Are the new allies of VP Binay assets or liabilities?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-04-10

“Politics is addition,” is often heard when politicians try to justify the recruitment of controversial new allies. Politicians would mouth that as if it’s Gospel truth, but it’s not. The truth is the questionable people associated with a political candidate could become the voters’ reason for rejecting the candidate. People think that crooked politicians would tend to flock together.

Vice President Jojo Binay is a close friend of mine. Many of his political opponents say a lot of negative things about him but none of these were ever proved in court. Undeniable is the heart of VP Jojo for the least of our brethren, as evidenced by the many benefits that poor Makati residents were given by him during several terms as their mayor. Based on present conditions, VP Jojo is the man to beat in the 2016 presidential election.

However, it’s with a fair amount of alarm that your Chair Wrecker received the recent announcement of the new allies of VP Jojo. Are these new allies of VP Jojo really political assets or liabilities? Will gaining these new allies enhance VP Jojo’s presidential bid or will they merely deduct supporters from him?

We refer of course to the enlisting of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) staunch defender Representative Mitos Magsaysay and resigned Senator Migz Zubiri in the newly minted United Nationalist Alliance (UNA means first in Filipino). Already a PDP-Laban stalwart, Sen. Koko Pimentel, had spoken against Zubiri’s inclusion. Zubiri edged Koko Pimentel out from the twelfth and final slot in the 2007 Senate race, in what many believe was the result of massive cheating operations in Maguindanao. 

By getting Mitos Magsaysay, did VP Jojo think about what President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) would feel about UNA? It’s bad enough for VP Jojo that he has the likes of Ernie Maceda with him, not to mention Kit Tatad. It’s no secret that Maceda and Tatad are diligently working against the P-Noy administration. Now, the VP invites one of the most outspoken critics of the P-Noy administration, Mitos Magsaysay, to join UNA. To top it all, VP Jojo was quoted as saying that theirs is not an anti Liberal Party, the president’s party, coalition. Some might see that as adding insult to injury.

VP Jojo cannot allow his focus to be distracted from the reality that his current membership in the P-Noy cabinet is the single biggest boost to his 2016 presidential ambition. Membership in the P-Noy cabinet is what’s allowing VP Jojo the capability to sustain an image of being the most popular public official in the land. Sans his cabinet post, VP Jojo will lose easily 85 percent of the opportunities to reinforce his political stock for the 2016 big fight. Sans his cabinet post, VP Binay could be overtaken by events that will reduce, not boost, his presidential chances.

The worse case scenario for my good friend VP Jojo is to assume the role of the Opposition to the P-Noy administration. That would please GMA and her allies a lot, which is why the GMA camp is vigorously seeking a coalition with the VP’s UNA. Left alone, the current political Opposition is irrelevant, discredited by the transgressions of GMA and unwanted by many Filipinos.

VP Binay must bear in mind that his big political battle is in 2016 and not 2013. His top priority between now and 2016 is to remain a cabinet member of the P-Noy administration and sustain his approval and trust ratings. If 2013 will only lead to a parting of ways between the president and the VP — then VP Jojo should distance himself from the dynamics of the 2013 elections.

Once VP Jojo is perceived by P-Noy as Opposition instead of ally, then he can no longer remain a member of P-Noy’s cabinet. VP Jojo should not provide his opponents in the administration — that group that’s known to operate from the place called Balay — the ammunition to undermine his endeavors. Balay is the home ground of VP Jojo’s 2010 contender, Mar Roxas.

To be perceived as Opposition to the P-Noy administration could hurt VP Binay in two big ways. There is the possibility, with Balay promotion of course, that the Yellow forces will see the VP as an ingrate and a power-driven traditional politician. Filipinos cannot disassociate VP Jojo from our late President Cory Aquino to whom VP Jojo owes his political successes. President Cory drew the ire of many allies and friends when she made Jojo Binay the OIC (Officer in Charge) of Makati in 1986. That OIC appointment was the jumpstart Jojo’s political career needed. 

With the way the P-Noy administration is keeping its DAANG MATUWID(straight path) pledge and with the way our economy is now seen as the most exciting ASEAN economy to be in — per assessments by S & P, HSBC Research, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, The World Bank — P-Noy’s endorsement will be a major factor in the 2016 elections. It doesn’t take too much intelligence to determine how the voters in 2016 will react to one who is positioned as P-Noy’s Opposition.

By being a P-Noy cabinet member, VP Jojo also basks in the president’s achievements. It’s political suicide to oppose P-Noy.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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