Echaves: Genetic

THE latest Social Weather Station survey has revealed the increasing popularity of Sen. Grace Poe as a presidentiable.

In its March 15 survey, she narrowed by five points Vice President Jejomar Binay’s lead of 36 percent.

Of course, contrary to his spokesperson’s pronouncements, this development piques Binay. Why else would he openly say that the next president should not be a newbie in government?

While he has some point there, considering the many problems facing this country, he has conveniently forgotten that he did support a newbie politician, Corazon Aquino, to seek the presidency in 1986.

In fact, because of that support, Binay was the first local official appointed by President Cory immediately after the 1986 Edsa Revolution. His appointment as OIC of Makati City launched his political career.

Repeating that he will run for president, Binay said that the key issues will be competence and experience.

Experience can be a double-edged sword. Experienced in what? If allegations of graft and corruption eventually prove true, then his is not the kind of “experience” this country needs.

Rather, what we need is the kind of “humility and selfless service” that President Cory demonstrated, that he himself lauded in his public statement upon her death in 2009.

Just for the sake of argument--if politically inexperienced Corazon Aquino were to face off with Jejomar Binay, experienced Makati mayor--I would be twice wiser to vote for Cory again.

We’ve long known the saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” How is it possible that Binay is unequivocally unstained and innocent of corruption charges related to the overpricing of the Makati City Hall building?

Also the bid rigging for the construction of the Makati Science High School building? The ownership of 350 hectares of property in Rosario, Batangas, including an air-conditioned piggery?

How about the log cabin in Tagaytay Highlands that was not included in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth? And allegations of receiving kickbacks as Makati mayor?

How about realtor Delfin Lee’s accusation that VP Binay attempted to extort P200 million in connection with the P6.6-billion housing scam?

Then there’s the flagrant refusal of his son, the incumbent mayor of Makati, Jojo Binay, to comply with the six-month suspension order from the ombudsman.

Instead he holed himself in his office and whisked out a TRO from the Court of Appeals. What examples of behavior are these father and son showing to the youth?

Meanwhile, the ombudsman will haul to the Sandiganbayan former Local Water Utilities Administration Prospero Pichay Jr. and 21 others for the anomalous purchase of a thrift bank in 2009.

It will file charges for anomalous clothing allowance worth P36.768 million against former officers of the Philippine Marine Corps.

It has ordered the dismissal of five regional officials of the agriculture department in Western Visayas for corruption leading to overpricing by P14.2 million.
Shall we be surprised if these accused will whisk up TROs, too?

Thus, I share the anxiety of many Filipinos who reject a Binay presidency, who think that propensity for corruption might be genetic with the family.

(lelani.echaves@gmail.com)
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