Nancy Binay: It’s just starting to sink in
“It’s finally starting to sink in, little by little,” Senator-elect Nancy Binay told the Inquirer, aware of the tough job that lies ahead after her victory in Monday’s elections.
While she was propelled to victory by virtue of name recall—with the popularity of her father Vice President Jejomar Binay—no other Binay will be there to guide her on the Senate floor.
She will have only herself, a few political allies and the entire weight of expectations that comes with being the daughter of the country’s second most powerful man.
Speaking of allies, the younger Binay recalled that two days before Election Day, she found an unlikely supporter in a relative of President Benigno Aquino III during the final campaign rally of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in Caloocan City.
Television personality Mikee Cojuangco, a cousin of the President, took the empty seat beside Binay onstage while another UNA candidate was addressing the crowd at the Glorietta Park.
Cojuangco, who came to campaign for mom Tingting, also an UNA senatorial candiddate, had some bad news: Online bashing against Binay had gone from vicious to atrocious.
“Malapit ko na silang patulan (I’m close to getting back at them),” she told Binay, referring to a fresh wave of appalling Internet memes circulating on Facebook.
Having heard the worst after being on the campaign trail the past three months, Binay told Cojuangco, “Don’t worry about it. Just stay calm.”
Binay, who celebrated her 40th birthday on the eve of Election Day, sees “immense pressure” on the job. She said it is more about delivering a Binay kind of public service (“Tatak Binay”) that her family, an enduring political dynasty in Makati City, is supposedly known for.
To social media bashers who refer to Binay as a mere housewife with no real career to speak of other than her being her father’s personal assistant, the senator-elect has this to say: Her 20-year on-the-job training with her old man exposed her to local government work and eventually, to the national government’s socialized housing program when the Vice President took charge of the sector in 2010.
Now it’s back to school for Binay, who could use some lessons in parliamentary procedure. She has already inquired about a short course on legislative work at the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance.
Legislative work will be an entirely new world for Binay, who has found another ally in party mate Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
In the Caloocan “miting de avance,” Estrada came to Binay’s rescue when he related how critics also derided his qualifications when he first ran for senator in 2004. He was dismissed as a mere artista and a small-town mayor trying to enter the big league.
Nine years later, Estrada is now on his second term and is the Senate President Pro Tempore. He also turned out to be one of most prolific senators in terms of legislative measures filed.
Estrada suggested his rise in the upper chamber only proves that senators can be made and legislative work learned.
Tips from Jinggoy
“I approached him (Estrada) recently and asked if he could give me some tips,” Binay said. “The UP course will be more about the technical aspects of legislation. I would also like to hear from Senator Jinggoy based on his personal experience.”
One of the most hotly anticipated episodes in the 16th Congress is the possible floor debate between Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a feisty legislator known for her spontaneous combustion.
Critics online are salivating over the prospect, expecting Santiago, a constitutionalist and former trial court judge, to devour her neophyte colleague.
Binay, a UP tourism graduate, admitted that she is intimidated by Santiago, but said she would not back down in a debate.
“It’s a challenge and I know it comes with the job,” she said.
Binay made her first significant move post-election last Thursday.
Out of “personal conviction,” she boycotted her own proclamation as one of the six initial winners in the senatorial election. She said she could not fathom how the Commission on Elections could declare winners based only on 23 percent of the votes canvassed.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III of Team PNoy was of the same mind and followed suit but, unlike Binay, barely drew criticism for his move.
Binay’s decision earned some praise, but fueled even more online hate. “Proclamation pa lang, absent na!” critics complained, missing the point.
Binay acknowledged the purported double-standard during the campaign when some candidates were scrutinized more than others.
“Life is not fair,” she said, using a truism her detractors have also used against her—just because you’re a Binay does not mean you should be in the Senate.
The bills Binay intends to file in the next Congress would seek to provide more daycare and feeding centers around the country. Expanding the government immunization program and coming up with more stringent safety standards on toys and school items would also be a priority.
First posted 12:15 am | Sunday, May 19th, 2013