October 2014

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

P-Noy and Jojo

P-Noy and Jojo

Whatever Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s expectations were, his meeting with President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III didn’t seem to have satisfied them. According to a news report, Binay waited for two and half hours for P-Noy to see him and the meeting lasted only 30 minutes. In essence, Binay was shown the door.

Although Malacañang was quiet about what transpired at the meeting, the media was rife with speculation. But Inquirer reporter Ramon Tulfo’s claim that a “little birdie” told him details of the meeting indicates that things weren’t going well between P-Noy and Binay.

Makati City Parking Building 2

Makati City Parking Building 2

Supposedly, Binay made two requests. He asked P-Noy to stop the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee from investigating the overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2. P-Noy’s response was blunt: “Jojo, I cannot stop the investigation because the Senate is independent. Besides, I have so many problems — the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus brought by returning overseas workers, the Subic murder case, the evacuation of residents near the Mayon Volcano. Pati ba naman ’yan, poproblemahin ko pa (Do I have to solve your problem)?” Binay should have stopped right there and left.

But Binay pressed on. He then asked P-Noy to go easy on GMA (former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo). P-Noy wasn’t pleased with Binay taking up the cudgels for GMA. If Binay’s meeting with P-Noy was intended to appease him, he achieved the opposite. Tulfo’s “little birdie” told him that after Binay left, P-Noy told his staff: “If there are more cases to be filed against GMA, let’s file them.”

Scapegoat

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Binay should have known better that if there were one person that P-Noy would blame for all the bad things happening in his administration, it was Gloria. Gloria is P-Noy’s ultimate scapegoat, so why kill the goat? For as long as P-Noy is in power, Gloria doesn’t have a spit of a chance to be released from detention. And P-Noy would do everything to keep Gloria alive.

Binay should also know that P-Noy doesn’t have power over the Senate, which is fiercely protective of its autonomy from the Executive Branch. If Binay didn’t know that, then he shouldn’t be running for president. Or could it be that his attempt to ask favors from P-Noy was because he could be heading for a political freefall?

Indeed, he has nobody to blame but himself for building a personal financial empire during the two decades that he and members of his family – wife, son, and two daughters – were in power in Makati, arguably the richest city in the country that is home to financial institutions and large corporations. And with all the revenues earned by the city, the mayorship is by all means the best plum job in the country with little or no interference from other political entities including the country’s Executive and Legislative branches of government. And for as along as you keep your nose clean, nobody is going to bother you. But the moment you’re involved in some kind of anomaly or scandal, then everybody would gang up on you. And that’s precisely what happened to Jojo Binay.

Public opinion

Lord-of-Makati.2With all the allegations of corruption against Binay that spans more than a quarter of a century since the time of the late President Cory Aquino who appointed him as the officer-in-charge (OIC) of Makati City, Binay had left no stone unturned in covering his tracks. He allegedly used dummies for the properties he acquired while in office. With no solid evidence of corruption, Binay is presumed innocent by law. But Binay is facing charges of corruption not in a court of law but in the court of public opinion.

SWS-Survey-Binay-Oct-2014When the Senate opened an investigation into the allegations of corruption against Binay and his family, he refused to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee, saying that it was a “kangaroo court.” He said that he’d rather go directly to the people to explain his side. But the latest survey of Social Weather Station (SWS) shows that 79% of the respondents want him to face the Senate and address the allegations, which begs the question: Why is Binay scared of appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee?

Binay's popularity dips

Binay’s popularity dips

While there may be several reasons why Binay is not appearing before the Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing, one reason might be that by not appearing before the panel he is not going to say something that would haunt him in the 2016 presidential campaign. By not saying anything now, he could tell the people then that he’s a victim of political persecution. He’d just have to keep repeating his innocence. And since he didn’t appear before a Senate hearing, his opponents wouldn’t have any ammunition to disprove his arguments. As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Yes, if Binay keeps on denying the corruption charges, the people will eventually believe him… and vote for him. But that’s based on the supposition that his opponents don’t have anything to tie him to corruption. And what if they have an “April surprise” that would rattle skeletons in the closet two weeks before the May 9, 2016 election?

