would be closely watched and keen to clear its muddied name, while the latter would be emboldened to perpetrate more sleaze, having gotten away with six years of it.

Make no mistake: Administration politicos backing Roxas expect him to continue protecting corrupt allies, just as those switching to the Binay and Poe camps hope to evade accountability and continue their rapacious ways.

Unimpressive achievements
As for competence, both Binay and Roxas have yet to show anything truly impressive by way of governance initiatives. Makati is a gleaming, prosperous city with first-class facilities, but that’s mainly due to private sector development and taxes.

Binay used that largesse for free health care and education, enviable senior benefits, good public services, and peace and order. But without Ayala Avenue, Makati would not have been so blessed.

For his part, Roxas has little to boast from his Aquino Cabinet stints. Under his watch and that of his chosen successor and fellow LP stalwart Jose Emilio Abaya, the Transport Department has seen not just the MRT, but the Land Transportation Office and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport hit low points. There were also port congestion, buses falling off the Skyway, and no significant infrastructure like Arroyo’s economy-boosting RO-RO ports.

As Interior and Local Government Secretary since mid-2012, Roxas did a bit better. The Philippine National Police corrected crime statistics, even if it showed that incidents tripled since 2010 to more than a million a year in 2013 and 2014.

But the billion-peso overpriced PNP firearms bidding, which Aquino himself ordered probed, was forgotten, along with Roxas’ threatened crackdown on jueteng, a longstanding political funding source.

And Roxas’s leadership in disaster preparedness and response among local government units proved spotty. State auditors noted nil achievement in LGUs calamity readiness in its 2014 report, and it showed when Supertyphoon Yolanda ripped through the Visayas the previous year.

Still, questions raised about Binay, Poe and Roxas may matter little. No Philippine election was ever decided by a serious public assessment of candidates and platforms. Rather, presidentiables win by personal charisma, massive media spending, moneyed and rifled allies down to the barangays, and since 2010, the black box of “hocus PCOS.”

Elections won’t stop disloyalty, corruption and incompetence. The governed must monitor and pressure those who govern. Otherwise, rulers will again rob the blind faithful, whoever wins in 2016.

(The first part on Senator Grace Poe was published on Tuesday.)

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11 Comments

  1. Maglagay tayo ng Alimango sa Palasyo.
    Iboto natin si Mr Crab as President.
    Mr. Crab wants to serve our country.
    He wants to buy weapons for our Army,
    To defend us against internal and external threats.
    A crab would never be corrupt.

    We need 5th Generation fighter jets,
    That cost only about 5 to 10 billion pesos each.
    We need an Air defense system,
    Like the MANPADS from Russia.
    We need modern tanks like the Challenger
    That costs only about 400 million pesos each.
    Mr. Crab would not be corrupt.
    Vote a crab for President.

  2. adonis b. rocha on

    None of these 3 declared candidates in Mar, Nognog and GPL can get the Philippines out of these quagmire….where people are asking and wondering : ” NASAAN ANG GOBYERNO”?????? These 3 are all just full of hypes and motherhood statements ( no substance nor specifics of how to achieve these motherhood statements and political promises) when it comes to governance and public administration. May God have mercy on the Philippines…” Sus Ginoo” !

    Just wait come the COCs filing next month of October, 2015 and surely one White Knight will emerged in the name of PANFILO ” PING ” LACSON to chart the Philippines in this troubled waters….nationally and internationally. Only the scalawags, criminals and corrupts of society are scared of a Ping Lacson presidency, and he will be hated by politicians as there wont be anymore Pork Barrell (PDAF, DAP etc….). It would be fitting to see Leni Robredo ( a sure winner for vp) as Roxas running mate. In 2016 the Philippines will see a President Lacson and VP Robredo charting and reforming the Philippines…for a better hope now…… and for the future generations. Ping Lacson will steer this troubled ship the Philippines to at least be at par with Singapore or Australia under the guidance of steady and stable hands of principled leaders with able partner in Leni Robredo as a working vice president.

  3. The lesser of the 3 evils would be Binay then . He has a choice of redemption and learn from the failed leadership of our former presidents.
    The next President must make BSAquino and his men be accountable and suffer the consequence of what they have done to the PDAF/Dap/Mamasapano/MRT etc……

  4. Binay presidency”keen to clear his muddled name”? And Roxas presidency will be “emboldened to perpetuate more sleaze”? What convoluted logic you have. Binay would be emboldened because he would interpret the results as approval of what he did. As for Roxas, he will interpret it as an approval of his clean image so he will be keen to keep his name. Roxas has a legacy to protect.

  5. This disqualification case against Poe is going to be a mind game. If Mar Roxas will questioned Poe’s residency so that he gets Poe’s vote, it will be very obvious that Poe’s follower will hate and will not vote for him, and Binay will unknowingly filed disqualification against Poe so that he can get the voter’s of Poe thinking that Roxas is the one who file to disqualified her.

  6. Mar and Binay are seasoned in the affairs of state? Please show us some results of this so-called seasoning.

  7. Mr Saludo, are you saying that whoever wins in this upcoming presidential election the country will have more of the same (corruption and poverty)? “Kung walang, walang mahirap” : government leaders are corrupt kaya maraming mamamayang mahirap. I thought this is the national problem that Aquino will tackle and stump on? What happened? It looks like he failed miserably!

    • the daan matuwid is a big big joke poised on the guillable teleserye showbiz filipino voters. from day 1, boy sisi and boy pickup (consultant si boy pickup for one year hindi ba?) have been plotting, in cahoots with abadingding and the cabal of lolong and lolo sb to rob this nation blind with their doubling or tripling of pdaf and the creation of dap. they bought congress lock stock and barrel kung baga.

  8. Nancy Bulok Cake on

    It will be Roxas against Binay in the 2016 elections. Poe would be disqualified as a candidate for her lies about her residence and citizenship (Poor papa-pogi Escudero). How stupid she is to listen to her friends and lawyers that she will be the next president because of her 2-year stint as senator and #1 in surveys. Does she not know that during the 2010 elections, Villar was consistently #1 in surveys and still lost to Aquino? Does she not know that her advisers are all ambitious to get a cabinet position when she will be president (an election lawyer to become the comelec commissioner, maybe)? How STUPID of her (Poe) to interpret the “Separation of Church and State” the wrong way? Even an elementary student knows the meaning and interpretation of this. NO to POE and eSTUPIDero.