Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Binay’s SONA: Inept and Insensitive?

Jejomar Binay is Vice President of the Philippines. He won in 2010 because a group called NoyBi or Noynoy-Binay carried him. As Vice President he was given a couple of Cabinet positions and the luxurious Coconut Palace as his office.

He attended Cabinet meetings regularly and I assume that being a lawyer and receiving compensation for his jobs, he must have reported or participated in discussions. He did this for about 5 years interrupted only by the mid-term elections when, together with former President Erap Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, they formed an alliance with the main objective of getting their children elected to the Senate. Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito won but Jack Enrile lost. Greg Honasan, an Enrile protégé, obtained the last Senatorial spot instead.

When Binay cut his ties with PNoy, he started attacking the latter as being “palpak” (inept) and  “manhid” (insensitive). He tried to prove it by delivering his own Contra-SONA without realizing that, in content and style, he and his team actually displayed their own ineptness and insensitivity.

First, he was expected to contradict the facts and figures presented by PNoy’s SONA. He could not. Argumentum contra factum non valet ilatio (Arguing against facts is an invalid inference).

Second, he was expected to give the Filipino people his version of the State of the Nation backed by incontrovertible facts and figures sourced from reliable and competent authorities. He did not.

Third, as Vice President he is only a breath away from the Presidency. He was Chairman of the HUDCC, the highest policy-making body for housing and was tasked to coordinate the activities of the government housing agencies and to make certain that the National Shelter Program is accomplished. He also sat as Chairman of the Board of Key Shelter Agencies to supervise the operations of the Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or more popularly known as Pag-ibig Fund, the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) and its subsidiary, the Social Housing Finance Corpration (SHFC).

It would have been nice to hear from him a brief report on what he did for 5 years, the problems he encountered, and his recommendations for the future. Did he? NO.

Fourth, he was also a Presidential Advisor on OFW concerns. In fact, he scheduled trips abroad for the purpose of fulfilling this task. A report on the concerns would have been appropriate in his SONA. Did he give one? He did not!

Fifth, as a potential president, his SONA was expected to be inspirational and motivational. He was supposed to give much hope to the Filipino people as he accentuated the positive. True to form and displaying heights of insensitivity, he decided to be the “naysaying doom and gloom” leader focusing on places and cases that brought death and misery to a substantial number of people.

He cited four places: the Luneta; Yolanda; Zamboanga; and Mamasapano. 

a) The tragedy in Luneta happened 5 years ago when PNoy just took over as President. It resulted in the death of 8 Hong Kong tourists and injuries to several more.  Diplomatic means eventually resolved the row between the Hong Kong Government and the Philippines. The demands of the victims’ families were satisfied and diplomatic relations normalized.

A similar hostage crisis recently occurred in Juban, Sorsogon where Gallego Prayle, an Army man with an automatic M-16 rifle seized the Penafrancia bus carrying 55 passengers, its driver, and conductor. A crisis management committee was immediately created to resolve the situation. After a four-hour tense negotiation, Prayle surrendered.

Did Binay mention this in his SONA? VP Binay only wants the people to know when hostages are killed.

b) Yolanda was an “Act of God”. It was an event beyond human control. It was a natural disaster that devastated not just Tacloban, Leyte but many places in the Visayas as well. Amidst the disastrous effects on mankind, we correspondingly witnessed a great display of kindness by men, women, governments, and institutions. This display of great charity generated billions of dollars worth in cash, goods, and services most of which passed through private institutions like the Red Cross and others through a trusted and honest government.

Billions of government funds had been allocated for the reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation of the devastated areas. It is not finished. A lot more are in the pipeline.  Surveys show that Yolanda victims are very satisfied with PNoy’s performance. Yet true to form, VP Binay chose to accentuate the negative and completely disregarded the tireless efforts of people in the recovery plan.

c) What happened in Zamboanga is a continuation of a fight that has been going on for at least 4 decades. Government efforts drove the perpetrators away forcing them to go into hiding.  Reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation programs are currently implemented and should continue as the government pursues a more comprehensive and long-term peace agreement with the rebels.

