VP Binay is right: it’s all politics

Vice President Jejomar Binay is so right when he says that accusations of corruption against him with regards to the Makati City Parking Building are politically motivated.

What else could move such heavy allegations and open extensive Senate investigations if not politics? There is no other motivating force that will embolden any such damaging action on a key political player by other key political players… or wannabes.

The Binay mantra: pulitika lang yan. Photo from GMA News

The Binay mantra: pulitika lang yan. Photo from GMA News

This is the political season, after all, with the presidential elections of 2016 just around the corner.

In fact, as history will show us, the greatest exposes come out during the highly charged election season. In the past presidential elections Manny Villar was embroiled in corruption allegations on his land buying sprees and infrastructure projects to support them. Noynoy Aquino had his sanity in question. Miriam defensor Santiago had an equally nasty issue about her mental stability. Fidel Ramos dealt with issues of a romantic indiscretion. Joseph Estrada had multiple issues of the same nature. Fred Lim had his citizenship in question… you get my point.

Were these true? It really didn’t matter as nobody went to jail for them. All that mattered was that they were smeared for political motives with political ends as the goal.

And this is not only true for elections. This whole country runs on politics.

In the social and economic reform work I’ve been involved with these past few years the mantra was the “political economy.”

Political Economy, in Wikipedia shorthand “most commonly refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics, law, and political science in explaining how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system – capitalist, socialist, or mixed – influence each other.”

In the more practical sense, in our reform work we engaged the political economy by looking into and creating mechanism by which legislators and other politicians would move their asses to pass the right laws and implement the right policies.

For example, in liberalizing aviation access for the good of consumers we basically convinced politicians that having more competition in domestic and international flights will make their constituents happy because they will have more choices of flights to their destination, ticket process will be more competitive and businesses will have better air freight services.

The bottom line: we told them, is that their constituents – their voters – will be made aware that these benefits are due to the politician’s efforts and love them enough to vote for them in the next election.

You can call it a subtle EPAL. Sometimes it got things done.

It was a way to get the right policies in place and the wrong ones thrown out. There is always a what’s-in-it-for-me-? for the movers and shakers of policy, and definitely our work can never take bribery as an avenue so politics was our only leverage.

Joe de Venecia, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, had a more diplomatic approach. Whenever we would bring up certain economic and social policy reforms, he would ask: “What is the win-win solution?”

Politics is so pervasive in our life that even the public taste to anything political has put it up there with the most popular topic in our news cycle: entertainment. More often than not these even intertwine with the main players mixing it up in society pages, showbusiness gossip and even hard news. Chiz and Heart ring a bell? How about Mar and Korina?

Oh c’mon, don’t tell me voters and their ballots don’t ever come into these equations.

When I was with the Philippine Daily Inquirer years ago (don’t ask) I had a a discussion with our Chairman Eggie Apostol about various areas in publishing we could expand to. She was toying with the idea of a tabloid.

I pointed out to her that she may not be comfortable with the idea because the business model of tabloids – at least at that point in history – had a cycle of entering the market by stooping down to the lowest of low, bordering on pornography, to gain a huge chunk of the mass-based market. Only then could we move up to quality news coverage when we’ve built the habit among consumers.

Apostol answered me with that naughty smile: “And what about political pornography?”

Years later, she did it. In the height of the Erap impeachment – and I believe this actually served as the impetus – Apostol’s Pinoy Times heralded the most pornographic political news that ever came out: sex, scandal, unexplained wealth… the works.

Yes, Binay is right. It’s all politics. Now if we could use our passion for politics to put some of these fools behind bars!

 

 

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