FRANKLY, I now see a bit of desperation in Vice President Jejomar Binay’s eyes. I used to feel contempt at the way he seems to be taking the voters for fools with the way he is handling the allegations of corruption against him. Now I feel pity because he seems to have seen the noose dangling in front of him.

The first thing the VP must have noticed is that no legitimate contender wants to pair up with him. He talked about businessman Manny Pangilinan, Sen. Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and recently Manila City Mayor and former president Joseph Estrada. It’s not difficult to see why they don’t want to be associated with him. Corruption is a real issue in the 2016 elections, and Binay is awash with allegations on that.

The only consolation for the VP now is that in the last survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) he was still on top, or more appropriately in a statistical tie with Poe among presidential wannabes. But as I said many times, that is because it is only Binay who has openly declared his intention to run for president in next year’s polls. I am sure his rating will go down some more after the filing of the certificates of candidacy late this year.

It would also be interesting to find out how the anti-Binay campaign that was launched the other day will affect voters preference. I saw there members of the Black and White Movement like singer Leah Navarro and APO member Jim Paredes, with all of his now white hair. I say the group represents middle class and not the “masa” point of view. But the middle class, as they say, influences considerably public opinion.

But the Binay camp has still to let up on the maneuvering. Its assault on Poe failed miserably, but it was a calculated move. I also think Binay’s recent statement that he is still hopeful that his presidential run will get the blessing of President Noynoy Aquino is a calculated one. He knows that the corruption charges he is facing is not in keeping with PNoy’s “Daang Matuwid” mantra but he is not directing that statement at the President.

Binay defeated PNoy’s running mate Mar Roxas, who is now secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), by cottoning up to the “yellow crowd” that supported the Aquinos through the years. The key was PNoy’s uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco actively pushing for the Noy-Bi (Noynoy-Binay) vote. Even Sen. Francis Escudero, who has no love lost for Roxas, was “Noy-Bi.” Roxas lost by a small margin of votes because of that.

So Binay is obviously hoping that the “Noynoy will support me” claim will once more result in his getting the sympathy of a chunk of the “yellow crowd” in a battle against Roxas in 2016. But that could be wishful thinking. Even if Peping has criticized PNoy and even called for his resignation, he has not come out to openly support Binay. As for Escudero, he is asking Binay to adequately answer the corruption charges against him.

The past months have shown that those who voted “Noy-Bi” in 2010 were wrong. They probably thought Binay was superior in many respects to Roxas. That view has changed considerably considering the testimonies and pieces of evidence that have surfaced not only in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearings but even from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that made the accusations against him rather compelling.

But even with the setbacks, Binay has to plod on. I don’t think he will back off from the presidential race like what the Black and White Movement are urging him to do. He knows that the noose won’t be wrapped around his neck yet if he becomes president.

(khanwens@gmail.com)