If Binay indeed has secrets about allegations of “unexplained wealth,” then he knows that the probability of his rivals knowing about them is pretty high. He ought to know that in politics, secrets are revealed at a time when it will hurt the most, which makes one wonder: Has Binay gone desperado?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Subic Bay

Subic Bay

The recent brouhaha over the killing of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, a Filipino transgender, allegedly by an American marine in a motel in Olangapo has once again brought to the fore the issue of “sovereignty.” Indeed, it’s so convenient to use “sovereignty” for whatever nebulous issues people are complaining about.

It did not then come as a surprise that when the news hit the fan, Filipinos on the left of the political spectrum took to the streets in protest of America’s violation of the Philippines’ sovereignty. But what had one U.S. marine private done to violate the Philippines’ sovereignty?

While it is sad and reprehensible that an American military serviceman has taken the life of a Filipino on Philippine soil, there is an incomprehensible presumption that such incidents are an affront to our sovereignty and a violation of our sovereign rights. And this begs the question: When is sovereignty sovereign?

According to Oxford Dictionary, “sovereignty” is: (1) supreme power or authority; (2) the authority of a state to govern itself or another state; and (3) a self-governing state. It defines “sovereign” (adjective) as possessing supreme or ultimate power. In simplistic terms, the Philippines is a sovereign republic capable of self-government and possesses supreme authority to govern itself.

But more often than not, “sovereignty” has become a catch-all for everything – or anything – that involves U.S. military personnel in situations that are perceived as violative of our sovereignty. All too often, it involved American servicemen who ran into trouble in a sleazy bar on the outskirts of an American base.

“A date gone wrong”

Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton

Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton

And that’s what happened on the night of October 11, 2014. U.S. marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was with other servicemen on furlough from ship duty, met Laude at the Ambyanz, a disco bar in Olongapo City.

Before long, Pemberton and Laude left the bar and checked in at a nearby motel. Thirty minutes later, Pemberton left the room and never returned. Later, a housekeeper found Laude’s dead body in the bathroom wrapped in a bed sheet.

CCTV footage of Pemberton and Laude at the Celzon Lodge.

CCTV footage of Pemberton and Laude at the Celzon Lodge.

A police report indicated that Laude apparently drowned in the toilet. Two condoms were recovered from the bathroom and DNA tests are now being done.

But what happened next was what caused the leftwing to go berserk: the U.S. took custody of Pemberton. The leftists demanded the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). They claimed that VFA was lopsided in favor of the Americans.

Signed in 1999 by both countries, VFA says that the Philippines can prosecute American servicemen in a Philippine court of law, but the U.S. has custody over them “from commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.” But once a verdict of “guilty” is meted out, a convicted serviceman must serve the sentence in a Philippine prison. Fair enough?

A question of custody

Jeffrey-Laude-anti-US-rallyThe leftwing said that the “custody” provision of VFA violates the sovereignty of the Philippines. But didn’t the Philippine treaty negotiators agree to the “custody” provision, though? They knew that it was a sensitive political issue that could ignite emotional outburst from the Left, yet the negotiators agreed to that provision.

Thus, the “custody” issue became a cause célèbre for nationalists, leftwing activists, communists, political opportunists, and anybody in between who harbors a grudge against Americans. And like mushrooms, anti-American rallies sprouted overnight demanding justice for Laude and the termination of VFA and EDCA.

It’s interesting to note that just a year after the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to Leyte to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, all the good deeds that America did to help thousands of typhoon survivors were rendered meaningless. And all that matters now is the “illegal” custody of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is detained in the USS Peleliu, which is moored at the Subic Bay Freeport while the case is pending before a Philippine court.

Chinese imperialism

Chinese fortifications on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef.

Chinese fortifications on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef.

Now that the leftwing coalition has once again showed its true political color at the slightest tremor in U.S.-Philippine relations, they have turned a blind eye to what is happening to the Philippines’ offshore territories of Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the Spratly Archipelago.

