I was at UP Los Baños on Tuesday and I want to set the record straight about reports that Vice President Jejomar Binay was booed during his appearance.
Yes, there were some students outside the lecture room who gave the VP the thumbs down when he entered the venue.
Yes, the students asked tough questions about political dynasties, human rights and political ads.
But while the response of the students indicated that they were not in accord with the VP’s answers, it was hardly what one would call “jeering.”
I too disagree with the VP on the issue of political dynasties. His belief though is that in a democracy, the electorate should be given a choice. The problem, he said, is bad governance and not dynasties. To me, the matter appears moot since much as we want an anti-dynasty law, the fact is that an overwhelming number of legislators are from political dynasties. This makes the matter of legislating against dynasties a political impossibility.
I might run for Congress precisely to improve the odds of passing one. For now, with the Aquino dynasty entrenched in power, it would be an impossible task. Note though that despite his views on the matter, the VP conceded that he has no choice but to follow the law if one against dynasties is in fact passed.
The VP easily answered the matter of the killing of Lumad and others. He simply repeated a fact: that is, of all the presidential hopefuls, it was only he who is a recognized human rights defender being the founder of the lawyers group MABINI.
The students though attempted to pin him down on what he has done to promote human rights as part of this administration. Binay replied with a constitutional reality: as VP elected from the opposition party, he was not technically part of the administration. The truth too, according to him, is that while he was given the housing portfolio, he could not address violations of political and civil rights under this portfolio. Besides, he opined that the only function of the Vice President is really that of spare tire. This appears to be the harsh reality of constitutional powers.
Anent corruption, again, given his limited constitutional powers, all that he could do was to ensure that the housing agencies under him: NHA, Pag-Ibig, and the HUDCC—were not hubs of corruption. With the likes of lawyer Darlene Berberabe in these offices, not one of the students could question the VP’s submission.
Perhaps the best that happened at UPLB was that contrary to Malacañang trolls’ predictions that the VP would be a no-show, he did go. Moreover, the trolls predicted he would not answer questions; he did so from 2:30 to 6 p.m., an hour longer than the organizers reserved the theater for.
This proves what the VP has been saying all along: that he would answer the proper questions in the proper forum. In this instance, it was before the Iskolar ng Bayan in the UP system and not in the venomous premises of the Senate where our Senatongs lord it over.
I did notice though that the Maoist Reaffirmists (RAs) among the student body appeared to prefer Grace Poe to Binay. This, I cannot understand. It seems to me that the barest minimum of all qualifications for the post of president is loyalty and patriotism to this country. How can our leftist young people support one who had previously renounced her Filipino citizenship and took an oath of allegiance to colonial America? I am reminded of Aguinaldo, Paterno and Buencamino who during the Philippine-American war were only too eager to be assimilated into America’s bosom.
What has happened to our young revolutionaries? How can they go for America’s anointed one under any circumstance?
I do not know who ultimately will be chosen by our people to lead in 2016. In my book, Poe is the least deserving because she took an oath that she “will absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to the Philippines” and has opted instead to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Worse, she swore even “to bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law” and that she undertook this obligation “freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion”.
At the very least, if she professes loyalty anew to this country, she certainly can no longer be trusted.
So to the student revolutionaries of UPLB: how can you?
This post first appeared at http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/09/17/binay-at-uplb/