We are a rich nation, blessed with almost infinite natural resources. Ironically, more than a quarter of our population live below the poverty line. Ever since, poverty has been a thorn in our nation’s flesh. Many remain jobless, uneducated, and illiterate. Many have no food to eat, no shelter to stay at, no clothes to put on. Many resort to crimes, and other easier means to produce money, not solely for themselves but for the people who depend on them.
The bread and butter of our government is its people. Of the 24 days we work in a month, 8 days worth of pay is what we involuntarily give to our government. Tax, the peoples’ money. And it’s what the government uses to build roads and infrastructures, pay for our debts, and fuel all programs and initiatives for national development, among others. And it’s also what give food, clothes, and shelter to most of our politicians, except for those born with dazzling silver spoon.
Jejomar Binay is the 15th vice president of our republic, and is one of recent surveys’ top presidential picks. And it is his promise to reform the existing taxation policies in our country, in hopes to bring inclusive growth in a national scale. He believes that real economic growth is the one that is reflected on the lives of people. He used to be an ally of the incumbent administration but now is the face of the opposition. He is a lawyer, and the father of Makati City. And he is being hounded by large-scale graft and corruption allegations.
Binay was the dark horse in the 2010 vice presidential elections. He used the progress attained by Makati City to exhibit his success in leadership. He presented himself as someone among those who fought for our democratic rights against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. He inspired many by exemplifying a noble thought that poverty is just a phase in one’s life, and that through hard work, anyone could make the unbelievable real. His life story has captured the imagination of the people, and the rest is history.
Corruption, now, is what tests his candidacy. Though the allegations haven’t been proven yet in the courts of law, this truly has affected his pursuit. Many have already judged Binay on various social media platforms, lambasting him and his family. Memes are found everywhere. Not only is he being ridiculed due to the money of the people that was said he stole but also because of his height, colour, and other physical features. Many have flushed down the drain all the good things he may have done over the past two decades or so of his stint in public service.
Despite the clamour for him to answer the allegations, all he did was keep mum. Instead, he focused on discussing his platform of governance through reaching the people, especially those in the grassroots to clearly deliver his message. Binay is a dreamer. He has no early connections. He worked his way up to where he is now. And he will never stop until he becomes elected as president, something he may have prepared for since the time he started dreaming.
Binay is clearly not the smartest among the presidential aspirants. He doesn’t stage big speeches. He lacks eloquence, and the character of a visionary leader who people would look up to. He doesn’t have the charisma that can draw cheers from the people. What he has, though, is a story that people can relate to, and a strong and loyal network down his line. He is pro-poor. And he has a platform of governance which focuses on uplifting the lives of the people, with some promises which seem too good to be true, like a drastic change on our existing tax systems; free books, school supplies, and uniform for all elementary and high school pupils; and a free wifi access in all public places from across the country.
But with everything that was said about him, mediocre is maybe the word that could best describe his leadership, and pretentious for his commitments. Because with the revenue that Makati City has, knowing that it is the country’s central business district, a lot of things could have been done better. Free overpriced birthday cakes are obviously not enough. There are still slum areas within the city, and the lives of the poor still have not gotten better. And as vice president, the second highest government role in the country, he could have done much over the past six years, instead of using his office for politicking, mudslinging, and premature campaigning.
So the question is, would you want a president whose story you could relate to, who has an infamous nognog-to-riches tale, but who is mediocre, and is tainted with moral issues due to alleged stealing of the peoples’ money? Go figure!