• Trillanes impales himself


    Someday it will be remembered as “the strategic inflection point” of the 2016 presidential race—the moment when the nation grasped the utter vileness of the Trillanes-Cayetano-Pimentel project of character assassination in the Senate, and when the people began to see, however dimly, the shimmering possibility of a Jejomar Binay presidency.

    To spell it out for everyone, it was the historic moment when the insufferable Trillanes described Vice-President Binay as “kulay mahirap, and asal mahirap” ( poor-colored and poor-mannered), thinking extravagantly that he was delivering thereby a killer blow to Binay’s presidential hopes.

    To the dismay of those paying his retainer, instead of a killer blow, he delivered, in fact, the equivalent of a benediction on Binay’s candidacy, while he simultaneously impaled himself on his words (or sword unjumbled), as had happened to Brutus and Cassius in the tragedy of Julius Caesar.

    In this country, where some 50-80 percent of the people are poor and constitute the masses, you can’t denigrate the poor without suffering huge consequences. Especially a politician. It has happened to one woman who denigrated OFW domestic workers, because as a Filipino she felt like one of them when traveling abroad, and she then called for controls on the employment of Filipino domestics abroad. The ensuing outrage was fierce, she had to apologize profusely to save her job or her living.

    I will discuss shortly why I consider Trillanes’s intended putdown of Binay as a benediction-cum-harakiri. But first let me explicate the ins and outs of “a strategic inflection point,” and why it is worth the trouble of comprehending.

    A point of major change
    In business management, the strategic inflection point is a concept first brought to the attention of the business world by former Intel CEO and business pioneer Andy Grove in his 1996 book Only the Paranoid Survive.

    Grove describes strategic inflection points as representing what happens to a business when a major change takes place in its competitive environment. Think of it as the point at which a trend or curve changes direction from positive to negative or negative to positive.

    Some examples of strategic inflection points often cited are (1) the switch from film to digital cameras, when it became apparent that so many people would prefer the convenience of digital cameras over film cameras. At the time it happened this was not so clear because digital cameras were very expensive and the image quality was poor.

    And (2) the switch from physical newspapers to online publications, when people saw the many benefits of accessing a huge variety of news sources and publications on one device. Yet just a decade ago, it seemed that most people would prefer forever reading the physical edition of a newspaper.

    In hindsight, strategic inflection points are easy to spot, and the course of action is clear. But in the moment, it’s difficult to know if we are looking at a fundamental change in the direction of the curve — or whether it’s just a hiccup that will soon go away.

    Because we are only in the preliminaries of the 2016 presidential race, it’s difficult to see at first the course-changing effect and repercussions of the Trillanes boner. But these soon became apparent when his words went viral and the pundits and commentators took it up.

    What really happened
    Trillanes uttered the fateful words during an interview with the media after he and other members of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee inspected a sprawling property in Rosario, Batangas, which he insisted belonged to Vice President Binay.

    The interview was quickly posted on Youtube and shared in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. I’ve watched the youtube post, and I can confirm that Trillanes said, eyes glaring and nostrils flaring, the following:

    “Nakita natin ‘yung karangyaan nitong lugar na ito at gusto ko ngang maipakita na ito, dalawang pagkatao nito ni Vice President Binay na nagpapakita siya na mahirap siya, kulay-mahirap, na asal-mahirap, pero ‘yun pala mayroon siyang sikretong mundo na, ito nga, na karangyaan. So diyan niyo makikita ‘yung pagbabalatkayo ng taong ito

    [We have seen the luxury of this place, and it shows the two personalities of Vice-President Binay. He projects himself as poor, because he has the complexion and the manners of the poor. But it turns out he has a secret world of opulence. You can see Binay’s masquerade here.]

    Reaction to the video was instant and sweeping.

    Netizens were offended by trillanes’s choice of words.

    The terms “kulay mahirap” and “asal mahirap” angered the netizens who slammed the senator for the slur.

    “Being poor is nothing to be ashamed of. Sen. Trillanes’ is so offensive. Talk about being two-faced,” one netizen posted on Twitter.

    Another netizen asked: “Pag maitim ba mahirap na agad? [Does being dark mean being poor?] Respeto naman Senator Trillanes. [Have some respect Senator Trillanes.]”

