MANILA, Philippines – Imagine the Philippines under a President Jejomar Binay.
The Vice President, standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), was the first to declare his 2016 presidential bid. The former Makati mayor of 21 years, Binay boasts of a CEO-type leadership that supposedly improved the country's financial district. Yet corruption allegations and a notorious political dynasty saddle his childhood dream to be president.
Binay, 72, believes the Philippines needs leaders with managerial skills and experience in local government. He is a former housing czar and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers' (OFW) concerns. Binay promises pro-poor governance and inclusive growth, building on his rags-to-riches story as an orphan who became a human rights lawyer.
As part of Rappler #PHvote's "The Leader I Want" series, we look at Binay's stand on key issues that the next president will have to address: corruption, social inequality, climate change and disasters, foreign policy, OFWs, and the peace process.
Tell us in the comments section below or tweet using #TheLeaderIWant why or why not Jejomar Binay should be the next leader of the country.
Binay and his family face various plunder and graft investigations for allegedly overpriced Makati infrastructure projects. The Senate, the Ombudsman, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council are looking into allegations the Binays rigged bids, used dummies, and amassed wealth and aacquired A lavish estate using public funds.
The Vice President's political allies also face plunder charges for the pork barrel corruption scam. Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr allegedly funneled development funds for the poor to their own pockets. Binay's critics fear he will go slow on their cases, or pardon them if he becomes president.
Here is where Binay stands on corruption:
2. Social inequality
Binay often talks about addressing hunger, poverty, unemployment and inequality in his speeches.
His main criticism of the Aquino administration is that its stellar economic performance did not trickle down to the poor. Inclusive growth is his key campaign message.
Here is how he plans to address the problem:
3. Climate change and disasters
Binay said that, as mayor of Makati, he ensured that the city would have the “best possible” disaster risk reduction and management framework. In a primer published in 2008, the World Bank cited Makati's efforts on climate change and disaster risk reduction.
As vice president, Binay was chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and head of the resettlement cluster for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Binay said the following must be done to address climate change and disasters:
4. Foreign policy
As vice president, Binay often represented President Benigno Aquino III in foreign summits, gathering, and trips.
He became controversial for saying he seeks to enter into a joint venture with China on the disputed South China Sea, a departure from Aquino's hardline stance against Beijing. He is viewed as more conciliatory to China than Aquino.
Here are Binay's thoughts on foreign policy:
As the former presidential adviser on OFW concerns, Binay went to countries like China and Indonesia to plead for the lives of migrant Filipinos on death row, with mixed success. He also attempted to raise blood money for other OFWs who faced execution.
His office received requests for repatriation, assistance on salary and benefits claim, and legal assistance. He said his goal is to make migration a matter of “choice, not a necessity.”
Binay was also the chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment.
Here are Binay's plans for OFWs:
6. Peace process, autonomy and livelihood for Mindanao
Unlike Aquino, Binay is not a strong supporter of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), an outcome of the historic peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Still, the Vice President has admitted that he has not yet read the BBL, and has reservations about it.
At the height of the Mamasapano crisis that endangered the peace process, Binay was critical of how the administration treated the elite cops, saying he wants “peace with justice and accountability.”
Binay criticized presidential peace adviser Teresita “Ging” Deles' response to the tragedy:
“She went to great lengths to justify the actions of the MILF which we find very unfortunate. How can one justify the brutality inflicted on the wounded SAF officers who were shot in the head and stripped of their uniforms and personal effects? That it is not the MILF but a cabinet secretary defending the brutality is disturbing to say the least,” Binay said.
Here are Binay's views on the peace process: