“Freedom to differ is not limited to things that
do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow
of freedom. The test of its substance is to differ on
things that touch the heart of the existing order.” —
JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON OF THE US SUPREME COURT
Whenever someone writes a critique of anyone in this country, the immediate conclusion of the readers is that the writer is an enemy, a fanatical partisan or a paid hack. If a writer does the opposite, the same conclusion ensues – that the writer is a friend of that someone, a partisan in his favor or his paid hack. In most instances, it is probably accurate in the Philippine setting. The exception is that there are writers who do analysis of personalities who run for public office just for love of God and country.
I am one such writer. I don’t get paid for writing, not now or ever except when I was editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines because I had salary. I write and publish my books without thought of ever recovering my expenses for their publication. I have been offered bribes as much as US$50 million up to $100 million just to leave for the United States of America before an election. I had been offered P50 million to release a Yakuza Chieftain when I was Commissioner of Immigration. I rejected both of them. There were other offers defined in terms of millions which I all rejected.
The reason for the rejections is simple: I learned an indelible lesson from our father who was mayor of our town for about twenty years when he told his children “that when wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost something is lost. But when character is lost, everything is lost.” I write and do things for love of God and country. I don’t care about what people think about my writings or what I am doing. It is enough that I write and do what is right. To borrow some lines of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles In Courage and Senator John McCain in a recent Fox News interview, “I’d rather be right than President.” That’s me and there is nothing anybody can do about it.
The comments of UNA and Binay partisans
I am compelled to do this because of comments from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Binay’s political party, and some of his camp followers that my analysis of Binay’s chances to become president is biased and designed to belittle his chances. They have missed the point by a stellar parallax. I have written also about the other four candidates for President and I have said over and over again that none of them deserve to be President and leader of this country. If they are not squint-eyed or blind they should have been aware of my writings. As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, “know thyself, know thy enemy. A hundred battles, a hundred victories.”
Almost all traditional politicians in this country repeat this line whenever they are attacked or criticized, “Charge me and prove it in court.” This pitch is as old as the Marcos era as though we have not made any progress from there. This is the politics of ignorant candidates and ignorant voters.
In an election, candidates appear before the court of the people. All the critics need to do is to bare the evidence in convincing terms. You don’t need evidence that prove the guilt of the offender beyond a reasonable doubt. That quantum of evidence is required in a court of law, not before the court of our people. This, Binay and his partisans should know because thus far Binay has done nothing but come up with denials, denials and more denials. Thus, he is appealing to the sense of pity of the people and saying that he is accused left and right because he is the tribune of the people waging wars against the oligarchs in this country. When he comes out with some explanations, he and his partisans give us a cock and bull story, even the stupid will find funny and insulting.
Imagine some of Binay’s partisans compare him to God and Einstein. That is a lot of shit. It is plain and simple hogwash. It is as tasteless as Duterte’s curse of the Pope. It is not only the height of shameless braggadocio it is insulting to those who do not even think politics.
Questions Binay should answer
There are questions Binay should answer to quell the doubts of the people about his character as a public official:
First, is it not a fact that it was an oligarch, President Corazon C. Aquino, who appointed you OIC of Makati City with the help of her running dogs, then Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo and Secretary of the DILG Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.?
Second, what was the net value of the properties which you claimed you have inherited from your parents at the time you became OIC of Makati?
Third, what was your net worth – your wife and you – at the time you assumed the position of OIC of Makati?
Fourth, did you include all these properties and your income in your income tax returns (IRC) and your statements of assets and liabilities (SALN) at the time you assumed office as OIC of Makati?
Fifth, how much was your salary as mayor of Makati and the total amount of your salary from the time that you were OIC until the time you quit as mayor?
Sixth, how much were the earnings of your wife as doctor from the time you became OIC until now?
Seventh, how much were your net income and that of your wife from the time that you were OIC until you quit as mayor on a year to year basis?
Eighth, what is your answer to each and every document that Vice-Mayor Mercado and Atty. Bondal bared during the Senate hearings that overwhelmingly stunk of graft and corruption, not to speak of plunder?
Ninth, is it true that initially you asked for units for free in every building constructed in Makati and later one floor of every building constructed in Makati during your time as mayor?
Tenth, is it true that you promised to bring the crowds to the Peninsula Hotel to give support to Trillanes and Danny Lim when they pulled the coup against the GMA government in 2007 and you did not honor that promise?
Eleventh, why did Limlingan and your other confederates refuse to testify in the Senate hearings when they were implicated by Vice-Mayor Mercado and Atty. Bondal in your alleged crimes? Why are they hiding or unavailable up to this day?
Twelfth, is it true that the value of the cake that you keep on giving to Senior citizens of Makati during each of their birthday is only a little above P300 but your government billed each cake at P1,000 each?
Thirteenth, is the rumor true that you bought the 2010 Vice-Presidential elections from some Comelec operators for P1.5 billion?
Fourteenth, why do you insist on the legitimacy of dynasties when the same is condemned by our existing Constitution?
These are the initial questions you have to answer if you want the voters of this country to elect you president.
The UNA spokesman complains that I do not discuss the achievements of Binay. Here is the letter in full, without any editing:
The UNA letter
“February 20, 2016
ATTY. HOMOBONO A. ADAZA
The Manila Times
2/F Sitio Grande Building
409 A. Soriano Avenue
Intramuros Manila 1020
Dear Atty. Adaza:
I have read your most recent column, “VP Jojo Binay: Can he ever be president?” and I was left dumbfounded.
For someone who has proclaimed that he does not believe in the power of the vote, your analysis on the chances and means by which Vice President Jejomar Binay can win the presidency is extremely myopic.
You detailed and went through his career without acknowledging his experience and accomplishments as a former human rights lawyer, a local government executive, and as the vice president of our country.
You described VP Binay as “a pauper becoming a prince” but for the people of Makati, he is a real working Cinderella man. To them, he was a local executive who came from rags, persevered, and was able to uplift the quality of their lives.
Let me further enlighten you. When he was appointed Makati OIC by President Corazon C. Aquino in 1986, Makati’s annual income was P208 million. With an expenditure budget of P269 million, the city had a 25 percent deficit despite being a primary business hub of the country. Makati, then, had public services that were comparable to those of fourth class municipalities.
He turned the situation around. He improved the city’s revenue generation by rationalizing and expanding the city’s tax base. Better revenues translated into enhancing the LGU’s capacity to serve the people. By the time he left the mayor’s office in 2010, the city government was generating P11 billion in revenues. The city has been providing public and social services unlike any other in local government in the country. In fact, Makati became the standard for progressive and enlightened governance.
Under VP Binay’s leadership as housing czar, the key shelter agencies (KSAs) were able to provide homes to 792,014 families, with a valuation worth P268.826 billion, from July 2010 to May 2015. Compared to previous KSAs’ performance, the numbers already speak for themselves.
You said that the ball is in our court and we no longer need to do your recommendations of rigging the elections. For us at UNA, we believe that Vice President Jejomar Binay can and will claim the presidency because of his Karanasan, Kakayahan, and Malasakit. Among his adversaries in the presidential race, he is the only one who can replicate the successes in Makati and apply these at the national level. He has the executive leadership and the political will to back up his words. He came from poverty and understands the suffering of the poor. No need for insinuations and generalized conclusions. For these reasons alone, we believe VP Binay can claim the presidency.
JOSELITO SJ SALGADO (sgd)”
There it is – in full and unedited. You be the judge.