Binay brood war: How the Abby and Junjun rift came to be

MANILA, Philippines — In the weeks leading to the midterm elections, two siblings of the Binay political clan had a very public spat: In a Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting-led electoral forum on April 27, incumbent Makati City Mayor Abby Binay in a heated discussion with brother Junjun, a former mayor sekeing to retake city hall.

During the spat, which happened at a church, Junjun mockingly knelt before Abby while clan patriarch Jejomar and Makati top cop Pablo Simon pacified the two warring mayoral candidates.

The scene at the PPCRV forum draws a picture in stark contrast to October 2015, when Junjun—then the city mayor and reeling from a dismissal order by the Office of the Ombudsman— accompanied Abby in filing her certificate of candidacy for mayor.

FROM INTERAKSYON: ‘Ganito kami sa Makati’: Sibling rivalry of Abby, Junjun Binay for all to see

How did the two Binay siblings end up on warring sides?

Binay stronghold

In 1986, clan patriarch Jejomar, who would become vice president in 2010, first held the held the top executive position of Makati—then a town— when President Corazon Aquino appointed him as caretaker after the EDSA revolution.

The clan patriarch went on to serve as Makati mayor for three consecutive terms from 1988 to 1998. City hall was then turned over to the matriarch, Elenita, because of term limits.

Elenita served for three years before Jejomar returned to city hall and served as mayor for three consecutive terms, from 2001 to 2010.

He then ran for vice president and won.

While Jejomar served the country at the Coconut Palace, his namesake Jejomar Erwin, or Junjun, led the city as mayor.

Junjun won for two consecutive terms—until, in 2015, corruption allegations were hurled against the family. The Binays have denied the allegations, saying these were an attempt to derail the elder Binay’s presidential run.

Ombudsman cases

In 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Jejomar and Junjun, along with several other officials and employees of the Makti City government, over alleged irregularities in the construction of Makati City Hall Building II.

The clan patriarch was embroiled in other corruption allegations over a farm in Batangas, several rest houses, businesses, and a deal between the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Alphaland Corporation.

In March 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the preventive suspension of Junjun, to give way to the investigation on complaints over the alleged overpricing the city hall building project.

Seven months later, on Oct. 9, 2015, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Junjun and his perpetual disqualification from public office—barring disqualification, he was eligible to run for another term—due to the administrative case filed against him.

The dismissal order came days before the Commission on Elections opened the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2016 national elections.

Following the Ombudsman ruling, Abby, who represented Makati’s District 2 at the House, filed her candidacy for mayor.

A report in The STAR quoted her as saying: “The fight needs to continue so I filed my COC for mayor.”

READ: Abby replaces Junjun as Makati mayoral bet

Back then, the Binay political clan threw their support as Elenita, Jejomar, Nancy and Junjun joined her in filing her COC.

The STAR reported at the time that that the family initially planned for Junjun filing a separate COC as mayor but “they junked the plan to avoid giving the impression that she and her brother were running against each other.”

2019 midterm elections

The 2019 midterm elections drew a different picture for the Binay clan.

Jejomar lost the presidential elections in 2016 while Abby won the seat for Makati mayor to maintain the family’s control over prosperous city.

Abby was set on running for another term as Makati mayor, when, on October 12, her brother declared that he would be running against her.

Reacting to her brother’s political plans, Abby warned in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart” that it “will divide our family even after the elections.” She stressed that she had supported her embattled brother “through all the joy and the sorrow” and the political crises he had to face.

“I was with him at the Senate, I was with him in city hall. I was standing up for him,” she said, as she stressed that she is his elder sister.

“I wish he would give me a chance,” she said, adding that Junjun had had “his turn” as mayor and would have his turn again.

Junjun—who was accompanied by their sister Nancy, a senator running for reelection—told reporters then that “it becomes difficult to navigate because there is clamor (for me to run) and then we have Abby there. My sister will not back out so we have to talk first.”

Abby, on the other hand, said that she has the support of their father, who is running for her former congressional seat in the 2019 elections.

Other mayoral candidates

While the Binay siblings seem to be the most prominent among those gunning for the Makati mayor’s seat, voters still have four other candidates to consider.

source: philstar.com




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