“But the cases involving the Binays are not isolated cases of corruption. In fact, it is an open secret that many of our politicians have used their positions, not to bring wealth to the people in their jurisdiction, but to bring wealth to their bank accounts. They will do everything to keep these corrupt practices from being discovered, and to keep their post, they will pass it on to a family member, as if we were under a monarchy.”
When Norman N. Tubero’s Young Blood article came out last week, I was deeply disturbed at how self-righteous it came off, and how almost defeatist the tone was. While he described quite accurately the situation in our country right now – as I had quoted above – a part of me sees it as a deliberate attempt to miss the point by focusing on a general issue and obscuring Binay’s own.
Indeed, Mr. Tubero echoed the general sentiment of Filipinos. We all know that graft and corruption is rampant in our country. We hear the news, we read the stories. We know our taxes are not going to the right places. We know how terrible political dynasties impact our society. But knowing these should not stop us from being critical of Binay, or singling him out.
Binay, after all, is aiming for the highest position in Philippine public office. And while we’re sure that a number of senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, councilors and even baranggay captains are engaged in corruption, no person is a greater threat to our country’s future in terms of political influence and financial resources then our current Vice President. We’ve seen his political machinery at work when he beat out Mar Roxas for the second-highest position in the land, so it would be absurd to think he is not capable of “taking” the position he covets the most if he so wishes to.
But there are other political dynasties too, right? Why single out Binay? Again, remember that he is running for president. In lieu of this context, consider the fact that one of Binay’s daughters is a senator, the other a congresswoman. The senator is a terribly inexperienced woman who won a seat in the upper house solely through the merits of her family name. Binay’s son, on the other hand, is currently the (suspended) mayor of the Philippines’ richest city, Makati. The congresswoman, Abigail Binay, represents Makati too. Binay’s wife even served as mayor of the country’s financial capital for a time. If this isn’t political manoeuvring aimed at cultivating political clout and accumulating riches to support Binay’s bid to become President, then you must be very naïve.
Of course, we have to stop corruption on all levels. Of course, we have to find a way to give the other politicians what is due to them. But in singling-out Binay, we’re already doing a great work at offense. With elections set next year, we are also given ample room to play good defense. By not voting for Binay (and hoping he indeed loses the Presidency), we send out a message to our public officials. And that is no form of corruption will go unnoticed; that as a people, we can demand accountability; that we are no longer going to fall for the deception that has stalled this country’s progress for the longest time. Isn’t that empowering? Isn’t that the sort of change we have always wanted to achieve?
“I am more scandalized by this group of protesters who, armed with tarpaulins, called for the stop of Vice President Binay’s run for president. Watching them marching with “Stop Binay” tarpaulins was comical, to say the least. Were they protesting against those who will vote for or who believe in VP Binay? Or were they asking VP Binay not to run for higher office? Either way, it was funny how they made use of their freedom to assemble and how they called for a stop to VP Binay’s right to run for a government office and the people’s freedom to vote for whoever they deem right for the position. Obviously, their act did not make us better than the Binays.”
– Norman N. Tubero
Indeed, there is nothing comical about the efforts to stop Binay’s campaign from gaining further traction. What is comical are the blatant lies coming from the Binay camp, and the efforts of his supporters to play out the accusations against him as an attempt of the elitists to overthrow populist candidates. Social and economic classes play a huge role in the success of our politician’s electoral campaign, but in the case of Binay, it’s simply looking at things as black and white. If you’re running for president and you’re a dishonest man, it would be a disservice to our country to vote for you to become president.
Obviously, I am not a student of politics and may be oversimplifying the matter. But it doesn’t take a genius to see it. You do not need to be a lawyer, a political scientist, a scholar, or an educated man to fully understand what is at play here. This campaign to counter Binay’s bid for the highest public office in the land is an effort to take control of our nation’s fate. It seems grand, writing about it, but it’s true. While obviously there are many more issues plaguing our society, the details should not distract us from seeing the bigger picture. We’re on the precipice of achieving something good here. It’s an opportunity to finally begin the end not only of Binay’s reign and clutches but also that of the shameless politicians who have shamed us for fooling us one too many times.