Monday, August 3, 2015

#NoyBi Failed Us, Blame the King Makers

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Vice President Jejomar Binay's True State of the Nation Address (TSONA) earlier marks a new low for the #NoyBi tandem that has dominated Philippine politics for the last five years. Much of what Binay has said is true: the woes of the MRT, the failure of crisis management in Zamboanga, the lethal ineptitude in the face of Yolanda, the breakdown of protocol in Mamasapano, the amateur handling of Luneta hostage crisis, and the return of fiscal dictatorship and discretionary spending via Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). And the truth - especially from a friend turned foe - will hurt.

But whatever little moral high ground Binay has is effectively obliterated by a single fact: he is part of the administration for the past five years, and he said nothing. His tarnished reputation is another thing, of course (Friendship Suites Hotel, Makati Homeville, Hacienda Binay, overpriced Makati City Hall parking building among other infra, the AMLC report; for others, check out former Sec. Rafael Alunan's long list). That he has the gall to speak against abuse of power when he won't even face his accusers in the Senate only demonstrates his cynical appreciation of corruption allegations as mere political spectacle, something one would throw when convenient, and something one should ignore as much as he can whenever possible.

Binay's Makati = PNoy's Philippines

In any case, Binay's statement lacks element of surprise. We already know the sorry state of our dear nation. It is true that the Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III remains to spectacularly fail in attracting foreign investments compared to our ASEAN neighbors, but we know that much of the lack of trust is due to a failure of good governance, of which Binay is a living and breathing symbol. We know the raging inequality amid Aquino III's "inclusive growth" - inequality and poverty showcased by the booming financial City of Makati which the Binay dynasty had led the entirety of post-EDSA period. We are all aware of the growing number of poor households coinciding with the highest average economic growth in the last 40 years, just as Binay's assets suspiciously grew from P2.5 million to P60 million (stored in more than 200 bank accounts) as he kicked away the poor from Makati City during his stint as Mayor.

From an article daring Binay to show the real Makati.

For truth is, Makati City is under Binay is the ultimate microcosm of the Philippines under Aquino III - services-driven with little to show for regular and consistent employment, scandalous inequality both in geography and in income, growth driven by financial and property speculation of nascent transnational oligarchs, led by political dynasty in a systematically patrimonial fashion via a discretionary fiscal system which maintains a stable amount of desperate poor as voter base, among many other things.

#NoyBi Failed Us, Blame the King Makers

Conclusion: #NoyBi has failed the Filipino people. The love child of "daang matuwid ni Noy" and "kay Binay, gaganda ang buhay" is a nation with a struggling 97% ruled by more or less 300 families. Aquino has nothing to show but an exclusive growth managed by an ineffectual bureaucracy. Binay has 242 bank accounts. Whoever concocted the #NoyBi campaign has done the nation wrong, and should be shamed.

We have particularly in mind the sly Sen. Fransisco "Chiz" Escudero, who is now positioning himself as the running mate of hyper-popular Sen. Grace Poe. His tactic then: neutralize Mar Roxas' momentum in 2010 so as to make possible a bid for the Presidency or Vice Presidency in 2016 (as his own campaign fizzled due to arrogance), is as clear as his tactic now: prop Grace Poe to make an attempt for the Vice Presidency in 2016 possible, with a possible consolation price of Executive Secretary perhaps under the Poe administration. Positioning himself as a "king-maker", he gave us a bad administration in the last half a decade. Will he give us a bad one for the next? No thanks Chiz.

We also have to blame self-styled strategist and Council of Philippine Affairs secretary-general Pastor "Boy" Saycon who has made a career in propping up and destabilizing all sitting administrations since Ramos - not for any lasting reform but for fleeting political advantage (and likely, financial gains). And of course there is Peping Cojuangco, who later turned his back on his nephew for failing to protect his particularistic haciendero interests.

P.S. Reject King Makers, Has beens

In a truly functioning democracy, the electorate's voice is genuinely sovereign and dominating. Unfortunately, "king makers" - un-electable has beens or party rejects, lobby for power by manipulating people's perception of who is winnable or not, thereby undermining informed and educated choice of the Philippine electorate.

True reformers should stay away from them. Nothing sucks a transformational agenda more than a political leech who is only there for personal gain.

As for the electorate, we should always be wary of candidates who allow themselves to be campaigned by and surrounded by these people.-30-

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