    A blogger also asked: “Asal mahirap, kulay mahirap, hiyang hiya naman ako sa sinabi ni Trillanes. Siya kaya? Asal mayaman? At kulay mayaman?” [Manners of the poor, complexion of the poor, what Trillanes said shames me so much. How about him? Manners of the rich? Complexion of the rich?]

    Others called Tillanes “matapobre,” the Filipino word for the rich looking down on the poor.

    In the same video, a visibly fuming Trillanes was also seen shouting at Chinese-Filipino businessman Antonio Tiu when the senator and his group were initially refused entry by caretakers of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

    “Anong gimik na naman ito? [What are you up to this time]?” he asked Tiu when the businessman arrived at the farm.

    When asked to comment on the slur, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman on political concerns, said that Trillanes’ attitude only showed that he “thinks lowly of poor people.”

    Realizing belatedly how damaging to himself his careless words have been, Trillanes tried to explain away the slur by saying that Tiu had set him up. This even though, he uttered the words in an interview with the media, whom he had brought with him to cover the ocular inspection.

    The way this looks to me, it’s like the toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. You can’t put it back again.

    Trillanes’s credibility is toothpaste now.

    Binay benefits from slur
    Ironically, the object of the slur is the one now benefiting from it.

    Trillanes has inadvertently turned Binay into a man of the masses, a Filipino everyman who looks and acts like most of us. It’s not exactly beatification as I naughtily suggest in my title; but the sense of this being god-sent is unavoidable.

    Binay’s tormentor may have given him a most powerful message for his forthcoming campaign. He is a man of the people.

    And he can go around the country boasting that he got it as a gift from Trillanes, while the senator was doing his worst to crucify him. And he can replay the YouTube video ad nauseam.

    Talk about an underdog coming out on top. This is it.

    It isn’t Jejomar Binay who is dark, it is the ignoble mission of his detractors in the Senate, who take money from plutocrats to assassinate his character and his reputation.

    Darkness of the heart is much harder to whiten than skin.



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    1. George Calimlim on

      This is a typical ” quoting out of context ” that Mr Yen Makabenta had implored to dig in his subjective opinionated tirade on Mr Trillanes.If you have transactions previously with the Ospital ng Makati when Dra. E B was then director, as a supplier then you will clearly understand where those bricbrats are coming from.It is common knowledge there that if you do not follow their SOP then you can not collect from them.
      The portrayal of VP JB as being pro-poor is his main platform to becoming President of our beloved country.When in fact it is from these very poor people that his like steal the money to enrich their own coffer to buy Haciendas.The piggery farm is understandable for he like to tell stories that he used to collect Kaning Baboy when he was still living with a relative when he was still a student.There is no shame in doing that but to steal from the poor is something else.He is not even the president yet God forbid.

    2. This is an unprecendented event in our country. A VP charged with malicious owning of a very big piece of land.
      While they are deliberating this in the senate and finding out the truth, it would be nice if those once visitors of the Binay can speak up and tell the truth.

    3. This English translation doesn’t sound exactly like the original and makes the statement sound like he used the description of the poor instead of how Binay projects himself as poor. Seems to be very convenient to ridicule Trillanes and his intentions.

      [We have seen the luxury of this place, and it shows the two personalities of Vice-President Binay. He projects himself as poor, because he has the complexion and the manners of the poor. But it turns out he has a secret world of opulence. You can see Binay’s masquerade here]

      He was talking about Binay and how his projection works.
      Very misleading or you probably just missed the context of the statement.
      If you really find his statement insulting then wouldn’t it insult you in every second you see that ‘poor’ complexion and ‘poor’ manners in Binay’s person?

    4. Bakit pa natin itong pagtatalunan eh halos lahat sila puro magnanakaw
      ng kabanng taong bayan. Wala ng naniniwala sa mga sinasabi nila.
      Dapat magkaroon na ng bagong partido na tunay masilbi sa ating lahat.
      Hindi iyong hangad lamang ang magpayaman sa sariling bulsa.

      Ito gayon malapit na naman ang halalan halos gusting lumabas sila
      sa mga news upang malaman sila na talagang para sa taong bayan.
      Hindi na ito epektibo dahil sawang sawa at galit ng tayong lahat.
      Tell this to the MARINES. Mahiya na kayo sa pag kuha ng
      pera sa kaban naming mga mamamayan.

