V-P Binay must quit

VICE-PRESIDENT Jejomar Binay is accused of corruption that even his natural constituency, the masa, can no longer dismiss. The series of exposés, made credible by a whistleblower who was once the most trusted by the capo di tutti capi, has led a growing number of the masa to reject or at least question their favorite candidate for President.

 Although the masa (and the elite) can tolerate some corruption, they get enraged when the money from corruption (e.g., from an atrociously expensive parking building that is far from world-class) is spent on a complex that rivals the property of British royalty.
Unsurprisingly, Binay’s survey ratings (for trust, approval or satisfaction) have taken a plunge. His spin is that his net ratings remain good or positive. Well, this is no different from a pilot calming his passengers that the plane is above water even as the plane is crashing.

What has been revealed is the tip of the iceberg. To use another metaphor, some people in the know say that the demolition of Binay is a striptease act. Each piece of evidence is slowly being revealed. Incidentally, the issue is not whether Binay is a victim of a demolition job, as Binay’s camp is insisting. The point is Binay must believably answer the serious charges hurled against him.

Anyhow, expect Binay to be pounded more and more by the exposés and public opinion.

But this is not the reason the Vice-President must resign. He is correct, after all, that he is innocent until proven guilty. He can remain in office till proven guilty. To illustrate, his political allies in the Senate — Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada — despite facing plunder cases, remain senators.

And he can remain Vice-President up to the end of his term, unless a wise guy like Representative Edgar Erice gets him removed through impeachment. As Vice-President, Binay’s role is to act as President, in the event that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” That’s about it.

So those who are anti-Binay should ask the community of doctors to renew their call to the President to quit smoking. A healthy President reduces the possibility of his not being able to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.” And Binay will remain a spare tire.

But as a member of PNoy’s Cabinet, the Vice-President must resign. The Cabinet is composed of men and women who are alter egos of the President. They follow the President, and they act as one team. The Cabinet members must publicly affirm their support for the President’s statements and actions, even if some might privately have a contrary view on some issues. If one strongly disagrees with the President on a certain matter and wants to debate openly or make the disagreement public, he must first resign as a Cabinet Secretary. This applies to all Cabinet members, including the Vice-President.

But Binay has come out openly to condemn the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and decry the administration’s “selective justice.” He surely angered the President when he criticized the protection accorded to PNoy’s friend, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Allan Purisima, in contrast to the unmerciful treatment of Gloria Arroyo.

Binay’s public attack, even though public opinion is against DAP and “selective justice,” is unbecoming of a member of the Cabinet. Thus, the issue is not about the correctness of Binay’s criticisms. He is a Cabinet member, and dishing out such criticisms is a no-no for a Cabinet member.

So why doesn’t he want to resign from the Cabinet? He is aware of the surveys that show that he can beat PNoy in an election, if it were held today. He knows that he will not get PNoy’s endorsement in the 2016 presidential election. So what’s the value for him to continue sticking it out with PNoy?

Is it that he is hoping that Kris and sisters will continue to support him so long as he professes love for PNoy?

Meantime, the striptease continues.

Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III coordinates the Action for Economic Reforms.

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