When China grabbed Panganiban Reef in 1994 — two years after the Philippine Senate unceremoniously evicted the U.S. bases – nobody lifted a finger to stop the Chinese incursion into Philippine territory. In 2012, China took possession of Panatag Shoal and nobody did anything to stop it. Interestingly, just two weeks before the Chinese land grab, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III vowed to protect Panatag at all cost during his State of the Nation Address (SONA). Well, China called his bluff and he didn’t do anything.

Artificial island under construction by China on Mabini (Johnson South) Reef in the Kalayaan islands.

Artificial island under construction by China on Mabini (Johnson South) Reef in the Kalayaan islands.

Recently, China started building artificial islands in the Spratlys including the Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, which is less than 100 miles from Palawan. China is building at least five artificial islands that it will use as unsinkable “aircraft carriers” to project Chinese power all the way to the Second Island Chain from Japan to Guam to Papua New Guinea and Australia. With five artificial islands with airstrips capable of accommodating bombers and fighter jets, the Philippines would be helplessly indefensible from Chinese invasion. The only deterrence the Philippines has against foreign invasion is American military presence on Philippine soil. But that is iffy right now.

In my article, “What price sovereignty?” (January 20, 2014), I wrote: “Would the Philippines disallow American military presence needed to protect the sovereignty that we hold so dearly? But without U.S. presence, our sovereignty would be exposed to Chinese imperialistic advances. It’s a dilemma that the Philippines has to grapple with. Simply put, the Philippines cannot have it both ways. Sometimes you got to give a little to gain strategic advantage. That’s geopolitics.”

So, when then is sovereignty sovereign? Sovereignty is sovereign when a state has the capability to protect and defend its independence and territorial integrity by whatever means.

PerryDiaz@gmail.com

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Alan Purisima and P-Noy

Alan Purisima and P-Noy

When President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino forced then-Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome into retirement prior to the 2013 mid-term elections, little did he know that Bartolome’s replacement would also be pressured to retire early in 2014. Yes, the current PNP Chief Alan Purisima is being eased out to make way for his would-be successor to take over in time for the 2016 presidential elections. That was the same reason why Bartolome was pushed out the door; that is, to make way for Deputy Director General Purisima to take over police matters at the soonest to prepare for the May 2013 elections, which makes one wonder: Why was it necessary to elevate Purisima to the top job when P-Noy could have allowed Bartolome to stay on the job until the ban on appointments during the election season had passed, which was just a few weeks after Election Day. Why the rush? Could it be because of Purisima’s close personal relationship with P-Noy while Bartolome’s relationship with P-Noy was purely professional?

It is interesting to note that Purisima’s ties with the Aquinos go back to the time of P-Noy’s late mother and then-President Cory Aquino, whom Purisima served as a member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Friend and protector

P-Noy shows bullet wound.

P-Noy shows bullet wound.

But what sealed the strong bond between P-Noy and Purisima was when P-Noy’s vehicle was ambushed near Malacañang on August 28, 1987. It was said that Purisima was part of P-Noy’s security convoy when it was ambushed by rightwing rebels led by then-Colonel (and now-Senator) Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. Five bullets hit and wounded P-Noy, but three of his bodyguards were killed. And who would have been the “best” replacement for Bartolome but someone whose ties to him were as tight as the Gordian knot? But “best” didn’t necessarily mean possessing unmatched qualifications and unquestioned integrity.

Purisima's "vacation house" in San Leandro, Nueva Ecija

Purisima’s “vacation house” in San Leandro, Nueva Ecija

When Purisima started his stint as PNP Chief, he seemed to be doing just fine and staying out of trouble. But barely a year on the job, allegations of irregularities and corruption surfaced. And when pictures of his “vacation house” in Nueva Ecija made it to the front page of major newspapers, all hell broke loose!

