NILES, Illinois (JGL) – Despite the entry of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte into the crowded Philippine presidential race for next year’s elections, a big supporter of Vice President Jejomar Binay believes Senator Grace Poe is still the bigger threat to Binay’s presidential candidacy than Duterte.
Attorney Luis A. Paredes, president of Alpha Phi Omega International, Phil., Inc., told this reporter in an interview at Brick House Tavern at Chicago’s suburb of Niles, Illinois Nov. 25 that “Right now the biggest threat to Mr. Binay is Senator Grace Poe, despite the entry of Mayor Duterte. With the entry of Duterte, Mr. Binay will get less votes in Mindanao.
“But we should also remember that Mindanao is composed of people coming from different regions. So, there are lots of Ilocanos (like Binay) there also, who will tell someone to vote for someone (coming) from the (Ilocos) region. Although Mindanao votes will be divided, the number of votes that he (Binay) should have gotten if Duterte did not come in as a candidate would not be sufficient to bring about his (Binay’s) loss.”
In the same interview while Paredes was convening several officers and members of various local APO groups, he, however, conceded that it is the machinery of the Liberal Party of President Aquino, which could derail Binay’s quest for the presidency.
Paredes, 57, a UP College of Law alumnus, and currently on leave as Commissioner of Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) appointed by President Aquino, said, “The Senate Blue ribbon subcommittee (investigation) has greatly affected his (Binay’s) campaign in two ways. first, the subcommittee maligned his name and lowered his numbers in terms of acceptance; And, second the contributors to the (Binay) campaign shied away because of the attacks against him.
“And the second challenge to the Binay campaign is the formidable war chest of the Liberal Party. As you know the Liberal Party or some of its members or leaders are involved in some anomalous transactions where they were able to build up handsome war chest. And this will, of course, have an impact on the capacity of LP to bring the voters to the precincts.” Paredes was referring to the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) and PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scandals.
“PERCEPTION CREATED THAT VP BINAY IS CORRUPT”
When asked about the impact of suspension and dismissal of Junjun Binay as Makati mayor on the candidacy of Vice President Binay, Paredes said, “As I said, it has already affected the VP Binay campaign. There is now a perception that because of the suspension and dismissal of Junjun Binay there is already a perception he (the father) is already corrupt (although) it (the perception) doesn’t have to be true. Because when elections come around, it is a battle of perception. If you are already perceived to be corrupt, then you are already corrupt. Which definitely affects him. Secondly, in terms of contributors, the funding would not come in (terms of) donations from individuals (anymore).”
Paredes said the confluence of the Ombudsman into the case of Junjun Binay made matters “more sinister.” “Although, it is legally incorrect if the Ombudsman were able to get a warrant of arrest for (VP Binay in the corruption case pending before Ombudsman), then, VP Binay would then be arrested and jailed.
“As I said this is not legal but we have already seen that the Liberal Party will tend to do something only for the purpose of creating the impression rather than go into to legalities of it.
“For example, the case of (Mayor) Junjun Binay, they preventively suspended him which was ultimately ruled as illegal by the Supreme Court. But in the interim it has created a scenario that he (Junjun) is evil. And because of the delay in the resolution of the case, they were able to cure the (il)legality by actually coming out with a decision disqualifying him and dismissing him as mayor.
“LP NO QUALMS ABOUT DOING ILLEGAL”
“So, the Liberal Party has no qualms about doing the illegal for as long as they achieve their short-term objective. That is the fear of those people right now is that although it is not legal to file a case against the Vice President that under our Constitution he has immunity from suit while holding his office, still they (LP) might force it so that he (VP Binay) can be in jail and might affect his ability to campaign during that period. It might be legal but, of course, if they want to attain their short-term objective, they will go for it.”
So, if VP Binay were jailed, he said, Mr. Binay will still campaign from prison, just like Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who launched his campaign from prison and still won as senator. Trillanes was charged with trying to overthrow the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government in 2007.
“We believe VP Binay can only be disqualified from running if he is found guilty.
So even if a case is filed against him legally, then he is not disqualified for running. For example in the case of Trillanes, when he ran for senator, he was in jail for charges I think of sedition, although he was jailed and he was not found guilty, therefore, he was allowed to run. What is affected only is his personal capacity to campaign.”
Paredes believes the chances of Binay of winning the presidential race is “better than good. Because in the past five years, he (Binay) has been able to connect to the grassroots. He was able to present his programs directly to the people. He may not have as much media mileage as the opposition; nevertheless, he was able to touch base with the people. So, when he goes to the provinces, he is always mobbed by the people to see him not because they can get something from him — P50 or even lunch (money). No, they don’t get anything from VP Binay but (only) pictures taken with him.”
He said the formula that will make Binay win the presidency is “the fact that he identifies with the people. He knows the sentiments of the poor because he came from that sector. He has very good programs in Makati (when he was its mayor for a long time) and he wants to replicate this nationwide with certain programs that he thinks are feasible. There are those who are saying that Makati is just a small place to do all his programs. But he has always been saying, the Philippines is a rich country and it’s just a matter of proper management of resources that he can replicate what he has done in Makati.”
According to its website, Alpha Phi Omega is a national coeducational service organization founded on the principles of Leadership, Friendship and Service. It provides its members the opportunity to develop leadership skills as they volunteer on their campus, in their community, to the nation, and to the organization. With more than 400,000 members on over 375 campuses, Alpha Phi Omega continues to provide more service on more campuses than any other collegiate service organization.
Alpha Phi Omega extended the hand of service beyond the United States through the separate entity of Alpha Phi Omega – Philippines. APO-Phil is a self-governing organization based on the same Scouting principles of APO-USA. The two organizations formally discuss issues of mutual interest through the International Council of Alpha Phi Omega.
The Alpha Phi Omega Midwest has three groups: 39 Charter; Apo Midwest; and Apo Care and Share Illinois.
Members of Alpha Phi Omega have been helping in the election of Vice President Binary since he ran for Makati mayor and for vice president. Binay is an APO member.