VP Binay again chose the negative line. He cited incidence of rape and young women forced into prostitution in the evacuation centers. He is a lawyer and even touted as a human rights lawyer at that. It should not have been hard for him and his team to gather evidence and prosecute. Did he mention any solution in his SONA? NO!

d) The Mamasapano incident is still under criminal investigation as well as Senate probing. But VP Binay without regard to the feelings of the victims’ families chose to use it for political gains. The victims’ families have recently urged him to stop using the case for his political agenda.

The SAF 44 have been honored in many ways and the people are very appreciative of their supreme sacrifice. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno ordered flags to fly at half-mast in courthouses across the country as the judiciary mourned the massacre of elite police forces in Mindanao.

PNoy issued a Presidential Proclamation honoring the new heroes and scheduled a National Day of Mourning. He spent about 10 hours condoling with the surviving families. Everybody was unanimous in declaring the Fallen 44 as heroes - they “did not die in vain”.  Medals of Bravery were awarded to them.

“The package of benefits for families of slain Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers includes: lifetime pension, gratuity equivalent to one year salary, additional pension for the next five years, Pag-Ibig Fund death benefits, insurance benefits, and commutation of leaves,”


The BBL is a proposed legislation that seeks to solve decades-old conflict involving our Muslim brothers. Of course, it has to be constitutional. So, if VP Binay has some proposed amendments to make certain that provisions are constitutional, then get Congressman Tiangko or his own daughter Abi to propose them.


VP Binay is now saying that he is opposed to the DAP or Disbursement Acceleration Program.  He claims, “Malinaw na ang DAP ang pinakamatingkad na halimbawa ng pagwawaldas sa pondo ng bayan sa ating kasaysayan. Ito rin ay isang lantarang paglabag at pagsuway sa ating Saligang Batas.” (It is clear that DAP is the greatest example of plundering government funds in history. It is obviously violative of the Constitution.)

Yet records show that two of the Key Shelter Agencies under his Chairmanship received P11.455B in DAP funds. His Alma Mater, University of the Philippines received P1.29B also in DAP funds. Is he saying plunder was committed? 

A re-read of the Supreme Court decision clearly reiterated the doctrine of operative fact, which presumes good faith in all acts and decisions made in relation to DAP. While it declared that certain acts are unconstitutional, it did not declare anybody guilty. In fact, if the said unconstitutional acts are avoided or corrected, DAP if needed, can be revived.

Most importantly, VP Binay has been accused of plunder and several corruption charges. His SONA would have been a good opportunity to counter the charges, inform the people and explain his side.  He did not.

His failure to do what was expected of him and his insistence in accentuating the negative, his allegations of “ineptness” and “insensitivity” backfired. His SONA proved it! 


  1. Sir, may I reprint this on my column, Baguio Heritage Foundation, Inc. on Baguio Midland Courier. This should be made available to those who do not have computers. Baguio Midland Courier is very popular in Baguio and has been in existence for years. Thank you.

    1. Hi Monin, please feel free to reprint it! Nasayaat met nga mabasa daytoy blog ko dagiti taga Baguio. Thanks to you and best regards.

    2. Salamat, apo! i share kunto kenka diay link to Midland tapno makitam met. Dios ti agnina!

    3. Mam,permission to re-post po ha...Thanks and Godbless

  2. Great! I am looking forward to it! Salamat!


    2. Thanks Monin! Let us keep informing readers in the region so they could be more discerning as Pope Francis prayed for!

  3. Hi Ben. Thanks for the most incisive analysis of Binay's so-called SONA that I've come across so far. BTW, it may surprise you to know that we were once together at CSM/YCSP. I was then a UST student with Art Valdez & Efren Moncupa as schoolmates.

    1. Hi Mar. Thanks! Nice to know about your involvement with us at CSM/YCSP. The last time I saw Art was when he came to Washington, D.C. promoting his team of mountain climbers. In the case of Efren, I saw him in Manila as a practicing human rights lawyer. I am sure he was helpful in preparing documents for claimants/victims of Martial Law.

      How about you? What is your last name and what are you doing now?

      Best regards,