”It’s bad enough that we are poor. Don’t insult us further by claiming that you are one of us.”
Thus, Vice President Jejomar Binay drew a stunning rebuke from a former Socio-economic Planning secretary and University of the Philippine economics professor as well as members of the impoverished sector over the weekend for claiming that he’s a destitute and tyrannized by the Aquino administration.
Solita Monsod yesterday laughed off Binay’s penchant for dangling the “poor-boy” card, and for claiming that he’s being persecuted to the fullest by the Aquino administration.
She urged Binay to stop his foolishness, for it has becoming irritating and irrelevant already.
“If the readers will recall, Binay is the first Vice President who was given—at his request, mind you—an official residence: the Coconut Palace. Initial outlay was P50 million, and there were subsequent requests, which were also approved. Is that inaapi?” Monsod said.
When Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died in March 2015, the former chief of the National Economic and Development Authority was one of the first to downplay Binay’s claim that his reign as Makati mayor was inspired by the departed former leader.
“Now that has to be the most tasteless, and shameless, use of an iconic public figure’s death for one’s own political ends, in the hope that the glitter from Mr. Lee’s stature will rub off on him,” Monsod said in her column in a major broadsheet .
“Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore immensely rich, while Makati made Mr. Binay immensely rich. That’s the difference,” she added.
Moreover, Monsod blasted Binay for crying government persecution when the truth was that he was treated nicely by President Aquino. In fact, he was rewarded with a Cabinet post.
The opposition leader, who was accused of profiteering from an over-priced multi-million-peso New Makati City Parking building contract, has been called upon by other critics to refrain from flashing his “poor-boy card,” saying nobody believes in him anymore.
“Kung mahirap siya, ano naman ang tawag sa atin?” a government employee, who requested anonymity, asked sarcastically.
Also, Binay’s story that he got scraps for pigs as a poor boy was in stark contrast to his accusers’ allegations that he and his family amassed hundreds of millions of pesos by milking Makati of taxpayers’ money for over two decades.
“Binay is capitalizing on his mass appeal and orphan-to-VP (vice president) story. He portrays himself as a a populist, pro-poor candidate, up against an elitist government. Pero gasgas na itong mga ganitong drama ngayon,” the source continued.
Meanwhile, the United Nationalist Alliance party last Friday said those wishing to run for president should not come from the ranks of the privileged, as it sought to play up the humble beginnings of its candidate, Binay.
“It is important for a candidate not to be elitist, to be a person who brings effective management and heart for the poor, and someone who does not alienate marginalized sectors,” said UNA president Toby Tiangco.
“We will make sure that progress will not just be for the businessmen and entrepreneurs, but will benefit everyone,” he said in a statement.
But allies of the administration noted that the Binay camp’s latest statement was a swipe at the Liberal Party’s perceived standard bearer - Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas.
Incidentally, while the Binay camp was busy throwing mud, Roxas has been maintaining his cool and buried deep himself instead in performing his tasks as DILG chief.
Observers noted that the camp of the Vice President was forced to come up with the “poor-boy” spin to deflect the public’s attention from serious accusations linking his family and their dummies to graft and corruption.
Up to now, law-enforcement agencies are still hunting down the family’s alleged dummies, Gerry Limlingan at Ebeng Baloloy, who were also implicated for allegedly conniving to skim off government funds.