RECENT political developments at the national level can be described as the ascension by default of Vice President Jejomar Binay to the political opposition’s leadership throne. I said by default because even during the time when Binay was “namanangka sa dalawang ilog,” nobody staked a claim to being the paramount leader of the political opposition. More so now that Binay has severed his ties with the Aquino administration by resigning from his Cabinet posts.
The so-called “three kings” composed of Binay, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former president and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada were once the acknowledged leaders of the political opposition. But Enrile fell from his perch when he was linked to the pork barrel scam, charged with plunder and incarcerated. Estrada is old and seems content minding the smaller turf that is Manila City. So Binay is left by his lonesome.
With the VP taking the political opposition’s leadership mantle, one now wonders what would happen to the network he built first within the camp of then presidential bet Noynoy Aquino in the run-up to the 2010 polls and later within the Aquino administration when Aquino assumed the presidency. We all know that the Aquino camp in 2010 was divided into the Noy-Bi (Noynoy-Binay) and Noy-Mar (Noynoy-Mar Roxas) factions.
When Aquino took over Malacañang, the so-called Samar and Balay groups were said to represent the Noy-Bi and the Noy-Mar camps, respectively. Samar is the street along which the “headquarters” of the pro-Binays was located. Balay is the structure where the pro-Roxas group holds fort. With Binay saddled with corruption charges and now showing his true color (no pun intended there), what will happen to these factions?
That was also the question that inquirer.net attempted to answer in a story it posted yesterday. Among the notable personalities supposedly in the Samar group are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma and Sen. Francis Escudero. Escudero has distanced himself from Binay while Ochoa does not grant media interviews. As for Coloma, he says he will go wherever PNoy will go.
I would like to think that with Binay now fully with the political opposition, the Noy-Bi faction within the Aquino camp will crumble, if it has not disintegrated yet. I still have to hear from the other prominent Noy-Bi leader, former congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, PNoy’s uncle. Cojuangco’s group, the Council of Philippine Affairs (Copa) recently asked for Aquino’s resignation. But it has not announced its intention to support Binay’s presidential bid.
Even then, the situation within the administration coalition has been simplified. The confusion brought about by Binay posturing as an Aquino man is no more. The only question left unanswered is who PNoy will anoint as the administration’s standard bearer. It is doubtful, however, that the President will anoint Sen.Grace Poe, who is not with the ruling Liberal Party. But can PNoy convince her to be Roxas’s running mate?
By the way, Binay continued his assault against the Aquino administration yesterday. Unfortunately for him, he is being countered at every turn by PNoy’s people.
The usually silent Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, for example, exposed his hypocrisy on the issue of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), noting that the National Housing Authority that was under Binay’s supervision received millions of pesos from DAP and yet Binay didn’t complain.
But the Binay gambit seems to be working a bit. Nobody is talking now of the allegations of corruption hounding him.