Binay rating falls; rivals up

TANAUAN, Batangas – The headline above is courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. With just under 20 months to go before the 2016 presidential elections, our attention is obviously already in it. A lot can happen in 20 months. Mar Roxas was a lock for Vice President in 2012 if surveys conducted as late as 3 weeks before that election were to be believed. Nevertheless, it’s fun and very amusing for our politicians to be taking these so so seriously. It is of course obvious that the corruption charges and the Senate hearings focused on the Binays has definitely taken a hit. Despite their denials, the perception that their family did all that they are being accused of is easy to believe. Any “rags to riches” story particularly when it comes to politicians always comes with the usual understanding that there is corruption involved. We have seen so many of these things happen.

The question that needs to be answered is really simple. How did the Vice President become so rich on a mayor’s salary? This question presupposes several things. One, that the Vice President never really had a thriving (from a commercial perspective) law practice thus his riches could not have come from his practice of law. Two, that the Binays are rich in the first place which per his voluntarily released SALN showing a net worth of over P60 million would make the family a rich one. Three, that Dra. Binay also never really had a thriving (from a commercial perspective) medical practice thus their riches could not have come from her practice of medicine.

The release of his SALN is a step in the right direction but is not enough (for many people anyway). The Vice President’s spokesperson and legal counsel assert that the SALNs prove that the Binays amassed their wealth through legal means. The major source of income for the family, the piggery business in Batangas, could not, alone have provided enough capital for the purchase of other assets much less sustain the entire family’s day to day needs (which we can surmise would be above average). Whatever income the family had, had to provide for the needs not just of the VP and Dra. Binay but also for their children and their families.

The Binay children have never really had careers of their own. Sen. Nancy has a degree in Tourism from UP Diliman and immediately went into the family “business” after graduation as personal assistant of her mother, the then-mayor of Makati. Congresswoman Abby is a lawyer who had a fledgling law career which plateaued at being a partner at a law firm (not a major one) for a period of three months before running for Congress in 2007. Mayor Junjun has had a relative uninterrupted career in politics from the age of 15 initially with the Sangguniang Kabataan.

It is unfortunate and perhaps something that was to be expected, for the Vice President to be undergoing all this. I am sure from a human standpoint, this must hurt.

The next step for the Vice President and his team would really be to take pains to walk people through a definitive explanation of how he amassed his wealth. Of course, they could choose to ignore this but then they would continue to lose the moral high ground. If nothing wrong has been done, the logical truth should easily explain everything.

Becoming President would be the ultimate achievement of Vice President’s long political career. So would it be for every other Filipino who wants to run for that position. I just hope that whoever gets there will not have been so bloodied na wala ng maibibigay pagdating doon.

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