Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the July 7, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

What is it exactly that the VP does everyday? – Sarah Palin

A few days ago VP Jejomar Binay visited the office he inherited from his predecessor Noli de Castro and found it not up to his standards. “I’ll get a rash staying here,” he told reporters who tagged along.

His chair was too big for his short stature – “This is only for six-footers” – and the office space was not big enough to contain his ego. “You’re the vice president but you can’t even hold office on the entire floor,” he said.

The décor was not up to snuff; the walls were bare. “There must be dignity commensurate to the occupant of the office,” he said.

And so he’s thinking about relocating to the Coconut Palace. Don’t laugh, palace and not coconut is the operative word for Binay. He thinks dignity comes with the second word.

I don’t know why Binay is bitching when he has been given an office with a view of Manila Bay, a budget of P187M, and a support staff of about a hundred. So okay his chair is too big for him, but other than a kiddie-size chair, what else does he think he deserves for having to do nothing other than wait for a job opening? “A provincial governor has a governor’s mansion. The Vice-president comes home to his own house.” Oh.

But seriously, the matter of a house provided by the State is something Binay needs to take up with higher authorities. The Constitution does not mention a house for the vice president.  “The President shall have an official residence” is all it says about employee housing.

Binay believes the vice presidency is more than what the Constitution says it is.

“I’m the number two man in the executive department. Our only difference with the president is that he has regular departments. That’s the only thing we don’t have, but we are in an executive position,” he declared.

No siree, Mr. VP, you are not in an executive position. There is only one Executive in the executive department and that is the President. The cabinet and all other appointees are only his alter egos. The Constitution does not give the vice president any executive powers.

There’s a good reason why the Constitution left the vice president powerless:  given executive powers the vice president might find the temptation to take over prematurely too hard to resist.

To repeat, you are not the second-highest executive. You are a spare tire. The number 2 license plate on your car indicates you are second in the line of succession, nothing more.

The idea that the VP is a shadow president, as a columnist from another paper suggested, conjures the image of someone lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce at the earliest opportunity. You don’t want to be that shadowy figure, do you Mr. VP?

Going back to the quote at the top of the page, Sarah Palin’s complete statement on the vice presidency was:

“As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.”

Now you know why I said you are like Sarah Palin.