Jejomar "Jojo" Cabauatan Binay, Sr.

binay profile 2Source: Office of the Vice President’s website

Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s candidacy has seen tough turns in the previous months. Will he be able to weather the storms all the way to Malacañang?

From the ground up

The prototypical rags-to-riches politician, the 73-year old Binay hails from a poor family from Manila. At age nine (9) he was orphaned and adopted by his uncle, who eventually supported his education at the University of the Philippines (UP). Like previous presidential aspirant Manny Villar, the former human rights lawyer during the Marcos dictatorship projects a pro-poor image by using this narrative.

In the heat of the EDSA Revolution, Binay was appointed officer-in-charge of Makati City and was elected mayor in 1988, serving three terms until 1998. In 2001, he ran again; serving another three terms until 2010, when he won the vice-presidency. According to the Office of the Vice President’s website, Binay “presided over the phenomenal growth of Makati” during his near-two decade tenure.

He rose to the national political scene when he won the vice presidency by a narrow margin. He was reportedly intent to run for president in the 2010 elections but had to give way to now-Manila Mayor and former president Joseph Estrada. Will he succeed in his quest for the presidency this time?

“Nognog, pandak… ‘di tulad ng iba, may nagawa na”

Recently, Binay has used the derogatory terms hurled at him, to push his campaign platform. Running under the slogan “Ginhawa’y dama ng lahat kay Jojo Binay”, his issues are perceived as very populist. He promises to transform the country in the way he claims to have done so in Makati, the country’s prime business district.

During the announcement of his candidacy, he stated “social inclusion”, “economic dynamism” and an “effective and caring government” as the pillars that will guide his presidency. He claims this is in stark contrast to the current administration’s “incompetence” and “callousness”, adding that his platform rests on his long experience as a local government official.

Binay is running with Senator Gringo Honasan, under the coalition-turned-political party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

binay profile 1Source: Office of the Vice President’s website

Specters of corruption

Like unappeased spirits, the corruption scandals that haunt Binay and his family continue to irk many voters, to the detriment of his candidacy. Investigations of the corruption allegations against him — from undisclosed ownership of various real estate properties to bogus charity projects — have been prominently featured in the media, especially through the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings.

Most recently, the Ombudsman has upheld its decision to indict Binay, among others, for the alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall Parking Building II. It remains to be seen how Binay will respond to these allegations during his campaign, especially considering how he seems to deem these allegations as basically “demolition jobs” against him.

Inevitable?

Although his pre-election poll numbers have fluctuated since the investigations over his alleged corruption came into prominence, his followers remain hopeful that he will be victorious nonetheless on May 9.


Binay