Immediately, Purisima’s friend and protector — P-Noy — came to his rescue and vouched for his character, saying that Purisima is “not capricious” despite the so-called “White House” inside the PNP compound where he resides and the pompous “vacation house” in San Leandro, Nueva Ecija and his fleet of expensive cars that he purportedly purchased at a discount. Built on a 4.7-hectare estate, Purisima’s “vacation house” includes a separate pavilion, separate four-car garage with quarters, a huge swimming pool, and luxurious features and amenities. Purisima claimed that his property was valued at P3.7 million as declared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN); however, his complainants say that the property’s actual price could be more than P50 million. The question is: How did Purisima amass such wealth when his salary was only P107,000 a month?

In spite of P-Noy’s defense of Purisima, some powerful people want his head chopped. And these are people who belong to P-Noy’s Liberal Party (LP). They want him to retire early to accommodate another member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981 to which Purisima belongs, which begs the question: Why do they want to get rid of Purisima one and a half years before the 2016 elections? Could it be that his incompetence and expensive lifestyle might hurt the LP during the campaign that they want him out of the limelight?

Scandals galore

"Hulidap" cops arrested.

“Hulidap” cops arrested.

One of the scandals that is eroding the people’s confidence in the PNP is the widespread “hulidap” cases where an increasing number of police officers are involved in kidnapping for ransom activities. Purisima is perceived to be too lax in stopping these criminal activities in the police force.

Masonic Grand Master Alan Purisima (wearinig Masonic hat) receives gavel of authority.

Masonic Grand Master Alan Purisima (wearinig Masonic hat) receives gavel of authority.

Another scandal was the controversial renovation of the “White House,” which is Purisima’s residence inside Camp Crame. What is being questioned was the source of the P25 million Purisima used to upgrade the White House. He claimed that three donors contributed “building materials” while some sources said that Purisima’s fellow Masons donated the money.

Happier days: Erap and Chavit

Happier days: Erap and Chavit

But what is not being discussed today is: Who are the government officials – from the President down to the Barangay captains — who are receiving jueteng payolas? One President who had received jueteng payola was former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada who was exposed by his former “bagman,” ex-governor Chavit Singson.

In the early days of P-Noy’s presidency, allegations of jueteng payolas were made against then-Deputy Secretary of Interior and Local Government Rico Puno. The payolas were supposedly for P-Noy; however, Malacañang denied the allegations and that was the end of the controversy. But one thing that happened in P-Noy’s administration was that jueteng thrived. And according to many anti-jueteng activists, the PNP can stop jueteng in a day! But the order must come from the PNP Chief.

Happier days: Bartolome and  Purisima.

Happier days: Bartolome and Purisima.

While previous PNP chiefs were involved in scandals and controversies over the years, the degree to which they’re linked to criminal activities varies. But in the case of Purisima, in the short time that he’s been PNP Chief, he had waded into the murky waters of corruption. As of today, he’s facing three plunder and graft charges over his luxurious “vacation house” in Nueva Ecija, the questionable renovation of the controversial “White House” inside Camp Crame, and a scandalous deal with a courier service. However, like his predecessors, Purisima would most likely beat the charges against him, which begs the question: How do corrupt PNP officers pay for their betrayal of the public’s trust? As someone once said, “Nothing escapes the Law of Karma. You get from the world what you give to the world.” And thus far, Purisima has gotten a lot from the world but has yet to give back. That’s bad karma.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

By Carl Delfeld  
Wealth Daily

Pax-Americana“Are you an idiot?”

This was just one of the politer emails I received after publishing an article predicting that the U.S. dollar would remain the world’s key currency for a long time.

Many others contend that before long, the Chinese currency will eclipse the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Nonetheless, I noticed that governments continue to park their precious cash in the greenback — now trading at a three-year high. For example, the UK and France increased U.S. Treasury holdings in recent months.

And the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, a measure of the currency against 10 major peers, jumped 6.7% in the quarter for its biggest advance in six years.

Why are U.S. Treasury bonds more attractive than gold, the Swiss franc, or the Chinese yuan despite all of America’s budget and debt challenges?

It’s certainly not income, as five-year Treasury bond yields are at 1.69%.

A Global Power

My view is that America’s strengths greatly outweigh its weaknesses, but it appears I have more confidence in America’s future than most.

