Vice-President Binay is in his sweet spot.
Eight out of ten Filipinos voted him the most trusted official in Government (The two who did not were Erap, his ’10 running mate, and Nestor Mercado, his former Vice-Mayor, who unsuccessfully ran for Makati Mayor against Jun-Jun Binay).
A year ago I wrote an essay (An Unlikely Couple) which I partly republish because of its relevance:
“What to say of our new VP?
If you ask Erap and Makati Vice-Mayor Mercado, they would say loyalty is not his strong suit. He is a survivor. In a sinking ship, he would not be your go-to guy.
What he has are toughness, cleverness and great political instincts.
Financially and now politically a man of independent means, Binay confirms the adage that in politics there are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests. And right now his permanent interest, his Holy Grail, is the Presidency of the Philippines.
So we have this unlikely couple (Noy and Jojo) in high office. Whether or how they will romance is to engross us for the next six years. Will they hold hands, kiss, quarrel, if so when? How will Jojo handle himself?
Here is a scenario: Our VP, thinking aloud:
– Wow, here I am, the Vice-President of the Philippines. The kids are taking care of business in Makati. I am healthy. Life is good.
Now for the Presidency. This is the plan.
Step one, accept the reality. Noy is the anointed one, has the halo but more important holds the scepter so I don’t want to upset him nor, more critically, his sisters, Noy’s Angels: I’ll come when he whistles, bow when told, be on my best behavior. I’ll tell them Cory’s picture is prominent on my altar.
I will watch my mouth. My comment about Noy sleeping soundly was silly. It shows the thought came to my mind, if only Noy could take a prolonged siesta. I need to be more circumspect.
I must understand that people are watching me. I have a reputation, they are asking how, on my mayor’s salary, I was able to fund my campaign and that of my two children and still afford that fancy watch I wore in the proclamation. They don’t appreciate that bakeries, construction, real estate and flower shops are terrific businesses.
So I need to cool it. And wait.
Wait because Noy and his choirboys are bound to stumble. They are on a fast track and when you are speeding you are likely to crash. The only question is how often and how hard. When that happens I will be there.
I will be there to tell the nation that Noy’s A-team (and by association Noy himself) is clueless. They are great talkers but not great doers. Then I will compare it to what I will have done.
For while Noy & Co. are busy doing their thing and ignoring me, I will not sulk, I will be at work. Using the power of my office, my connections in local government, maybe some of my money, certainly some of the Government’s, I will go out and build a movement focusing on the youth and the underprivileged. Like the Boy Scouts but only broader and better. My programs in Makati I will replicate nationwide.
In India the Gandhis have a youth movement of 23 million members. If I can mobilize here a tenth of that, about 2 million members plus their families, I can win the Presidency in ’16 without Noy’s endorsement. I will be my own man.
Some things could derail my plan. One, I need the NGO’s to help with my initiative but they don’t trust me. Two, Noy may, God forbid, actually succeed in turning this country around. I won’t look so good then. Anybody he endorses in ’16 will be a shoo-in and that may not be me.
Three, I become impatient, overreach, somehow turn off Noy and his Angels, get presented by the BIR with a dossier. That would be inopportune.
I guess I could also kiss ass for 6 years and hope that works. With Noy’s smoking, I may not even have to wait that long.
Let us see what happens. In the meantime if Noy would just give me Interior which I really, really want I could jump-start my plans. He seems wary. Is he on to me? – “
With a year past, judge for yourselves whether Jojo has followed the script and how well he has done with it.