Corrupt vs. Corrupt

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!




8 Responses. Have your say.

  1. pat Talens says:

    Hoooo HOHOHO, HAHAHAHAHAHAH! VERY WELL STATED, Perry, A crook vs a crook equals a sure crook president. A sure way to make the “bosses” into the “bosabos” of the land. It won’t surprise me when Gloria soon file her papers to run again against these guys. Matirang matibay na corrupt, hehehe.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Well Pat, do you still think that our beloved Pilipinas still has a chance to join the rest of the civilized world? Why can’t these criminals just go away and let some new gladiators in the arena, hopefully some new ones with a much clearer conscience. It’s all wishful thinking on my part but what the heck.

  2. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    In Russia, Putin and Medvedev changed political positions after their term of office.

    Once, Putin was the President (Head of State) as # 1 while Medvedev took # 2 as Prime Minister (Head of Government).

    Now, Medvedev takes # 1 and Putin takes #2. But I think Putin although # 2 he wields more power than Medvedev because I think Putin is the leader of their political party and unofficially recognized by community of nations as Russia’s real boss.

    Here goes the “what if” in PHL political scenario and I don’t think there will be a NOGNOY in any scenario.

    PNoy runs as Vice President of say, Miriam for President. Assuming this team wins, Miriam will retire/resign soon…say for health reasons.

    Guess who will be the next President in this particular scenario.

  3. philip says:

    Slogan mo PeNoy. “Kung walamg corrupt walng mahirap”. Eh, parami ng parami ang mahirap, kasi dumarami rin ang mga corrupt! Walang pag-asa na magbago kung hindi malipol muna ang lahat ng Filipino, pati ako!

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Siguro kailangan ng palitan and palayaw ni PNoy, gawin na lang Abnoy, parang bulok na itlog naman ang pag-iisip niya hindi ba?

      • philip says:

        Kata nga PeNoy ang tawag ko sa kaniya, balut na nabugok, kulang ang pagkabuo. Tingin nyo, hindi ba siya baklang mongoloid? Malayo siya sa kisig at utak ng tatay niya. Hindi nga siya kurap pero kulang-kulang yata.

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          I think he was a borderline “down syndrome” baby when he was born, but we should not hold that against him, it wasn’t his fault. Anyway, as a person I’m sure he’s got a heart of gold, but as a chief executive of a screwed up country he really sucks. He can still redeem himself if he follows through on his mantra of “kung walang kurap, walang maghihirap and his “tuwid na daan” philosophy, all he has to do is get rid of all those deadbeats and corrupt members of his cabinets and just stick to being a straight forward president. If he can do that his presidency will not be a loss cause, we’ll see.

  4. Bobby Bagos says:

    Is it really that bad that our country have to rely on these same f**king morons to run our country? These worthless individuals are on top of the news everyday and they are being accused of committing serious crimes against the people of our country, and yet they are still being hailed as God’s only gift for our country’s salvation. Our country is at the bottom of every poso negro and it will stay there unless our kababayans give up this insane practices of voting for the same worthless individuals election after election. These corrupt politicians are not really the problem, after all our kababayans are the ones that gave them the permission to put their you know what up their yingyangs.

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