    5. I think all this recent coverage shows just how unfit for office all the leading candidates really are. Trillanes seems to be typical of the many higher class filipinos who despise, but of course use, the poor. Binay has almost certainly enriched himself through his political office, and established a political dynasty to protect him. Neither should be in government. When I asked my politically aware friends who would fill the space if Binay falls, the answer was Erap! A convicted felon, only pardoned as a political deal. What a shower!

      • Erap was framed up and a special court was formed to try him. The details are too long for this space but if you have the patience to research the court records of the case you will find there the truth hidden in plain sight. The two major witnesses were established in court to be liars but the parties in power needed a conviction to justify the coup so they declared him guilty regardless of the clearly fabricated evidence. He was pardoned because the conviction was all that they needed.

    6. Instead of a lot of hoopla, why don’t we just get to the bottom of it and and let the arm of the law deal with it. Three important things…..evidence…evidence….evidence =case closed !!!!

      • ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. If he cannot present evidence that he acquired his WEALTH thru legal means, and he tries so hard to avoid his accusers, then, he must be gulty of un
        explained wealth n corruption.

      • Evidence, evidence we seek the truth!

        We should also bear in mind that this inquiry in the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee is not a hearing in a court of law, however, we can articulate that this session of Congress could preempt an already filed lawsuit before the Ombudsman. I am not in a position to tell that this is action of Congress is indeed unjustifiable, but in my opinion this hearing was intended to humiliate the person of the VP and ruin his chances in his desire to get the highest position of the land. Though I acknowledge I may have reservation on the sources of his wealth, his human right must be protected at all cost. He must be regarded as “innocent until proven guilty”.

    7. Just face it… If Binay is telling the truth nothing to worry prove your enemies that they are wrong as simple as that. But by swearing to god does not make you innocent in all the allegations hurled against you.

    8. Rogelio Espinosa on

      Alam po ninyo Mr. Makabenta hindi yan bebinta yang openyon mo. Bistadong masyado kang maka Binay e. Ni hindi mo nababangit ang napakalilinaw na ebedinsya at mga witnesses na nagpapatunay sa pinagagawa ni Binay kasama ng kanyang boong angkan.

      • Was binay already found guilty that you are saying he did all these atrocious things? Akala ko under trial pa sia and anyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Where are all the irrefutable evidence that we all want to see? or, moromoro na naman ito ng mga pulitiko na gustong sumikat? We want proofs and facts, not hearsay and fiction to be assured that binay is guilty.

      • …madali lang nmn malaman kung overpriced o hindi un sa makati issue, maglagay lang ng third party na agreeable on both side, isang well known structural firms tas item by item ilabas ang accounting, base sa costing nung mga panahon na yun, iscrutinize ng representative ng both parties, ayos tapos ang usapan…as far as i know ang pinaguusapan nmn ay kung overpriced o hindi, baka di pa umabot sa kalahati ng taxpayer money ang maubos..maliban n lang kung ang plataforma eh character assination eh ok nga mga ginagawa sa senado…daming magagaling na engr sa pinas kit pa kumuha ng intl engrs, para matapos issue, yun nga pyramid 5000 years ng nakatayo, nalamn kung ilang pirasong bato, o manggawa ang nagwork dun, yan pa kaya,,,,

    9. What ever you say… Binay does not deserve to get the presidency. He is one among them….the thieves in govt.

    10. it is so sad to write your article as you are trying so hard to defend a corrupt VP,I wish you could practise objective journalist rather than appearing to be a defender of a corrupt and rich vp and his family

    11. Trilannes did put his foot in his mouth. He can’t stop it. He tries to reinforce everything by laying somekind of blame on Binay. His dark color comment takes the prize on showing bias. Imagine that we have a Senator who is so biased against the poor.

    12. Walang masama sa sinabi ni Trillanes!

      Totoo naman na ginagamit ni Binay ang kulay nya para makahatak ng boto at awa.

      Malas lang natin karamihan ng mga botante ay wala talagang alam.

      Aminin natin yan.

      Dahil kung matalino ang mga botante natin, mayaman na sana ang Pilipinas.

      Ang problema lang.

      Paulit-ulit tayong bumoboto ng mga korap.

      Yung iba nga may kaso ng korapsyon, adik.

      Mga nahatulan na pero nananalo pa din.

