Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4 July 2015


The Binays of Makati are crying that they are being picked on (inaapi), especially by the Aquino administration (from the President down), and that all the charges against Binay pere and fils are only speculation (haka-haka), or are misleading (I don’t know the Filipino term for this), or complete lies (kasinungalingan), which means the legislature (the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee) and the Ombudsman are liars.

The strategy they have adopted seems to be two-pronged. One prong is denial—if they deny often enough, the Filipino people, or at least a sufficient number, will believe their story. The other is no direct confrontation—i.e., never put themselves in a position where they have to face their accusers directly—because they have spokespersons and lawyers behind whom they can hide.

Will their strategy be successful? Well, we will find out soon enough. The national and local elections in 2016 will provide us with a categorical answer.

Inaapi. By the Aquino administration. If the Reader will recall, Binay is the first vice president who was given—at his request, mind you—an official residence: the Coconut Palace. Naturally the tourism and rental incomes from the Coconut Palace had to be given up, and, of course, it had to be refurbished to his specifications. Initial outlay was P50 million, and there were subsequent requests, which were also approved. Is that inaapi?

He was also given a Cabinet position. True, he wanted the Department of Interior and Local Government. Even then, he was already preparing for 2016 and everybody knew it, including the President. He was given housing, not dissimilar to Imelda Marcos’ Ministry of Human Settlements. Which gave him the opportunity to go all over the Philippines, awarding houses and lots for housing. I doubt whether he ever mentioned to the awardees that he was merely standing in for the President. He was also given responsibility over the overseas Filipino workers, and he made very sure that it was he, the Vice President, who was working single-handedly for them. This has to have given him tremendous advantages for 2016. Is that inaapi?

Moreover, he had a P200-million-a-year share of the pork barrel—until that was removed—which was given him by the legislature/President. I don’t know if his predecessor also had it, but I am certain that the Office of the Vice President’s budget was not reduced. Is that inaapi?

This is in direct contrast to how the Vice President treats potential opponents. Take the case of Vice Mayor Kid Peña, who is now acting mayor of Makati. I interviewed Peña for my TV show “Bawal ang Pasaway,” which will be aired on Monday. GMA TV’s policy is to give equal treatment, and suspended Mayor Junjun Binay was also invited. But following the BS (Binay Strategy), he asked his father’s spokesman (Rico Quicho) to agree to be interviewed. I am told, though, that he laughed when he was asked to appear in my show—so it might be a combination of fear and dislike. If the Reader posits that it is not the Vice President who is the mayor of Makati, I refer her to the videos that tend to show otherwise.

Acting Mayor Peña showed me the Office of the Mayor on the 21st floor of Makati City Hall (he had to ask whether he was allowed to go inside). The office gave me the impression that we were in Malacañang. The main office was huge—larger than a two-bedroom condo in Makati. There was another office, also large, where the mayor does his work. And then there was a bedroom with a queen-size or king-size bed and a lounging chair. Then there was a huge bathroom, and a huge kitchen, with dining space. And, of course, a palatial conference room. One could live there forever, if one were under siege.

So I asked to see the Office of the Vice Mayor. You must understand that Peña was the only opposition candidate in Makati who won, in 2010 when he was independent, and in 2013, as a Liberal Party member. It turns out that he was not given the Office of the Vice Mayor (as occupied by Ernesto Mercado); that was turned into the offices of the congresspersons of Makati (Abigail Binay and Monique Lagdameo). Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words, and you will see the difference between the mayor’s office and where Vice Mayor/Acting Mayor Peña has been assigned for the past five years. Now that’s an example of   inaapi.

When Mercado was vice mayor, the budget for the Office of the Vice Mayor for 2010 (the last half-year that Mercado was in office) was something like P204 million, including something like P60 million for capital expenditures. Did Peña get the same deal? Stupid question, right? The budget given him was P25 million (now P28 million), and no capital expenditures. Sino ang inaapi?

Apparently, Peña was not given any responsibility (or authority) by Mayor Binay. He said there had been no meaningful conversation (in fact, no conversation at all) between him and the mayor since 2010. It seems Peña was given no chance to show his worth to the people of Makati, because he was a possible contender in future mayoral elections.

Contrast that with President Aquino’s treatment of his Vice President. And you will know what “inaapi” really means when the Binays are the ones in position nationally.

Now we go to the haka-haka and kasinungalingan, words that the Binays have appended to the Senate hearings and to the Ombudsman’s findings. Except that I’ve run out of space. So we have to save those for some other time.