Our future

- Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

I am part of several e-groups where retired executives, academics and journalists exchange views on the issues of the day. I note a growing sense of despair in the exchanges over the country’s future and most specially over the lack of choices for the next president.

I share the anxiety of my peer group as we approach the 2016 presidential election. The corruption charges leveled against Vice President Binay may not be sufficient to convict him in court, at least not before we vote in 2016. But the circumstantial evidence so far hurled against the Vice President offers good reason to wonder if we want him in Malacañang.

But who else is there? Mar Roxas? I might just take my chances on Jojo Binay because he is more likely to move the country forward and build needed infrastructure, overpriced like the science high school building as these might be. In a manner of thinking, an overpriced but much needed airport does more for the economy and the people than nothing, which is what we will get from Roxas. His DOTC team will deliver no airport, no significant railway expansion started by them when they leave office in 2016.

“Parepareho lang naman sila,” as one man-on-the-street exclaimed referring to politicians in general in an interview I caught on television some time ago. “Doon na ako sa may benepisyong umaabot sa bayan.” 

That, in a nutshell, is why we are screwed. The cynicism of the common man is justified. The masa does not vote unintelligently as some people claim. They vote for whoever delivers what they need, overpriced as these goods might be.

But wait a minute… isn’t the masa too emotional when they vote? Think necropolitics. Tita Cory died, Noynoy got elected. In 2016, pray that the 85 year old Imelda Marcos stays alive months before we cast our votes, otherwise Ferdinand Marcos Jr will be our president.

That’s a scary thought and specially so because it could happen. Jojo Binay may end up like Manny Villar who was leading the contest until a mother died and the son was elected.

But I was told by someone close to the former First Lady that Imelda thought of that possibility and she said she would rather the people vote for Bongbong out of love than out of pity. That’s why, my source said, Imelda does not want to die before the 2016 election and is,therefore, taking good care of her health.

For now, the 2016 election is Jojo Binay’s to lose. The way I see it, Binay’s worse enemy is himself. The barrage of corruption accusations is obviously taking a toll on Binay’s nerves and he is starting to react without thinking. Even his denials sound unresponsive to the accusations, too legalistic and unconvincing. His request for P-Noy to ask Senate President Drilon to stop the hearings smells of fear and guilt. 

The senators may not be able to gather enough evidence to give Binay problems at the Ombudsman or Sandiganbayan. But they are driving Binay to react erratically… like when he challenged Sen. Trillanes to a debate and then backed out at the last minute. 

The corruption charges against Binay is gaining traction among middle class folks like myself and most of the people reading this column. But even if the more informed segment of the masa starts to rethink Binay too, most are cynical enough about our politicians (“parepareho sila”) to change their minds.

Because Binay is a good lawyer, it is difficult to find a crack in his legal armor that will lead to a successful prosecution of corruption charges against him. There will have to be a special inquiry commission of sorts with special powers to break through the legal fortress and that won’t happen soon, if that is possible at all.

The weak link so far is this Tiu fellow. He is now in trouble with SEC for questions raised by his disclosures. What attracted my attention was the report that a major investor in one of his listed companies is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands whose main contact is a lawyer in a law firm associated with Binay. That was clumsy of the law firm. They made it so easy to put one and one together and conclude who owns it.

Since 2009, one of Tiu’s listed companies has been operating at a loss, yet it was still able to lure a major investor… that BVI registered company. While it’s not unusual for investors to invest in companies not making a profit in hopes of a future turnaround, the involvement of Abigail Binay’s law firm partner in that BVI registered firm as the largest investor raises eyebrows... too close to home.

Still, Binay is way ahead unless some strong emotional tidal wave, for example Imelda’s death, sweeps the country. What matters is Binay’s national network which he built over many years. No other group, not even the Liberal Party, has the loyalty of thousands of LGU officials nurtured over at least two decades by Binay’s generosity. Binay was reported to have shared Makati’s IRA with them.

As for Imelda, don’t think she no longer packs a wallop. She does, specially among the masa. She still has this star quality among them, an unfortunate thing for sure, but a reality we must take into account. My source told me that when they do political rallies for Bongbong, it is Imelda who speaks last. Otherwise, people will not wait for Bongbong’s speech.

Bongbong is the wrong Marcos. The Marcos who seems to have inherited the old dictator’s intelligence and brilliance is not Bongbong but Imee. If one compared their performance as governor of Ilocos Norte, Imee appears to have been more imaginative and more hard working of the two. But that’s not the point. A Marcos is a Marcos.

The thought of a Marcos revival is a horrible thought. Even Sen Chiz Escudero’s suggestion to give the old dictator a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is revolting enough… very divisive of the nation. The possibility of Imelda’s son succeeding Cory’s son will show how dysfunctional our democratic system has become. There are 100 million Filipinos and there isn’t one worthy to be president outside of these political dynasties?

I have a few names in mind more worthy to be our next president. There is Gov Joey Salceda, recently named as the most outstanding alumnus of Ateneo. Some people think Sen. Serge Osmena is too acerbic, but he will make a good president who has the brains and the experience needed to govern.

Sen. Grace Poe is a fast learner and if we are pushed far enough with just Binay, Marcos and Roxas as choices, we should beg Sen. Grace to run. She isn’t as inexperienced as P-Noy and seems more inspiring. And there is servant leader Tony Meloto, but time and again he expressed a lack of interest in politics.

It is my hope that someone truly worthy of our trust will emerge before we vote in 2016. Or perhaps, if we assume everything they have accused Binay of is true, we can hope the VP, who is now in his 70s, will see eternity before him, turn a new leaf and lead the country honestly and productively for legacy’s sake.

I know people will say that will take a miracle, but miracles do happen. When we are faced with impossible odds… we pray for miracles in the belief that God loves this nation and will make things right somehow. The atheists among us will scoff at us for thinking such, but what’s left for us otherwise?

Ay naku! Thinking of our future leaves us frustrated, elevates our blood pressure and makes us feel hopeless. As senior citizens, we just want to be able to leave this nation better than when we were born to it. It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect that will happen without a miracle. So keep praying folks!  

Magic lamp

Enough of the gloomy stuff. Here is the latest update of that old tale about Aladdin’s magic lamp… from my friend Mandy Navasero.

A woman finds Aladdin’s magic lamp. She starts rubbing it and a Genie comes out as usual.

The woman looks at the Genie and asks him to grant her the following wishes:

- I want my husband to have eyes only for me

- I want to be the only one in his life

- I want that when he gets up in the morning I’m the first thing he grabs and takes me everywhere he goes.”

The Genie turned the lady into an I-Phone 6

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address isbchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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