      Tsk tsk tsk tsk…

      • Sir sino kaya sa mga politico ang d mag nanakaw paki sagot naman kong ang n yan para siya ang iboto natin kasi amtagal n ako d bumbuto baka sakalai makapili tayo ng matino.

    13. People don’t get what Senator Trillanes wanted to impose. Binay had been using his physical features to gain sympathy from the poor sector. Instead on answering all the allegations he went to different provinces to campaign.

      My fellow bicolano experienced it a few days ago. Indeed, Binay is already campaigning!

    14. Akala ata ni Trillanes pag maitim at maliit ang tao ay mahirap na. This guy Trillanes got no brains and does not think, just like on his failed coup attempt. He failed in Oakwood because of lack planning and did it again in Pennisula. Just imagine if become our president he might attacked with our 6 old model jet fighters and 3 second hand frigates.

    15. Meron akong nakilalang undersecretaries ng isang ahensiya. Ang isa, nag-retire na colonel sa AFP. Yung isa, major general. Ang sabi, hindi anak mayaman ang mga nag-aaral sa PMA. Si Trillalnes, nagtapos dun.
      Naging Navy clerk. Maliit ang sahod. Naging senador. Ngayon mayaman na. May malaking bahay yan sa brittany subdivision sa north fairvew, quezon city. Kulay dilaw. May mga guards. Stockholder din yan ng isang bus company na kahit walang franchise ay tumatakbo ng manila-tuguegarao.
      Yumaman na nga si Trillanes. Nag-treasure hunting sa senado.

    16. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

      By the way he talks, with his demeanor and body language, one can surmise that your subject senator is what is called in the street lingo as “mayabang” at kung “umasta ay akala mo kung sino”. Someday, somehow, he will be down to earth realities..

      In fairness to Trillanes, I think what he said was just to ’emphasize’ the contrast of the fact that Binay, while he, maybe, is for the poor, he took advantage of his position to enrich himself and his family, at the expense of the poor people of Makati. However, the statement Binay is of “kulay mahirap is below the belt”.

      While the investigations against Binay is obviously ‘political’ there seems to be a lot of suspicion of wrong doings involving the purse of the City of Makati. Like Drilon and the rest, he should clear his name. He will be aspiring for the highest position of the land and if he wants to be “exceptional” he should come out clean. Otherwise, we’ll have another candidate to the jail once he wins and his successor belongs to the other party. What a country we’ll have; what a shame: 2, possibly 3, or later on, 4, former Philippine presidents landed in jail!

      Call it what you want to call, but Binay is top in politics and he is “fair game”. His investigation is a lesser evil! Don’t we deserve a ‘clean’ candidate and a lot better president?

    17. On the contrary of what you people think, Trillanes is pro poor, He is just trying to explain to you people that Binay is pretending to be poor when in fact he is not. Binay is taking advantage of the situation and people like you are buying it…It is a shame that people like you Mr Makabenta enterpret Trillanes statement as a slur. You should know better….

    18. O, lumabas din ang tunay na kulay
      ni Trillanes-Kulay Matapobre, asal
      Bandido. Yan ba ang asal ng matinong tao?

    19. wherever you go now, you will find ‘no votes’ for jejomar binay because of his ‘left and right’ controversies….

    20. Amnata Pundit, at last ive read something brilliant from a filipino. Im a foreigner living in this country & these people in the press can so easily sway peoples minds. They always distract from the substance by using other methods.
      I hate it when they say i have an insider, but will never name a name, or they say this person is behind this thing but again wont name the name.
      I dont care what words he used, if he insulted the poor then that will reflect in his votes come election time. I would rather see when corrupt officials are pointed out as being corrupt that they are fully investigated & if there is evidence to prosecute then prosecute them.
      & by the way Yen Makabenta do you for one second think the wealthy in this country care about the poor, well im telling you they dont ever give a thought to them. How many of them are like me who complain that when poor people are trying so hard to get a job all the expense they have to go to just to even apply for that job, its disgusting, but do you or your fellow reporters ever write about it, no of course you dont as even though you try to get them on your side with an article like this its not about them being poor & trillanes supposedly insulting them that botherd you, what bothered you was you dont like trillanes or ( sorry i cant recall his name right now ) & want to see them ousted. I wonder if you agree with binay being investigated for so many things & also his wife, i read the other day she posted 2 counts of bail in ttal P90,000, & she said she did it as she wants to be able to go abroad for a medical check up. Is she casting a slur on the filipino doctors not being good enough to do that very basic procedure.

