Serious or not, Abby Binay’s run for Taguig mayor faces rough road
MANILA, Philippines—A decision that is “difficult” to make.
This was stressed by Makati Mayor Abby Binay when asked regarding the possibility of her seeking election in 2025 as mayor of Taguig, where 10 previously Makati barangays have been transferred.
Binay said “it is an option,” but pointed out that “I have yet to decide because it would be a challenging and difficult task,” especially because “I am not familiar with the place.”
Despite this, however, she stressed that should she decide to cross the bridge, she can work for and contribute to Taguig. “Careful consideration is needed,” Binay said on Aug. 23.
Binay has a “chance” of winning, Dr. Maria Ela Atienza, a professor of political science at the University of the Philippines Diliman, told INQUIRER.net, saying that should she win, she can “break the monopoly of the Cayetanos in Taguig.”
Atienza pointed out that Binay seeking election in Taguig is “entirely possible,” explaining that for members of political dynasties, it is “usual to switch political posts because of the limit imposed on their terms.”
Binay, who was elected as mayor of Makati in 2016, is already in her third and last term, and as Atienza said, “the husband, Sen. Nancy [Binay], or even Junjun [Binay] can run for mayor of Makati in 2025.”
The husband of Binay, Luis Campos, is the representative of the second district of Makati, which, because of the Supreme Court (SC) decision that declared Fort Bonifacio and some barangays as part of Taguig, is now left with only three barangays:
- Guadalupe Nuevo
- Guadalupe Viejo
The rest of the 13 barangays of the second district of Makati—Cembo, Comembo, East Rembo, Pembo, Pitogo, Post Proper Northside, Post Proper Southside, Rizal, South Cembo, and West Rembo—are now under Taguig.
According to data from the local government of Makati, the 10 barangays have an estimated 200,000 registered voters, so if Binay would decide to seek election in Taguig, she could bank on the support of the former “Makatizens.”
However, to win, she would need to sway some of the residents of Taguig, too, which, based on 2022 data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), has 449,359 registered voters.
But in her possible bid to win Taguig, having enough votes is not the only thing to consider, with election lawyer Emil Marañon III saying that there are certain qualifications that should be met.
First, ‘goodbye, Makati’
Marañon told INQUIRER.net that should Binay decide to seek Taguig’s highest post, “the most material qualifications [that should be considered], I think, are the ones related to being a registered voter and a resident.”
As stated in the Local Government Code of the Philippines, for someone who has the intention to seek election as mayor of a highly urbanized city, he or she should be:
- a citizen of the Philippines
- 23 years old on election day
- able to read and write Filipino or any other language or dialect
- a registered voter in the city where he or she intends to be elected
- a resident of the city for at least one year
It was pointed out by Marañon that the two latter qualifications would require Binay to resign as mayor of Makati, saying that being a resident and registered voter is a “continuing requirement” for an incumbent mayor.
This, as he said if Binay will have her voter registration transferred from Makati to Taguig without first resigning from her post, she can be liable “because she is no longer satisfying the requirement that she should be a registered voter of Makati.”
As for the residency requirement, Marañon said Binay should already be a resident of Taguig by May 2024, however, he said the Comelec has been consistent that one cannot establish a new residence while he or she is an incumbent official.
‘Even more complicated’
He said, however, that even if Binay resigned, the road would still be rough, saying that she should be ready to confront challenges in her registration in Taguig, especially through the Election Registration Board (ERB).
“From a practical point of view, if she transfers from Makati to Taguig, she’ll have to undergo the process before the ERB, and usually, based on my experience, if the registrant is a new contender for a major position, he or she will have difficulty,” Marañon said.
ERB, as stated in Section 5 of Republic Act No. 4730, is composed of the election registrar as chairman and two members to be appointed by the Comelec based on the proposal by the two political parties which polled the largest and the next largest number of votes in the next preceding presidential election, and shall hold office until relieved by the Comelec for cause or based on the petition of the authorized representative of the party that nominated the appointee.
“So that said, if you anticipate that you will have a problem with the ERB, the most logical approach or strategy, actually, is to register in advance, so that if you will get denied by the ERB, you will still have time to appeal before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Regional Trial Court, and up to the SC,” he said.
Marañon said if the voter registration is denied by the ERB, “you have to exhaust all legal means, like filing for an inclusion before the MTC,” but on the contrary, residents can move for an exclusion, too, if the registration is approved by the ERB.
‘Promise of continuity’
As stressed by Atienza, Binay can bank on a “promise of continuity.”
She said in Makati, there are challengers to the Binays every election, but they now have a chance to expand in Taguig, where they can break the monopoly of the Cayetanos, which have been ruling the city for years already.
Because of the possible presence of Binay, Atienza said “there will be more pressure on the Cayetanos to provide more quality services and infrastructures comparable to that of the Binays.”
“Otherwise, voters, both old and new, may support the Binays,” Atienza said.
This, as she stressed that “while the Binays are considered as traditional politicians who build their dynasty through patronage, they do have innovative programs and public services that cater to a large sector of the population.”
“While there are accusations of corruption against the Binays, there are more inclusive services and benefits given to many residents, particularly the poor, that are not accessible to other Filipinos in other LGUs,” she said.
Atienza pointed out that “the kind and quality of services given by the Binays, which are not perfect, have given constituents a higher level of expectation or standard. Thus, the barangays reclassified as part of Taguig are still loyal to the Binays.”