A recent poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs indicated that 55% of those polled believe the U.S. will be equaled or surpassed as a global power over the next 50 years.

A group of Chinese polled believes China will catch up to America in terms of global influence within 10 years.

And don’t think I ignore the tremendous challenges America faces. More than half of my most recent book, Red, White & Bold: The New American, outlines these significant speed bumps and how to turn things around.

But when a country decides which currency to use to safeguard its billions, it is looking beyond the headline news of GDP growth, budget deficits, or the latest job report.

It is looking at a bigger and deeper picture to find institutions that promote stability, openness, flexibility, mobility, and transparency.

10 Benchmarks

Here are the 10 benchmarks I have come up with to measure America’s relative strengths compared to other countries such as China:

*  Protects citizen’s political, religious, and economic freedoms
*  Provides educational opportunities for all
*  Ensures a strong defense and conducts a foreign policy based on the broad national interest
*  Nurtures a culture of risk-taking and second chances while accepting inequality of results
*  Protects an independent judicial system and enforces the law in a fair, transparent, and consistent manner
*  Prizes a tradition of service and philanthropy
*  Conserves and uses natural resources wisely
*  Demonstrates fiscal discipline and puts in place a low, fair, and simple tax system
*  Maintains a quality health care system open to all

In my view, China, as a semi-market, state capitalist country, would rank rather poorly on many of these benchmarks. We take for granted what is sorely missing in much of the world: due process, property rights, a free press, and especially the transparent and smooth transfer of political power.

Of course, America could use improvement across the board — its glaring weakness is fiscal discipline and tax complexity, and it needs to move aggressively on both of these fronts immediately.

But on balance, America is an open, confident, flexible, and transparent society with the deepest and most sophisticated financial markets in the world.

And despite its faults, the U.S. political system is the most transparent and stable in the world and preferable to multi-party parliamentary systems such as in India, where a small Communist party coalition member can stall market reforms.

Then there is the demographic angle.

The U.S., in large part due to immigration, is still growing, while most of Europe, Japan, and especially Russia are rapidly shrinking. While most of Asia has a relatively youthful population, China is an exception, which will put tremendous strain on its budget.

But don’t just take my word for it. Singapore’s $100 billion sovereign wealth fund has one-third of its assets invested in America, and then-CEO and now-President of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam stated in a Wall Street Journal interview:

(Americans)… don’t see the potential in their own economy, which is one of the most innovative, open economies in the world. Foreigners seem more optimistic.

America sure looks like a winner to me.

Until next time,

Carl Delfeld for Wealth Daily

P.S. Join Wealth Daily and a star-studded cast of financial experts at The World MoneyShow Toronto this October 16-18! Get the latest stock picks, current market outlooks, most successful investing and trading strategies, and more when you attend the Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Corruption-who-caresWith one year and a half left to the 2016 presidential elections, it’s interesting to note how Filipinos rate – as reflected in a recent Pulse Asia survey – the presidential wannabes.  And as in past surveys, corruption doesn’t seem to be a factor on how the people viewed the so-called “presidentiables.”  Not anymore.

With the pork barrel scandals still brimming hot today, corruption would inevitably be the number one issue in the 2016 elections.   And Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay should know it; his ratings dropped amid allegation of corruption against him and his family.

Until recently, Binay was deemed “unbeatable.”  Since 2010 when he was elected Vice President, his ratings were consistently in the “very good” range, which was better than President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s ratings, which straddle between “good” and “very good.”  The two even managed to avoid any direct complicity to the pork barrel scams perpetrated by some lawmakers.  Well, that was a few months ago.  Lady Luck seems to have abandoned P-Noy and Jojo because their ratings are plummeting… fast!

A few weeks ago, P-Noy tested the people’s – he calls them his “bosses” – reaction to the idea of running for a second term.   It was a strange proposition since the Constitution prohibits the President from seeking re-election.   Needless to say, if he were to pursue that route, he should have the Congress amend the Constitution to allow him to run for a second term.   It was a calculated move because he assumed that his allies in Congress would support a charter change.  After all, many of them were recipients of huge amounts of pork barrel.

