Posts Tagged ‘Jejomar Binay’

Presidentiable Jojo Binay

August 5, 2009

Dubbing himself as the Filipino Obama, can Jejomar “Boy Negro” Binay actually bump up to presidential status and replicate his Makati stint on national level?

A product of the Philippine public school system, Jejomar “Jojo” C. Binay had a rags to riches story on becoming the mayor of the City of Makati in the Philippines and the president of the United Opposition (UNO), National President of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) and National President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Binay was born in Paco, Manila but grew up in Makati with his uncle, Ponciano, after Binay’s parents passed away.

At a young age, Binay learned to rely on his resourcefulness and determination. He went around his neighborhood to gather slop for his uncle’s backyard piggery, looked after his uncle’s fighting cocks, and went to market daily and took on odd jobs to support his studies.

Studying at the Philippine Normal College Training Department, University of the Philippines Preparatory High School and despite financial constraints, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Bachelor of Laws from UP (LIB). In 1960, he joined Alpha Phi Omega International Service Fraternity in the University of the Philippines (Eta Chapter).

He passed the bar exams in 1968, and took masteral subjects in public administration and law in UP and the University of Sto. Tomas, respectively.

In between jobs and earning degrees, Binay gave lectures and taught law, political science and public administration at the then Philippine College of Commerce (now, Polytechnic University of the Philippines), Philippine Women’s University and St. Scholastica’s College.

While raising a family, Binay gave free legal assistance to poor clients and victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime. His passion for the protection of human rights developed during his student days in UP, where he was a member of the student council and was among the acknowledged firebrands of the burgeoning student movement.

From the University of the Philippines campus, Binay graduated to the parliament of the streets. He joined the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and the August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM), formed shortly after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in August 1983. He also helped found the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), a group of progressive lawyers that include the late Senator Lorenzo Tañada, Sen. Wigberto Tañada, former Sen. Rene Saguisag and Sen. Joker Arroyo.

For helping political prisoners, many MABINI lawyers, including Binay, were locked up in local jails and military stockades.

Post EDSA Revolution

After the EDSA Revolution, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Binay acting mayor of Makati. Binay was Aquino’s first appointed local official.

Binay was later elected mayor of Makati in 1988, during the first free elections under the Aquino administration, and was reelected in 1992 and 1995.

He was also appointed Governor of Metro Manila in 1987 in concurrent capacity and was later elected by his peers in Metro Manila as Chairman of the Metro Manila Authority.

Also during Corazon Aquino’s presidency, Binay found himself in the thick of action, this time in defense of the newly-restored democracy, during several failed military mutinies.

Binay joined pro-democracy forces in thwarting the mutinies. His active role in the defense of the Constitution earned him the nickname “Rambotito” (or little Rambo, after the screen hero), the Outstanding Achievement Medal and a special commendation from President Aquino herself.

The Presidency

Binay (”Binay Na!”), the Philippines’ “Jo-bama” and the president of the United Opposition, is a Presidential candidate in the Philippine general election, 2010, who announced his bid at Makati City Hall in his 66th birthday on November 11, 2008. Amid 2,000 Makati and Zamboanga City supporters carrying streamers “Obama of the Philippines” and “Jojo Binay for President,” Binay released yellow and blue balloons with the print “Makati ngayon, Pilipinas bukas [Today Makati, tomorrow, the Philippines].” He will run under the banner of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban). 40 Zamboanga City civic and private organizations signed a manifesto to urge Binay to run for president. Meanwhile, Joseph Estrada stated: “Si Mayor Binay din naman ay may kapasidad, may abilidad. Napakita ni Mayor Binay yung kanyang kakayahan bilang chief executive ng premier city ng Pilipinas (Mayor Binay has the capacity and the ability. He has shown this as the chief executive of the country’s premier city).”


In October 2006, the Office of the President through the Department of Interior and Local Government issued a suspension order against Binay, his vice mayor and all members of the City Council following an accusation of ‘ghost employees’ allegedly on the city payroll by former city councilor Roberto Brillante, a political rival.  The order suspending Binay and all elected city officials was signed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita upon instruction of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It was claimed this action was part of a government-sponsored drive to root out corruption ahead of the following year’s local elections but critics claimed it was designed to distract attention from the government’s own scandals around vote-rigging in the 2004 presidential election and to neuter opposition-held localities. Binay was the campaign manager of the opposition presidential candidate, actor Fernando Poe Jr. and had led protest actions in Makati following revelations of widespread poll cheating.

Makati residents, the political opposition and civil society groups stood by Binay, who barricaded himself inside the Makati City Hall. Among those who expressed their support were former President Aquino, actress Susan Roces – who is the widow of Arroyo’s rival in the 2004 presidential elections, Fernando Poe Jr. – and several Catholic bishops. After a three-day stand-off, the Court of Appeals stopped the Palace from unseating Binay. The appellate court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO). Before it lapsed, the court issued an injunction order, thereby preventing the Office of the President from enforcing its suspension order until the case is resolved.

After his legal victory over Malacanang, Binay was again upheld by the courts in a graft case filed by the Ombudsman over allegations of overpricing in the purchase of office furniture. The case was also filed by Brillante, who at that time was leading in Makati a Palace-supported signature campaign to amend the Constitution.

In a five page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Third Division dismissed the graft case filed against Binay and his six co-accused for lack of factual basis.

The court ruled that there was no probable cause to prosecute Binay, and that the criminal information “was devoid of any particulars as to how the figure was arrived at” and thus fatally defective. The resolution was written by Associate Justice Godofredo Legaspi and concurred in by Associate Justices Efren de la cruz and Norberto Geraldez.

Personal life

Binay is married to Elenita Sombillo, a doctor of medicine. Dr. Elenita S. Binay was elected Mayor of Makati in the 1998 elections, and served until 2001. Their union bore them five children: Maria Lourdes Nancy, Mar-Len Abigail (currently serving as representative of 2nd District of Makati City), Jejomar Erwin (Makati City Councilor), Marita Angeline and Joanna Marie Blanca.