Binay’s reign in Makati
COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2018 - 12:00am

One of the most notable groups of lawyers that fought the martial law dictatorship then belongs to the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism Inc., or MABINI. This group who braved it included the late Joker Arroyo, Rene Saguisag, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay Sr., to name some of them. As fate would have it, many of them would later become government officials after the February 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

Binay along with a like-minded anti-Marcos lawyer, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., later turned to politics and formed the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Binay established his own political dynasty. Initially appointed officer-in-charge, Binay later on got elected as the Mayor of Makati City. And for the next several decades, the people of Makati City had only been served by a Mayor Binay since then.

The political clans like the Binays were able to go around the term limit of three years in office for three consecutive terms under the country’s 1987 Constitution. At the end of his third term, Binay gave way first to his wife Doctora Elenita Binay, who is also still fighting at the Sandiganbayan a graft case against her.

Later on, eldest name sake son, Jejomar “Jun-jun” Binay Jr. ran and got elected as Makati Mayor. This was while elder Binay run and won as VP runningmate of president Joseph Estrada during the May 2010 elections.

At present, the country’s richest city government is headed by the second daughter of the former Vice President, Mar-Len Abigail Binay-Campos. Mayor Abby – for brevity’s sake – was my featured guest in my Kapihan sa Manila Bay breakfast news forum last Wednesday at Cafe Adriatico in Remedios Circle.

Now 75 years old, according to his daughter, ex-VP Binay is back to his first love as a human rights lawyer and is currently the founding dean of newly created Law School of the University of Makati (UMAK) where he teaches Introduction to Law.

After her three consecutive terms as Congresswoman from the second district of the City of Makati, the young Binay confessed her original plan was to retire from politics to become devoted mother and wife to her husband Rep. Luis Angel Jose Campos Jr. who now sits in her erstwhile congressional district. Like her father, she is a lawyer by profession.

Now nearing the end of her first term as Mayor of Makati City, she decided otherwise and announced during our Kapihan sa Manila Bay her plans to seek reelection in the coming May 2019 elections. As far as she knows, she 
has the support of her father as the chieftain of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Her “Ate Nancy” Binay, eldest of the five Binay children, is also up for re-election for a second term as Senator. Sen. Binay, along with Mayor Abby and her Congressman husband, are the UNA elected leaders who remain with their father’s political party.

Ex-VP Binay formed UNA when he ran in the May 2016 presidential elections following a falling out with Pimentel’s PDP-Laban. It was former Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte who run and won as PDP-Laban presidential standard-bearer.

As of present, she echoed the inclination of the Binay political clan of not making any alliance with any political party, not even with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago led by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Mayor Abby did not belie reports that a Binay-versus-Binay scenario, or her own brother ex-Mayor Jun-jun might possibly contest her re-election bid.

Like the Estradas and many other political clans in the Philippines, cracks within the Binay political dynasty have come out in the open.

Mayor Abby shared a family anecdote that she recently “chastised” (her own word was “Kinagalitan ko Tatay ko”) for rushing to a Makati police precinct to check on the case of three arrested lawyers for alleged interference in a drug bust in one bar establishment in the city last week.

According to her, the Binay patriarch justified his going there not to rescue the three lawyers but merely to check if their rights are protected inside the city police jail. “I just reminded my father that we (Binays) in Makati live like in microscope that every action or movement we make is being magnified,” she explained.

Fortunately, Mayor Abby cited, the Makati Anti-Drug policemen involved in that bar incident are equipped with body cameras. Since she took over the city government, she cited, some 200 Makati city cops are issued body cameras.

As far as Mayor Abby is concerned, she has etched her own niche as Makati City Mayor in her first two years in office. She made a quick recitation of her accomplishments so far, including her “Digital City” project nearing 100 percent connectivity of Makati residents to free public wi-fi services at their homes and schools.

But she is more excited about the Makati Subway project that could break ground by yearend. The proposed 10-kilometer, dual track, urban rail system will connect key points in Makati, from the current Central Business District along Ayala Avenue, to Makati City Hall, Poblacion Heritage Site, Ospital ng Makati (OsMak), the Makati Science High School and the UMAK.

Once operational, it will serve more than five million people coming and going to the city, not just ease the perennial traffic jams in the country’s business capital.

The proposed $3.7-billion intra-city underground railway system in the country’s premier financial district will still go through though under the competitive Swiss Challenge process. The unsolicited PPP (Public Private Partnership) proposal and draft Joint Venture Agreement was submitted by a consortium of large foreign and local companies led by listed IRC Properties Inc. (IRC) that got the Original Proponent Status.

This early, she hopes to turn into her “crowning glory” the Makati Subway project. The time frame of completion of this project, however, coincides with her having to serve the next two terms in office as Mayor. Barring hitches, the city of Makati would still be a Binay reign until the year 2025.

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