But the people’s aversion to tinkering with the Constitution stopped him cold.  A poll conducted by Pulse Asia from Sept. 8 to 15, asked: “If the Constitution will be amended and the president would be allowed to run again, are you in favor or not in favor of President Aquino running again for the presidency?”  The survey showed that 62% of the respondents were not in favor while 38% were in favor.   While P-Noy’s notion of seeking a second term is now on ice, there’s no telling what he would do next.

Lord of Makati

Lord-of-Makati.2Binay is a different cookie.  His ascendancy to the vice presidency from mayor of Makati City was quite a feat by any standard.   Many attributed this to his personal and family relationship with P-Noy.  In the last few weeks of the 2010 presidential election, the Aquino-Binay or “Noy-Bi” campaign came out in the open.   The question is: Was the Noy-Bi campaign a subterfuge from the get-go, which supplanted the Aquino-Roxas or “Noy-Mar” campaign?  If so, then it can be surmised that P-Noy – or those who ran his campaign – had played Roxas for a patsy.

As the front-runner in the presidential derby and without running against an incumbent president, Binay could claim incumbency; thus, position himself as the candidate to beat in 2016.  Not too fast, Jojo!

Former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

Former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

In my article, “Quo vadis, Jojo?” (September 22, 2014), I wrote: “But finally the truth is catching up to Binay.  Recently, former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, saying that Binay got 13% in kickbacks from all city projects.  He said that he acted as Binay’s ‘bagman’ and personally delivered money to Binay’s house in duffel bags containing anywhere from P1.5 million to P10 million.

“While all these alleged shenanigans were being exposed, Binay, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 23 others were charged with plunder in relation to the alleged overpricing in the construction of an 11-story parking building that Makati City allegedly built for a whopping P1.56 billion!   The complaint claimed that in 2007 then-Mayor Jojo Binay had “proposed and approved” a city ordinance for the construction of the parking building with an initial budget of P400 million; thus, making it ‘the most expensive parking building in the country, if not the entire world.’ ”

Achilles’ heel

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in a public meeting.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in a public meeting.

The same Pulse Asia survey also revealed Binay’s Achilles’ heel.  Suddenly his invincibility in the polls was shattered.  While he is still the front-runner, his ratings went down to 31% from 41% three months ago.  A drop of 10% within a three-month period, while not catastrophic, is calamitous to say the least.  That augurs bad days ahead for Binay.

In the case of Roxas, the same survey showed that his numbers almost doubled from 7% to 13%.  While it is still far below Binay, if the “demolition job” against Binay continues and he fails to explain his wealth – which had tremendously increased since 2010 when he assumed the vice presidency – then he’ll be heading for defeat in 2016.

Deep pockets

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and Sen. Grace Poe

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and Sen. Grace Poe

And this brings to the fore the question: Who is the presidential candidate – with deep pockets – who can defeat Binay?  The same survey showed the following with double-digit numbers: Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (11%), Grace Poe (10%), and Erap Estrada (10%).  But with the ratings changing erratically, the issue of corruption could play a strong hand against candidates who are corrupt or perceived to be corrupt.   And this is where Roxas, reputed “Mr. Clean,” could defeat Binay, which makes one wonder: Does Roxas have the courage to face Binay who defeated him four years ago?   As of today, Roxas hasn’t changed his decision not to run for president in 2016.  But who knows?  He might catch fire later!

Erap-mugshotIf there is no credible candidate who can defeat Binay, Erap might enter the race as a “dark horse” candidate.   He is rumored to be angry with Binay for reneging on his promise to pick his son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, to be his running mate.  But Jinggoy is in detention on plunder charges on the pork barrel scam!

If Erap enters the race, it will be a contest between him, who had been convicted of plunder, and Binay who is accused of plunder.  It certainly would be an interesting election, if not disconcerting, which can be billed as “Corrupt vs. Corrupt” or, as we call it in street parlance, “Moro-moro.”  

That’s Filipino politics for you.  Hay naku!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)