His son Junjun and wife Elenita – both similarly accused of plunder, graft, and corruption – may end up with a similar fate
Immediately following his election as vice president on May 10, 2010, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay – who was born Jesus Jose Cabauatan Binay – was a sure bet to be the sixteenth president of the Philippines six year later, in 2016. Binay announced his bid for the presidency – and started organizing and actively campaigning for the post – just days after being sworn in as vice president on June 30, 2010. At the time – and for quite a while – Jojo Binay was the man to beat for president in 2016.
But the almost six years of wait took its toll on Jojo Binay’s destiny: in the May 9, 2016 election, he garnered just a little over 5 million of the more than 43 million votes cast for president. His poor showing resulted from Jojo Binay’s utter lack of regard for reality.
Jojo Binay started his political career in early 1970 when he ran several times for a seat on the Makati city council, losing each time. In 1986, then-president Cory Aquino named him acting mayor of the city. Binay served as acting mayor until 1988 after which he was elected and reelected to serve until June 30, 1998. Due to term limits, his wife Elenita ran for the office and served from 1998 through 2001, when Jojo Binay returned to the post and served as mayor until June 30, 2010. Jojo Binay was elected vice president in 2010, and his son Junjun succeeded him as Makati mayor.
When he first sat in the Makati mayor’s office, Jojo Binay had very meager assets. The Binays (Jojo, his wife Elenita, and son Junjun) were able to build up tremendous wealth in both real estate and cash while serving as city mayor. Even before becoming the country’s vice president – while he was city mayor – Jojo Binay was hounded by charges filed against him with the Ombudsman for plunder, graft, and corruption – as were his wife and son. Jojo Binay routinely dismissed all charges as part of what he claimed was a “political demolition job” aimed at stalling his quest for higher office. He continued to disregard charges filed against him while serving as vice president. In addition, Jojo Binay ignored summons after summons for him to appear before a Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigation of the same accusations.
During the presidential campaign, Jojo Binay promised a better life for Filipinos once elected. He told of his life as a poor orphaned boy growing up even poorer, and making his riches through hard work. What people could not understand is how a person whose only occupation in life is to engage in politics could get extremely wealthy through “hard work.”
Left unanswered and un-refuted, the accusations against the Binays began to gain credence. Supporter after supporter started abandoning Jojo Binay’s presidential campaign, and leagues of campaign workers began jumping off his floundering campaign ship.
His campaign slogan “Life will get better with Jojo Binay!” suddenly lacked meaning to voters. His not-so-affable stature contributed to his shortcoming. People just could not believe that this short, dark, unassuming person was capable of giving them a better life, what with all the legal problems he was running up against. Jojo Binay tried to portray a better image of his self, but failed miserably.
When he steps down from the vice presidency at the end of June this year, Jojo Binay will have to face reality: multiple charges for plunder, graft, and corruption will be filed against him at the Sandiganbayan by the country’s Ombudsman. Plunder – under Philippine law – is a nonbailable offense.
Asked about his fate when those charges are submitted to the Sandiganbayan, Jojo Binay was quoted as telling newsmen: “I’m a practicing lawyer. A lawyer knows when he will win and when he will lose a case.” Any sane person – lawyer or otherwise – will tell you that Jojo Binay needs to get off his high horse and be real.