MANILA, Philippines – Being the first and only politician to declare his 2016 presidential bid, Vice President Jejomar Binay already anticipates his critics to fire away.
“The cannons are ready to be fired. Ang mga paninira, nag-uumpisa na, so okay lang,” Binay said in an exclusive interview on ANC’s new show Beyond Politics with Lynda Jumilla on Tuesday, July 9. (The attacks are already starting, so it’s okay.)
In the interview, Binay and his 3 politician children said that while their critics are preparing to attack, they are also ready to address issues raised against them.
The Vice President said his detractors are launching a “peripheral attack” focusing on his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, to derail his presidential candidacy. The younger Binay affirmed this.
“What we’re hearing right now, nagwi-witch-hunt, naghahanap ng butas, transactions made in the city government. Ito ang nakarating sa amin. Dahil 'di maatake ang father ko, sisimulan sa mga anak, sa pamilya, bago pumunta sa father ko,” Mayor Binay said.
(They are doing a witch-hunt, finding loopholes in the transactions made in the city government. This reached us. Because they can’t attack my father, they start with us children, the family, before targeting him.)
Vice President Binay said that this early, he already knows what issues will be raised against him.
“One thing’s sure. From the position of vice president and up to now, I cannot think of a case against me. In fact, we’ve been awarded several instances for how we handle our finances and for having the right expenses. So manggagaling lang 'yun sa pagka-mayor ko,” the Binay patriarch said. (The attack will only come from my years as a mayor.)
3 parties in 2016
Binay was Makati mayor from 1986 to 2010, only stepping down for 3 years because of a term limit. As Makati mayor, he faced various graft cases and suspension but none of the charges prospered. His wife, former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, has two graft cases at the Sandiganbayan.
Besides his son, his daughters Sen Nancy Binay and re-elected Makati 2nd District Rep Abigail Binay came to his defense, branding the issues against their father as rehashed and recycled.
Vice President Binay said that aside from his “old graft cases,” his critics are also reviving rumors about his health. He again denied that he is undergoing dialysis and that he has lupus.
Binay earlier told the Philippine Medical Association that he is willing to undergo a physical examination to dispel speculations that he is ill.
Asked who is behind the alleged smear campaign, Binay laughed. He also refused to name potential rivals for the presidency but dropped hints.
“I suppose there will be 3 political parties vying for the position of president and vice president and they will probably have their own senatorial line-up. Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, and UNA. I doubt Lakas will join, they might just coalesce [with other groups],” said the founder of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Unlike in 2010, Binay’s candidacy is now the subject of public scrutiny. In his vice presidential bid, Binay was dismissed as an unlikely winner with his low survey ratings but emerged to be the poll’s dark horse.
u0022 Photo from Sen Binay's Instagram account
‘Social media is saddening’
The Binay siblings said they are already used to the political attacks, an experience they had to deal with since childhood.
Mayor Binay said: “When we were young, our father was always in the opposition so they filed many cases against him. I really appreciate the fact that my father will take the time to explain to us these issues. ‘Children, when you hear this from your classmates, this is the explanation. Be ready to explain.’
“For many years, our father did this, and now we are also doing this with our children. It’s sad but we have to face it. Our father taught us to defend ourselves.”
Mayor Binay said this is what made social media “saddening.” “You can easily accuse something against a person and not prove it.”
Binay’s son revealed that during Nancy’s senatorial campaign, he actively played a role and constantly reminded his elder sister not to take the attacks against her on social media personally. Senator Binay came under fire for issues ranging from her inexperience, refusal to join debates, to her skin color.
The Binays also get attacked online over political dynasty, a label they embraced and even joked about. Yet they again defended themselves, saying they subject themselves to the people’s will in elections.
Senator Binay said: “Why deprive the voters of people they can choose from just because you have the same last name. It works both ways. Why deprive others the opportunity to serve but also why deprive voters of choices?”
Rep Abigail Binay issued an appeal to social media users. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s be less judgmental. All of us, we don’t like being judged. Tao lang kami, nasasaktan din kami. If you put yourselves in our position, how would you feel? So medyo hinay-hinay lang.”
(We are just human, we get hurt. Be careful when you say things online.)
VP, Abigail clashed over RH
Despite the dynasty tag, Rep Binay said each of them has his or her own mind.
She cited the Reproductive Health (RH) law as an issue where she differed from her father. Rep Binay voted to pass the RH bill.
“It’s a heated debate so browbeating with dad, but of course you have to consider the position of your parents, your constituents also, and your personal position, but at the end of the day, minsan magtatampo, 'di ka kakausapin konti but I guess that’s normal.” (He will feel bad and won’t talk to you for a while.)
Vice President Binay laughed and said, “Talagang nagalit ako sa [kanya sa] RH. Sinulatan ko ng ilang beses iyan.” (I really got mad at her over RH. I wrote to her several times.)
Rep Binay said even when she was in the session hall, her father would still repeatedly call her to convince her to change her mind.
“Can you imagine how divisive issues like that are? Even if you say dynasty, we have different opinions. We have different styles, so it doesn’t mean we come from one family, we’re the same as the father or the sibling. We’re all individuals.” – Rappler.com