MANILA, Philippines – A defiant Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr vowed to file his candidacy for re-election, branding the Ombudsman's dismissal order as “an evil design” of the administration.
The son of Vice President Jejomar Binay maintained that his dismissal is not yet final, and he can seek a third term as mayor of the country's financial district.
The Ombudsman ordered the younger Binay's dismissal last Friday over the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building. The mayor, already suspended, plans to appeal the order, which also perpetually disqualified him from public office.
“Ang worry namin, there's an evil design here, suspension, dalawang suspension, ngayon naman removal from office, dismissal from service. Bakit ganoon? May masamang balak? 'Di natin maiwasang mag-isip ano pa ang masamang balak nila sa pamilya namin. 'Di lang naman ako, may iba pang kandidato na iniipit sa eleksyon na ito,” the younger Binay said on Monday, October 12.
(Our worry is there's an evil design here. First, it was suspension, then a second suspension, now removal from office, dismissal from service. How come? Are they planning something sinister? We cannot help but think that they have a plan against our family. It's not just me but other candidates that they are persecuting in this election.)
The Ombudsman suspended Binay twice for two different complaints: the parking building and the allegedly overpriced Makati Science High School. The parking building case is now pending before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals after the Binays questioned the suspension order.
Yet he also discussed his plans, including filing his own candidacy in Makati within the week. He said his lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman.
“There's no reason for me not to file my certificate of candidacy. Lahat naman ng mga abogado na mahusay sa larangan ng eleksyon, lahat sila iisa sinasabi na walang dahilan,” he said.
(All of the veteran election lawyers said there's no reason for me not to run.)
Politicians running for the May 2016 polls have until October 16 to file their candidacies.
Will Junjun or Abby run for mayor?
While Mayor Binay said he will pursue his re-election bid, his sister said there is no final decision yet on who will run for mayor.
In a separate interview outside the Comelec, Makati Representative Abigail Binay said she remains open to running for mayor in case her brother is dismissed with finality.
“Kung pwede, hindi. Kumbaga sa last talaga, kung talagang walang-wala na talagang choice, kailangan, then I will run kasi 'di ko pwede pabayaan ang inumpisahan ng aking ama,” she said. (If possible, I won't run. But as a last option, if there is really no choice, then I will run because I cannot allow what my father started to go to waste.)
The Binays are a political dynasty that has been ruling Makati for over two decades.
The Vice President was mayor for 21 years, while his son took over when he became president in 2010. Eldest daughter Nancy is a senator. Representative Binay is ending her 3-term run as congresswoman of the 2nd district. The Vice President's wife, Elenita, was mayor from 1998 to 2001 when the Binay patriarch sat out a term limit.
Representative Binay said the family is still considering different options and scenarios after her brother was dismissed.
One option was for both her and her brother to file candidacies for mayor to have a back-up but she was not keen on this.
“'Di magandang tingnan kung parehos kami mag-file basta maraming permutations, options na pwedeng gawin. We will decide by Friday.” (It will not look good if both of us will file but there are many permutations, options we can do.)
Another option was for her to substitute for her brother by the December 10 deadline.
“No final decision yet,” she said.
'My husband is not a nobody'
With brother and sister possibly running for mayor, Representative Binay also defended her family from criticism of an extended political dynasty.
Rappler reported that Binay's husband, Luis Campos, is running to replace her as representative. If Representative Binay runs and wins as mayor, husband and wife will occupy two key posts in Makati.
“If people want to question that, then they should not vote for him. If they think he has no capacity, don't vote for him. At the end of the day, it's the people of Makati who will decide,” Representative Binay said.
The congresswoman said Campos was qualified to be a lawmaker.
“He has an MBA degree. Sa lahat ng projects ko, siya pumupunta. Businessman din po siya, 'di naman siya pinulot lang somewhere.” (In all of my projects, he is the one attending. He is also a businessman. He's not a nobody.)
Like her argument for running for mayor, Binay cited the need for “succession” and “continuity” in defending her husband's congressional run.
“Gusto ko mga proyekto ko ituloy niya kasi 'pag iba uupo, 'di na ipagpapatuloy ang proyekto, walang kasiguruhang ituloy. May women's advocacy and aalalayan ko, environmental crusade. Dapat ipagpatuloy.” (I want my projects to be continued because if another person sits in office, there is no assurance of continuity. I have a women's advocacy and an environmental crusade. He should continue that.) – Rappler.com