How would Jojo Binay handle the hostage crisis?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-09-09
Those who had experienced the exciting periods of the Cory Aquino administration could not help but compare the actuations of DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) Secretary Jesse Robredo with that of Vice President Jojo Binay had the Vice President gotten his wish to be Local Government Secretary.

We who had served in the Cory Aquino administration – in the case of your Chair Wrecker, as Assistant Local Government Secretary from January to September 1987 and Philippine Information Agency Director General from November 1987 to October 1988 – could not help but ask how Jojo Binay would have handled the Luneta Hostage Crisis because of the way Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo behaved during the Luneta Hostage Crisis, its aftermath and political fallout.

To be Local Government Secretary was Jojo Binay’s preferred post and many had endorsed him because as Makati City Mayor he had a remarkable track record. He gave Makati the finest education and health care that a local government unit could extend in this country. That track record of Binay caught the nation’s imagination and won him the Vice Presidency.

However, Binay’s defeated rival, Mar Roxas, and his minions in the Liberal Party moved heaven and earth to prevent Binay from being appointed as Local Government Secretary. They applied all conceivable pressure on President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) from giving the post to the Vice President, including emotional blackmail.

Robredo was not visible at all during the Luneta Hostage drama and was perceived as passing the blame for his lack of visibility and take charge presence to his Undersecretary Rico E. Puno. In contrast, Jojo Binay was the eager beaver during the Cory Aquino administration who was among the very first to be on the crisis scene whether it was a coup attempt or the tracking of the assassins of the late Local Government Secretary Jaime N. Ferrer, under whom your Chair Wrecker had served. So aggressive was Jojo Binay in rushing to the scene of a crisis that he even dressed as a combatant and not as an extension of the Executive Branch of government. That earned Jojo Binay the tag of Rambotito — the wee Rambo.

In the wake of the buck passing that followed the hostage rescue disaster, P-Noy could have really used a Jojo Binay at the DILG. Binay was willing to take the bullet for Cory. Among us who know Jojo Binay well, we do not doubt his sincerity when he said to P-Noy in Filipino: “Noy, with me as your Vice President, you can sleep soundly.”

What debunks Robredo’s claim that he was “out of the loop” insofar as the PNP (Philippine National Police) is a memorandum that he had reportedly issued. In a reported August 9, 2010 memorandum Robredo signed and issued to DILG undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau and service directors, he asserted that he was “the sole approving authority of department orders on the detail or extension of detail of police personnel to offices within or outside the department.”

In an August 17, 2010 memorandum to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Director Rosendo M. Dial and Bureau of Fire Protection Chief Rolando M. Bandilla Jr. – Robredo reminded them of his direct supervision over their agencies.
That is clear documented proof that Robredo cannot do a Pontius Pilate and wash his hands on the mishandling of the Luneta hostage crisis. Manila Mayor Fred Lim, a local government executive as well as the Crisis Committee Head, and Undersecretary for Public Safety and Order, Rico E. Puno are both under the supervision of Robredo.

If somebody from the national level is to be held accountable for the hostage crisis mess – it all points to Jesse Robredo. P-Noy’s acceptance of responsibility for the entire mess only adds shame to Robredo’s profession of not having done anything wrong. There is good reason for some legislators to have asked that Robredo be sacked.

Another good question to ask is this – where were Mar Roxas and his minions, the very sponsors of Jesse Robredo’s appointment – during the fallout of the hostage crisis? How come they did not come to the support of P-Noy, the man who brought them to the corridors of power? How come Mar Roxas and his minions did not challenge those who sought to make P-Noy accountable for the bungling of the hostage rescue?

This was P-Noy’s first big crisis and neither sight nor sound emanated from Mar Roxas and his minions. When Opposition Representative Edcel Lagman attacked P-Noy over the hostage crisis, it was a non-Liberal who made an effective counter — Representative Rufus Rodriguez.

Mar Roxas was never wanting in diligence when it comes to pressing P-Noy to appoint his people. Well, this hostage crisis did prove that many of these appointees are really the people of Mar Roxas and not exactly those of P-Noy.

History teaches us that threats from within a government can be more lethal than external threats. The biggest national security threat to the P-Noy government may not be the Muslim and Communist rebellions or the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led and funded Opposition. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, it could be emanating from that place they call Balay.

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