"Ang tanong ng bayan: Nasaan ang gobyerno?"
-- Vice President Jojo Binay
THAT question is vexing to any administration. No matter what good it has done, there's always some time when government fails.
It's a cliche, raised mostly by people needing help and not getting it. Following the recent earthquake in Nepal, desperate survivors wondered what their government was doing. In Leyte, in the wake of super-typhoon Yolanda, starving victims with no roof over their heads, asked, "Hain man atong gobyerno?"
Disaster victims know the government often bungles and takes time to act but they ask anyway. As quickly as, say, cursing the blackout when it stops their important work. Or when in throes of need they have no one else to turn to. Even some evacuees, already fed and sheltered but wanting more, whined to relief workers, "Where's the government?"
Politicians have exploited the cliche, which many people can relate to. Who doesn't have a brickbat to throw at government? Name any public service that breaks down, conks out, or collapses, you have the state to blame.
But government is as abstract and impersonal as can be -- until one puts a face to it. Which opposition leader Jojo Binay did last July 1 when he led the launching of United Nationalist Alliance. He targeted President Aquino and assigned him names that depicted his rule as a fiasco,callous and indecisive.
Many will agree there were instances when government failed, took time to act, and was insensitive. But sweeping denunciations of the government, which Binay himself for five years was very much a part of but he now scorns, would dismay even a PNoy critic.
With rabble-rousing over, Binay should tell the nation what he could do. But maybe not before explaining how a veteran politician accused of corruption would make a better president than anyone else.