Battle vs Junjun for Makati mayor to ‘divide’ Binay family, says Abby

Mara Cepeda
Battle vs Junjun for Makati mayor to ‘divide’ Binay family, says Abby
Makati City Mayor Abby Binay says her younger brother Junjun should 'give her a chance' to be reelected

MANILA, Philippines – Reelectionist Makati City Mayor Abigail “Abby” Binay Campos said her looming electoral rivalry with her younger brother Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr in 2019 will divide their family.

“This will divide our family even after the elections,” Abby told ANC’s Headstart on Monday, October 15.

It was on the same day that her father, ex-vice president Jejomar Binay, said he will allow Abby and Junjun to slug it out in Makati during the polls next year. 

Abby turned emotional as she gave her message to her brother during the interview, telling Junjun to “give her a chance” to run for mayor again without him opposing her.

She said she had been there beside Junjun during the height of the controversies over the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II and the Makati Science High School Building when he was still mayor.

“You know, my brother, through all the joy and the sorrow, I have been with him. In all the crises he has been through, personally and politically, I was with him. You have to remember, I was with him in the Senate. I was with him in city hall. I was standing up for him. Ate ako eh. Sana bigyan niya ‘ko ng chance (I’m his older sister. I hope he gives me a chance),” said Abby, her voice breaking. 

She said that when Junjun was mayor from 2010 to 2015, she did not approach her father to tell him she wanted to run for mayor instead. At the time, Abby was Makati 2nd District congresswoman. 

“It’s unconceivable for us na magbanggaan. Kaya ‘di ko maintindihan bakit niya ‘ko binabangga (It’s unconceivable for us to go head to head. That’s why I don’t understand why he’s going to run against me). I’m not fighting with my brother. I’m not in the business of making our family miserable nor will I wash our dirty linen in public,” said Abby.

“Whatever issues we have in our family, we will keep it in our family. It is just unfortunate that now there is a political difference. I hope that he goes beyond the interest of people around him. This is not about his friends,” she added.

The family patriarch said he will not intervene in the looming mayoral race between Abby and Junjun. But Binay said the family has agreed that the two mayoral hopefuls will not throw hurtful statements against each other during the campaign.

Both Abby and Junjun have yet to file their certificates of candidacy as of Monday. 

But can Junjun run? Abby believes Junjun is not qualified to run for office in the first place.

“I believe that he cannot [run]. I’m not talking because he’s running against me. I feel that any person who has a perpetual disqualification, let me qualify, any person who has perpetual disqualification cannot run for public office simply because the perpetual disqualification is only an accessory penalty. The penalty itself is dismissal from service, unless you have a TRO (temporary restraining order),” said Abby, who is also a lawyer.  

The Binay clan decided to field Abby for mayor during the 2016 polls after Junjun was dismissed from office in September 2015.

The Ombudsman had found him and other city officials guilty of the administrative charges of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct over irregularities in the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II. 

But in May this year, the Court of Appeals (CA) overturned Junjun’s dismissal, arguing that the condonation doctrine – which the Supreme Court (SC) struck down in November 2015 – still applied to him. 

The condonation doctrine, which elected officials have been invoking since 1959, is when administrative offenses of an elected official are already deemed forgiven when the public decides to reelect him or her.

Junjun believes he can still run because the final and executory decision on his pending cases will come from the SC. He said his case over the Makati parking building is still under appeal before the CA.

“So ‘yung dismissal, ‘yung accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification, ‘di ‘yan immediately executory. So what’s going to happen now is that hangga’t ‘di nakakapag-decide ang SC sa issue na ‘yan, hangga’t ‘di final and executory ang decision, I can still run,” Junjun told Rappler.

(So the dismissal and the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification are not immediately executory. So what’s going to happen now is as long as the SC has not yet decided on that issue, meaning the decision is not yet final and executory, then I can still run.) – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.