Friday, November 14, 2008

Binay and the Presidency

Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Jojo” Binay just announced his intent to run for president in the 2010 national elections. The question is, does he have the goods to be the next president of the country?
My two main criteria for choosing the president (or any elective official, for that matter) are integrity and competency. Having integrity, the most important trait for a public official, is the quickest way to gain the trust and confidence of the people. With the people's trust, a president will have an easier time in leading the country forward. Take away integrity and we'll have another Gloria rule. Competency is important as well. Would you trust an albularyo to perform your open heart surgery? In the same way, would you trust someone to be the president if he doesn't know what he's doing?
With regard to competency, Jejomar Binay has proven himself, in my opinion. It is not an accident that Makati is still the premier city in Metro Manila, if not the Philippines. Sure, you can argue that cosmopolitan Makati will still be Makati without Binay. I say that Makati can easily become the next old Manila (with the urban blight and all) if it's not run well. Keeping Makati as it is requires careful planning and development. That can be attributed to Binay.
Observe how traffic rules are strictly followed; how MAPSA, Makati's traffic enforcers, are respected (at least more respected than the MMDA); how ordinances are implemented (e.g. on smoking); how trash is regularly collected; how tanod men are roving the streets at night. For Makati residents, they have green cards, in which they can avail of discounts in establishments (even in hospitals); better infrastructure; well-run public schools; school supplies for students; great benefits for senior citizens (free movie passes, among others, I think). In short, Binay has turned Makati into a well-oiled machine. That is a mark of a good administrator.
In sum, his qualifications are formidable as opposed to the other presidentiables, whose qualifications are more apparent than real (some are going to run armed only with weak track records, even weaker soundbites and lots of money to pay for PR).
However, Binay's integrity is suspect. There are whispers of graft and corruption in Makati (as to the veracity of such, I cannot say). Also, Binay's close association with the Erap camp turns off some who want the Philippines to have a fresh start (comparisons to Obama are laughable). Having said that, Binay's loyalty to Erap can be turned into a positive amidst rampant turncoatism in political circles. His loyalty - in a time when many of his brethren have changed allegiances as quickly as they change their underpants - may be a redeeming quality for voters.
All in all, he can make a good presidentt. I, for one, have not yet placed him in my Do Not Vote list.
As to the question of whether he can win, or if he will even get the support needed to run (as per Emmanuel Pasyon), that is an altogether different matter.

Photo: barrera_marquez2003, Flickr, Creative Commons

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