After an attempt by law enforcers to forcibly remove him failed, beleaguered Makati City mayor Junjun Binay voluntarily left his city hall amidst criticism over what had transpired a week earlier.
Earlier this week, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended the mayor – for the second time this year – over his involvement in an overpriced government project in his city. Law enforcers made up of combined police personnel and agents of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) advanced to the Makati City Hall to present the suspension order. Instead of a law-abiding mayor who was mandated to vacate his post by law, these law enforcers were instead met with angry protesters – claiming to be “Binay supporters”.
The scenes which we saw were atrocious, a mockery of the rule of law in the country and exposing just how elitist political dynasties have become. Media outlets recorded scenes of these so-called supporters hurling chairs at police personnel, who were prepared with anti-riot gear which tells us that such a reaction was expected when they were tasked to deal with the so-called “Royals of Makati”.
Before departing, Mayor Binay conducted a public speech which he tried to portray as heartfelt. In his monologue where hundreds of Makati residents were in attendance, he claimed that he was “temporarily leaving” the city hall adding that he could “no longer bear seeing people get hurt” blatantly referring to the violent scenes that occurred days earlier.
We can clearly see how groomed the young Binay is in his politics, being in a family where his father is the vice-president and two sisters in both Houses of Congress. He can capitalize on the emotions of people and cleanly spin an event, which many saw him to be blamed for, in his favor.
However, to a privy observer it is clear that Binay was not innocent in that entire fiasco. Could he not have told his so-called followers to back down? And what’s the deal with them appearing only when an arrest order looms? If we remember correctly, earlier this year – in April – the same supporters barricaded the entrances of the City Hall when forces of the national police came to present the first suspension order, again for another overpriced project by the city government.
For the same troublemakers to be back again on the exact morning that the second suspension order was going to be enforced is rather suspicious.
Adding to that, Rappler.com reported previously that each supporter was paid an amount between Php300-500 for their attendance in such demonstrations. Their meals and transport costs to and from the city hall were also covered by anonymous donors. Although it is quite easy in this case to postulate who this generous Binay supporter could be.
Yet ironically, as Binay finished his faux-speech he stated that he was leaving the city hall to “follow the rule of law” which is enough to make any sane person gag at how staged that statement is. It also begs the question, why did he not follow the rule of law when he was served the first suspension order?
To cap off his speech, Mayor Binay embraced his father – the vice-president Jejomar Binay – in a cleverly placed location just in front of where all the media cameras were. In the shot that has been making rounds in almost all mainstream media outlets, we can see the two Binays emotionally hugging with a shot of their sister Senator Nancy Binay in the foreground and their other sister, Congresswoman Abigail Binay emotional in the background.
It was one of those photos that just shows too much detail that you have to wonder if whether it was staged or not. Knowing the Binays, you have to lean towards the affirmative. The shot also brought back memories of Joseph Estrada’s departure from Malacanang Palace back in 2001, at the height of his own corruption scandal.
It only makes sense then that both Binay and Estrada are planning to be on the same political ticket in the 2016 elections.
In assessing the criticism his family faces, Mayor Binay repeated the previous sentiment of his father – that such accusations are merely part of a ‘demolition job’ against his father who is eyeing the presidency next year. But if you act in such a pretentious manner already, it is not hard to believe that the allegations against you bear weight. Really, aside from this rationale the Binays have not made any concrete arguments to defend themselves against corruption allegations.
It almost seems like they really have no defense against the charges; if that’s the case then it only explains why they use so much political rhetoric to make themselves seem less wretched.