Last Monday’s one-on-one on ANC between Che Che Lazaro and now Vice President (VP) Jojo C. Binay showed that Binay did not only outvote Liberal Party (LP) VP candidate Mar Roxas in the May 10 elections but outflanked him as well in the new scheme of things.
Ever since Binay candidly admitted to media that he would feel most comfortable in the Local Government Department (As Mayor of Makati City, Binay captured the nation’s imagination) if offered a cabinet post by President Noynoy Aquino in his administration, the Mar Roxas camp has been undertaking a relentless campaign against the VP and a clear demolition job it is.
Known Roxas allies, including those in media, wasted no time in making it appear:
1. That Mar may have been cheated in the last elections. This is, of course, pure garbage. Even Teddyboy Locsin, former House Suffrage Committee Chairman and a Roxas TV ad endorser during the campaign, reported that the national elections were clean.
2. That Binay was being offensive and pushy in seeking the Local Government post. Binay simply stated his preferred post based on his expertise but the media spin of the Roxas camp made it appear that he was “demanding” the appointment from Aquino.
3. That Binay is saddled by a “corrupt” tag which will hobble Aquino’s “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap (Where there is no corruption, there is no poverty)” campaign theme.
Self righteousness is one glaring characteristic of the Mar Roxas attack dogs. One of them - this one is morally convinced that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) won in 2004, that the Arroyo courts, not People Power, should deal with the 2004 Garci election cheating and that GMA was only guilty in 2004 of indiscretion, not cheating - is so self righteous that Saint Mary Magdalene should be grateful that this person was not around when Jesus Christ asked the one without sin to cast the first stone.
They could easily condemn Binay as corrupt when in truth GMA has been unable for the last 9 years to prosecute Binay on a corruption case despite the then GMA clout in practically all levels of the Judiciary. Binay did not have a Merceditas Gutierrez to protect him from these charges. It is a fact, as Binay stated in his ANC interview with Che Che Lazaro, that he was never suspended, even for just one day, for any of these corruption charges.
Binay’s PDP-Laban party mate, former Senator Nene Pimentel, had accused Mar Roxas of preventing VP Binay’s appointment in the Aquino cabinet. Of course, hardly anyone in the know disputes that Nene Pimentel assertion. No less than LP stalwart Frank Drilon admitted on the Anthony Taberna Umagang Kay Ganda (A Beautiful Morning) segment, Punto por Punto (Point by Point), that a Binay cabinet appointment must consider the feelings of Mar Roxas.
Drilon may not have realized the implications of his statement but what he had said made Aquino look like a wimp for letting personal sentiments get in the way of statecraft. The major political consideration should have been to get the cooperation of the VP instead of alienating him and pushing him to become the rallying point of the new political opposition.
It was on the ANC Monday interview with Che Che Lazaro where Binay verbalized his position with regards this unrelenting assault coming from the Roxas camp. To many folks, the Roxas camp appears to be succeeding in influencing and directing the decisions of Aquino - something Aquino should be concerned about as doubts about being his own man had been a campaign issue against him.
In essence, Binay stated on ANC that:
1. He had opted not to accept a cabinet post in the Aquino administration and will instead focus on his job as Vice President. This is where Binay outflanked Roxas. As a member of the Aquino cabinet, Binay would be forced to play ball in a team where Mar Roxas allies are all over the place. As VP, he simply acts on the people’s mandate.
2. Contrary to popular perception, the VP is not just an idle spare tire. The VP is the second highest executive in the land. The VP can make himself a bridge to the people (pregnant with political implications) as well as request to be briefed on what are happening in the various departments.
The VP, per Binay, may not impose what to do to the department and agency heads but they certainly owe the VP the info on their operations. This will enable the VP to take over smoothly, if and when constitutionally required.
Ever an astute interviewer, Che Che Lazaro commented that part of the vision of Binay for the job of VP (as a conduit for local government executives) is tantamount to being a Local Government Secretary sans a portfolio. Actually, following Binay’s trend of thought, it is more of being an active shadow president.
Aquino should appreciate Binay’s posture which is to harp on the long and deep family relationships they share, dating back to the administration of the president’s late mother, Cory C. Aquino. Binay still asserts that he is a friend and is committed to support the President’s endeavors despite Aquino’s “Mar is my alter ego” pronouncement.
In this regard, Binay is proving to be the true friend where Mar Roxas is now beginning to be perceived as some sort of a Palace Rasputin and a spoiled brat at that who could not accept defeat and must have his way. Rasputin was the fornicating monk who wielded an enormous influence on the family of the last Russian Romanov Tsar – Nicholas II - despite the fact that Rasputin did not possess an official state function or title. History notes that Rasputin was a major contributing factor to the destruction of the Romanov dynasty.
The Aquino administration could end up the biggest loser - very much like a casualty in the middle of a vicious crossfire - owing to failure to control this Roxas camp demolition job against VP Binay. This demolition job hardly hurts VP Binay as most folks dismiss it as an act of Roxas camp vindictiveness but it certainly undermines President Aquino.