Abby Binay: True brand of leadership

"She has been a topnotch executive."



The word “brand” is not a political concept. It belongs to the worlds of marketing and intellectual property law. But one of the candidates in next year’s contest for the mayorship of Makati City has now made “brand” a political concept.

The candidate is a former mayor of the nation’s financial capital, Jejomar Binay Jr. Young Mr. Binay is running against one of his sisters, incumbent mayor Abigail Binay-Campos. After two terms as a councilor, he succeeded his father  and mother—Jejomar Sr. and Elenita Binay—as Makati’s chief executive until 2013, when the Office of the Ombudsman charged him criminal and administrative offenses related to the bidding for and continuation of Makati city hall’s Parking Building II.

At the time of the promulgation of the Office of the Ombudsman’s resolution, Mayor Abigail—Abby to her numerous admirers—was completing a term as Representative of Makati’s First District. In keeping with Philippine politics’ dynastic culture, Abigail Binay was enlisted to run for mayor in the 2016 election. Her husband, Luis Campos, is the current Representative of the city’s Second District.

Enter the idea of branding. Queried by the media as to why there is a brother-against-sister political situation in his city, Junjun Binay had this to say: “I could not ignore the clamor coming from Makati residents, who said that they miss the Binay brand of leadership.” There are two noteworthy words in the phrase “Binay brand of leadership”: brand and leadership. Let us examine them in turn.

First, leadership. Pressed to expound on his idea of leadership, former Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s only son had this to say: “When our constituents ask us to serve, we cannot say no. When the public needs our help and care, we cannot turn them down.”

Next, the matter of brand. From the above-quoted statements it would appear that Junjun Binay’s idea of a brand of leadership is “(not being able to) say no” and “(not being able to) turn them down.” That’s not the Binay brand of leadership: that’s the Junjun Binay brand of leadership. Young Mr. Binay should not associate the rest of his family in his “brand of leadership.”

Junjun Binay does not—and apparently cannot—comprehend the essence of good leadership. Like this country’s other elected officials, its mayors are not placed in positions of power so as to be all things to all men. Not all of the things that constituents ask for are desirable or socially sound; the mark of a leader, a good leader, is to be able to say no to, and turn down the requests of, those who ask public officials for undesirable and anti-social things.

Without intending to boost her candidacy, I think it bears saying that Mayor Abby Binay has been a top-notch chief executive. After the bad things that have happened to her father and brother, her occupancy of the mayor’s office has been like a breath of fresh air for arguably the nation’s most progressive city. The mayor has been very careful in her actions and has kept her nose clean. Hers has been a no-scandal administration.

Indeed, the very fact that most of the members of the city council and the majority of the barangay captains are said to have declared their support for Junjun Binay—the “clamor coming from Makati residents”?—speaks volumes. Have they abandoned Mayor Abby because they have not been getting from her the goodies that they so easily used to get from her brother? Sure looks like it.

Former Vice President Binay, wishing to appear impartial but pretty obviously favoring Mayor Abby, has declared that it is up to Makati’s citizens to decide who should be the city’s chief executive during the three years that begin on July 1, 2019. He is absolutely right.

The residents of Makati’s 33 barangays should decide for themselves whether Mayor Abby should stay or go. They should ignore the defection of all those opportunistic and self-serving city councilors and barangay captains.

Topics: Rudy Romero , Abigail Binay-Campos , Makati City
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