Now that the clamor for P Noy to resign because of the Mamasapano fiasco has found steam, the question asked by many is: who should succeed him? Unfortunately, while the Constitution is very clear that he should be succeeded by Vice-President Jejomar Binay, many muddle the issue by insisting on the unconstitutional option that a council of sorts should succeed.
I add my voice to the many that have warned against an unconstitutional succession. The people, and that includes me, voted for Noy-Bi in the last elections cognizant that should P Noy be unable to serve his full term of office for any reason, then he should be succeeded by VP Binay. While I do not pretend to speak for the millions that installed this Noy-Bi leadership, it was certainly my intention that should the son of democracy scion be unable to discharge the functions of his office- and his incompetence in dealing with the Mamasapano incident and its aftermath have made this very clear- then Binay should succeed. Other than that his succession is etched in the Constitution, why should Binay succeed?
Well, the people, by electing him into the Vice-Presidency, said so. And they said so for many reason. To me, it was because of his proven managerial experience in running Makati for almost three decades and his dedication to the cause of human rights, which he proved as a Mabini lawyer during the dark days of martial law. Sure, there have been talk of corruption against him, including the many things that his former vice mayor has said against him. But the cynical truth is that in this country, corruption has become systemic. This is why despite the fact that his accusers have devoted record legislative hours in their witch hunt against him, people have taken the attacks against VP Binay in stride coming, as they were, from polluted sources themselves. The reality is outside of Ping Lacson who refused to accept his pork barrel (and possibly Joker Arroyo, as well), any senator who received his pork barrel and his DAP are not just presumptively but proven to be corrupt by two Supreme Court decisions invalidating both the PDAF and the DAP as being contrary to the Constitution and as forms of misappropriation of public funds.
Clearly, the botched witch hunt against VP Binay is proof of what our rules of evidence already provides: that evidence to be believed, must not only be believable but must come from believable sources as well. Certainly, talk of corruption from those with proven unclean hands cannot bring a good man down.
But outside of managerial experience and dedication to the protection and promotion of human rights, VP Binay’s profession as a lawyer now comes in handy. Again, while the Constitution does not prescribe any minimum qualification for the Presidency other than being a natural born Filipino, we now know, particularly from the failed PNoy administration, that a President, as chief enforcer of the law, must know the law. Here I cannot help but wonder if a lawyer would have made the same mistake as implementing the DAP or asking a suspended PNP Chief to implement a police operation against a high value target. A lawyer is trained to follow the law. This is why Butch Abad would have the stigma hence of having breached the constitutional separation of powers when as a lawyer, he should have known what the power of the purse meant.
This is why the Ombudsman has said that former PNP Chief Alan Purisima may have usurped authority when he participated in a police action at a time when he was suspended from office. A President who is a lawyer would not have made such basic mistakes. But PNoy, a non-lawyer, did; this despite his battery of lawyers including the Secretary of Justice, the Presidential Legal Counsel and the Solicitor General. Binay, by contrast, as a lawyer should know better.
But perhaps, the best reason for VP Binay to take over now is because he has become a seasoned and astute politician. Again the curse in having what Joker Arroyo described as a “student council” leadership is the lack of savvy to unite conflicting interests towards a common direction beneficial to the country. I myself have never been a politician and cannot see myself working with the likes of those in the close circle of P Noy. But Binay can and he can do so while working at the same time with the Erap camp, FVR’s camp, GMA’s camp and even the far left. Perhaps, it is this quality that we now need the most in a leader. One who like Mao, can make “a thousand flowers bloom” and harness them to a common direction: a strong, prosperous, respected Philippines in the 21st century, rather than a pathetic third world country with lackluster and mediocre political leadership, prone to mendicancy.
Yes, I confess: I can’t wait for 2016 to see Binay as president. Lets make him president now.