      • Apparently you do not read many of this mans columns. I read 3 Filipino newspapers every day. This man shows no bias and as far as knowing the what is good for the poor . This writer has been spot on in most of his opinions. Try reading his full book of work before you make statements about someones bias. My wife is Filipino from a very poor family. I know first hand how the the Elite Filipinos both in the Philippines and here and America feel about the poor. I also know first hand how most of the elections there are bought. Until this is stopped things will never change. I am not sure what relationship this man has with Binay, but I will say that from what I have read in his columns, he is honest, fair, and has only the wish for progress in the Philippines.

      • hindi mo ba napansin na yung litrato nya na inilalabas ng media pag may mga sinabi sya o press releases ay mukhang galit na galit ang expression nya? same with maid miriam. mukhang gusto nya itong litrato nyang galit na galit ang expression. tama yung bansag sa kanya nuong unang pag kandidato syang sa pagka senador na utak pulbura sya at galit sa mundo.

    21. For people like me – I come from a poor family – we’ve gotten used to being looked-down upon by the well-to-do.

    22. Let me get the logic straight. Because Trillanes is insufferable, therefore Binay is an honest man. Trillanes’ insult thrown at the poor- a matter of interpretation really- automatically raises Binay’s credibility therefore the word of his former subalterns who all swear that he is corrupt carries no weight at all. Because he is a target of character assassination like all politicians therefore he is a noble man with a pure heart. Unbelievable. Here’s my own logic. Because he and his wife and son are playing musical chairs with the mayor’s seat in Makati and his daughter is a senator while another one is in congress makes him guilty of violating the constitutional proscription against dynasties and if only for this he deserves to be impaled instead of being enthroned as the top government official of the land. By the way, Im willing to bet that the inflection point was the day when the entire nation was shocked by the sight of the obscenely opulent property called Hacienda Binay.

      • UNA and the “hired-guns” are working hard, but their efforts do not work. Many pinoys of Pilipinas still want get to the truth cost-overruns/corruption with World Class Parking. And if the evidence and then court-proceedings results in Bise Binay going to jail, then ganuon talaga ang dapat mangyari.

      • I do not agree with your inflection point. The so-called Hacienda Binay was pictured in the yellow PDI paper and captioned as such without first producing evidence that the property is indeed Binay’s. Binay haters may crucify him immediately thereafter, but people with conscience would wait for the smoking gun before declaring Binay “kulay mahirap and asal mahirap.”

    23. Yes right. It is only in the Philippines that corrupt government officials can always deny and defend themselves through their lies even if a witness points to them their corrupt practices and a lot of evidences presented. Only Philippine officials with all evidences presented just deny them by using technicalities. In Japan, USA and some countries, the mention of just one witness or an evidence is enough proof for the accused government officials to resign or admit guilt. BINAY, Revilla, Enrile and Estrada just keep on denying charges even to the extend using the money the Pilipino people’s money to pay their corrupt lawyers. Only in the Philippines that corrupt government officials get away with their stolen govt money. Binay should explain all his obtained wealth to the people. I congratulate the three senators for having the courage to expose the Binay family of their ill-gotten wealth. Mr. Makabenta, how much did the Binays pay you and Tiglao?

    24. Ang malansang isda, sa bibig na nasisila,
      Mahirap mag-asal santo kung puso kulay abo!
      Sobrang paniniil sa kapwa sa huli na kakarma!
      Hindi pa sumisikat itong si trillanes lumubog agad sa sobrang mapagmataas!

    25. mikhail hieronymus on

      What can you say to a “Brutus” type person who tried to assassinate a “Julius Caesar “? Now he is eating his own words. How about trying another “Coup D’état”?

    26. There had been a lot of arguments/perceptions/opinions about the alleged overpricing of the Makati Parking lot which extends to other matters yet what many people really don’t assert to happen is accountability and transparency in governance. By this I now include a nationwide scope-from LGU’s to the office of the presidency. All released pronouncements/articles(print and broadcast) tackle about personalities and all hype about who said what to whom and all those things. Let’s just go to the bottom of all these- search for facts/evidence of wrongdoing and apply the necessary legal sanctions for any offense done against delivery of one’s duty/official function.