IF voters are looking for a next President who’ll make the incumbent accountable for his abominable control and misuse of the pork barrel and failure to act on allegations of corruption at the MRT, the DOTC, the Department of Agriculture and other government agencies, they’ll have to look away from the person of Vice President Jejomar Binay. I don’t believe he’ll ever go out and out against President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, even if there are sufficient bases for him to do so.
I may be wrong but I don’t believe he and the United Nationalist Alliance that he heads will ever go opposition in the real sense of the word. They’ll try to soften this by labeling themselves as “constructive oppositionists.” Have you ever heard UNA and the VP excoriate BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third? And have you ever wondered why the VP continues to cling to his Cabinet post even if the administration has been going hammer and thongs against his coalition partners and even if the President had already dared him to quit from his Cabinet post if he was dissatisfied with the administration?
I believe that Vice President Jejomar Binay is one politician who wants all of his bases covered. He is a segurista, one who would go to any extent to get what he wants, including straddling political fences. He’s now the leading contender for 2016 according to surveys and it won’t hurt his ratings a bit if he continues to enjoy the support of the President’s sisters and possibly get the President’s endorsement as well.
Perhaps, he’ll be better than the incumbent who basks at the achievements of others although the incumbent has never acknowledged their contributions. One thing is sure – he’s a much superior politician than BS Aquino who won merely because of the death of his mother. He reached political ascendancy in Makati by winning over the support and loyalty of the men and organizations of the late Makati Mayor Nemesio Yabut.
An ordinary politician would have created parallel organizations and appointed new leaders to neutralize Yabut’s political machinery but Binay is no ordinary politician. He didn’t treat Yabut’s men as enemies. He kept most of them in their old positions of leadership and maintained Yabut’s machinery, thus turning them into his devoted followers. He’s so unlike BS Aquino who harbors grudges and treats critics like dirt. There’s a Filipino term for one like the President – “mapagtanim.”
The Vice President, just like the President, knows the value of the pork barrel to a politician. In his first year in office, he fumed at the meager budget given to his office, saying it was an insult to the Office of the Vice President. Oh well, as Makati city mayor, he had been handling billions of pesos a year so he could have been insulted by the small budget allocated to the Office of the Vice President for fiscal year 2011. Speaking of the Makati budget, I recall what then Makati Rep. Joker Arroyo told me why he wasn’t getting his pork: “Makati councilors will only be laughing at me. They have a bigger pork barrel than congressmen.” Of course, when Joker became senator, he continued to ignore his pork which was almost three-times bigger than those of congressmen.
The Vice President was apparently appeased despite his meager budget with the allocation of a P200-million pork barrel to his office. This was unprecedented. No vice president before him had ever been given a Priority Development Assistance Fund. It was Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who introduced the amendment to the national budget to give “pork” to the Veep. The President approved the grant of this “pork” to Binay. He has been having pork since although lawmakers and Malacañang now claim that the proposed 2015 national budget is “pork-less.”
People may not take the Veep to task for his enjoyment of “pork” and for sleeping with the Aquino administration. However, they expect him to make a complete and more credible explanation on the construction cost of the Makati City Hall Building 2. The earlier boasts that that building was “world-class” and “green” had already bombed. His camp should find another explanation. People also want details of the P350 million spent for the transfer of one city department to the new building. Why, that amount was already more than enough to build a new building solely for the department!
It’s not enough for the VP to charge that politics was behind these claims of overpricing. This issue won’t go away until he has bared actual expenses incurred. And there are other issues against him that had surfaced that he can’t simply shrug off.