Avoid suffering, choose ‘experienced’ Binay – Enrile

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile urged voters to avoid a life of misery by voting for the most "experienced" candidate: Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Enrile made the pitch to thousands of Binay supporters gathered at the Welfareville compound in Mandaluyong City for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance’s proclamation rally on Tuesday, February 9.

The lawmaker, who turns 92 on February 14, advised voters to be circumspect in choosing their next president, as the leader would dictate the kind of life they would have in the next 6 years.

Sapagkat kung hindi niyo gagawin ‘yan na susuriin ang kakayahan ng bawat kandidato sa pagkapresidente at hindi niyo aalagaan boto ninyo, ‘yung mananalo, hindi siya ang magdudusa. Kayo ang magdurusa,” said Enrile. 

(Because if you will not scrutinize the capabilities of each presidential candidate and you won’t take care of you votes, the winning candidate will not be the one to suffer. You will suffer.)

Enrile explained, “‘Yung pipiliin niyong tao ay kailangang marami, malawak ang karanasan, sapagkat siya ang magiging piloto, siya ang magiging tenor, siya ang magiging tsuper, siya ang magiging pangulo ng bansa natin."

(The person you will choose need to be the most experienced because he will be the pilot, the tenor, the driver, the president of our country.) 

He said that of all the candidates running for president, “siya lamang ang aking naiisip na puwedeng humawak ng pagka-presidente ng Pilipinas – si Vice President Jojo Binay (there’s only one person I can think of who can wield the presidency of the Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay).” 

Enrile was referring to the track record of Binay, a human rights lawyer before serving as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief, Makati mayor for 21 years,  public housing chief, and overseas Filipino workers adviser. (READ: FULL TEXT: Jejomar Binay: 'Bukas, ginhawa sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino')

The Vice President resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last year for its supposed “crooked, failed” governance.

Binay was the subject of a year-long Senate inquiry into corruption allegations involving projects when he was still Makati mayor, which his camp had repeatedly denied. (READ: Senate blue ribbon report vs Binay submitted to plenary)

'More Mamasapanos'

'DO YOU WANT TO SUFFER?' Enrile has a warning for voters during the May polls. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

'DO YOU WANT TO SUFFER?' Enrile has a warning for voters during the May polls.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

In pressing for the urgency of a Binay presidency, Enrile took a swipe at President Benigno Aquino III, who he believed should be held accountable for the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in 2015.

Kung palpak ‘yang pangulo na ‘yan, maraming Mamasapano ang mangyayari sa ating bansa. Pero kung magaling ‘yung magiging tenor natin, ang presidente natin, at hindi tutulog-tulog o nagtatago sa kanyang kapatiran, kaklase, at mga kaibigan, ay walang mamamatay sa digmaan,” said Enrile. 

(If president is incompetent, more Mamasapano incidents will happen in the country. But if our tenor, our president, is good and if he doesn’t sleep nor hide behind his allies, classmates, or friends, no one would die in war.)

Enrile had initiated the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano encounter – the lowest point of the Aquino administration – citing "new evidence" that could pin down Aquino. (READ: Senate: Nothing new in Mamasapano probe)

The senator could not participate in the probe which was conducted when he was still detained for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam. Enrile, who faces plunder charges and 15 counts of graft, was granted bail in August 2015. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.