The political strategists of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano would do well to advise their client to lay off “Binay-bashing” in his quest for the presidency in 2016. It’s starting to sound pathetic and “trying hard.”
We’re referring, of course, to Cayetano’s tirades against VicePresident Jejomar Binay who, for obvious reasons, has suddenly become the archnemesis of the youthful senator.
Just last week, Cayetano again took a swipe at Binay insinuating that the latter “could” use his power to influence the pork barrel scam cases involving opposition senators who are known allies of the vice president.
That quickly drew a biting retort from Joey Salgado, the vice president’s spokesman, who said that Binay “will respect the independence of the courts and will not interfere in its proceedings, nor will he extend pardon if the courts decide that the evidence is strong enough to warrant a conviction.”
And in a thinly veiled reference to Cayetano’s inclusion in the infamous “Napolist,” Salgado added: “(S)hould Sen. Cayetano or other legislators find themselves in a similar situation, they can rest assured that a President Binay will respect the independence of the courts.” Ouch!
It will be recalled that Cayetano was one of the senators implicated by pork barrel scam ringleader Janet Napoles in her tell-all affidavit. According to Napoles, she donated money to Cayetano for the 2013 elections and that his uncle, a certain Tito Boy, was the senator’s agent when he was still a congressman. Napoles also claims to have given a cash advance to Tito Boy who later returned only a part of it even though Cayetano’s project didn’t pan out.
Cayetano’s antics don’t surprise many Filipinos. After all, he already announced last March that he wanted to become the president of the country and had, in fact, started preparing for his presidential bid.
As one of the youngest lawmakers elected to the House of Representatives, the feisty senator rose to public prominence – and was widely applauded – for fearlessly standing up to the Arroyo couple at the height of their power.
This is why it’s a bit disappointing that Cayetano—who built his entire political career portraying the image of a non-traditional politician—should now resort to the same old strategy used by trapos: political mudslinging.
We don’t blame Cayetano, however, for trying to bring Binay down. He’s got a lot of catching up to do.
A Pulse Asia survey conducted last April showed that Binay is the first choice of Filipinos as the next president of the country, making him the presumptive heir to PNoy. Barring any hitches, Binay will most likely ascend to higher office a little over two years from now.
Cayetano, on the other hand, is languishing near the bottom of the list.
To our mind, Cayetano should to lay down his achievement and platform for governance instead of putting down political rivals to gain “pogi points.”
That, however, might prove difficult for Cayetano considering that he’s had very little executive experience. Aside from his short stint as vice-mayor of Taguig, he’s spent most of his political life in the legislative branch of government as a congressman and senator.
That explains why Binay appears to have a head start in crafting an economic policy for a post-Aquino administration. His speech at the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum in Washington, DC last month provides an insight into his economic agenda.
At the forum, Binay urged our leaders to “make sure that our economic gains are felt by the greater mass of our people.” Inclusion should be the key element of the nation’s economic strategy, Binay declared.
“The Philippine economic miracle is the tale of two economic sectors: the booming BPO industry and the record high remittances of our Filipino overseas workers. This, however, underscores the soft underbelly of the Philippine economic boom.”
He warns that “to provide sustainability as well as greater employment opportunities, the Philippine economic portfolio must diversify equally into the manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and other sectors of the economy,” which is what many economists have long been urging PNoy to do.
And knowing that government spending is a key driver of economic growth, Binay says “we must raise infrastructure spending…to a truly progressive 5 percent of GDP in order to raise the quality of life of our people and enhance the country’s economic climate.”
With his wealth of executive experience, most political observers agree that Binay is ripe for the presidency. He has a comprehensive platform of government and he’ll surely hit the ground running. No learning curve.
As for Cayetano, he probably ought to follow that oft-repeated adage taught to him in law school, which is, to emphasize the strength of your case rather than the supposed weaknesses of your opponent’s.
If he does, he would have done Filipino voters a favor by bringing up the level of discourse in political campaigns. Plus it won’t look so obvious that he’s only trying to ride on Binay’s coat-tails.