Cayetano and Binay’s looming presidential rivalry

 

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano

This early one can see Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Vice President Jejomar Binay earnestly positioning themselves as presidential candidates in 2016.

Unless some serious personal faux pas happens between now and 2016 that will put anyone of them at a disadvantage, it looks like the bone of contention in their rivalry will be the outrageous P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Binay may look untainted in the government anomaly that has rocked this nation to its core, but his close association, however, with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, the son of his party-mate and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) co-founder, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, seems to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Filipinos.

It is bad enough that Binay has been silent about the involvement of the younger Estrada and another UNA ally, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, in the PDAF scam, but it is even worse that he has not mince words in his desire to make Jinggoy his running mate.

This is what Cayetano was referring to when he said that if Binay is elected, the investigation on the PDAF scam could be undermined, and the alleged perpetrators may go unpunished.

Note that Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are now being charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan and are awaiting arrest.

There is a big possibility that this case will drag on even beyond 2016, and even if Estrada will find himself behind bars, Binay will be crying and pleading for sympathy votes. I hope the Filipino electorate is mature enough to consider this act as nothing but a political ploy.

In fact, Binay has already been preempting the public that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has subjected Enrile and Estrada to a public trial.

And yet Binay has been announcing that everyone implicated in the pork barrel scam must be investigated and those found guilty must be punished.

“I’ll rather be emphatic in saying, whoever they may be—allies, relatives or foes—if the result of the investigation calls for their prosecution then they should be prosecuted,” Binay said.

This is a political gambit to shore up his image, but if he wins in 2016, God forbids, am sure he will be singing a different tune.

As for Cayetano, his name has been included in the additional list of senators who have received kickback from Janet Lim-Napoles for the deceitful use of his PDAF.

This allegation has made him furious, calling it a smear campaign in his presidential bid. He wants to clear his name that he wants Napoles invited to the Senate to tell him where they have met before and in what circumstances.

Needless to say that Cayetano is denying involvement in the scam, but who hasn’t?

Looking at both of them and their behavior, including the deportment of their respective families, I would say Binay carries a lot more of political baggage than Cayetano.

At this stage Cayetano has the advantage over Binay and even among those who have floated trial balloons and seen as potential presidential candidates, like Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero, Manny Villar, etc.

But then again it is too early to tell. Anything could happen.

 

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