Demolishing Rambotito | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


‘Demolition job” is a phrase that has gained currency in our politics—a fairly recent usage, maybe a mere couple of generations.

Borrowed from armed-conflict lingo, the idea involves a plot pursued with insidious intent to destroy a target, completely; in lieu of explosives, political demolitionists use exposés of the most malignant sort.

If a demolition job is fair enough in war, it should be fair enough in politics. It should therefore not come as a surprise to Jejomar Binay; no target, in fact, would seem worthier.

Binay is the patriarch of one of the strongest-entrenched, if newer, political dynasties. His only son is the mayor of Makati, the nation’s richest city. It’s a position that has become a family preserve since he got himself appointed to it by Cory Aquino upon her ascension as revolutionary leader following the popular rising that dislodged the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in 1986.

National brand

In all fairness, Binay did get his mayoral claim validated by a proper vote, for two straight terms, but that also gave him time to warm the seat for his wife, herself inserted only to keep it in the family while he took a prescribed term-long break before reclaiming it and rewarming it for his son.

The Binay name having acquired the virtue of a national brand, however dubious, a daughter has emerged from absolute obscurity to get herself elected senator of the Republic, while another gets to represent a Makati district in the Lower House of Congress.

Surely, for such a broad hold on power alone, the Binay dynasty deserves to be, if not demolished, at least restrained. As happens moreover, Binay has long made no secret—even longer than he has been vice president—of his desire to be president; in fact, two years yet before the polls and already he is brandishing the red flag of his burning ambition.


A cry of “Demolition job!” thus becomes even less worthy of sympathetic attention in his case. For that matter, it does not become someone who has built for himself a reputation as no crybaby, someone remembered well as the Uzi-toting “Rambotito”—diminutive Rambo—of the Edsa revolt against Marcos.

At any rate, he persists with his cry, as if any attempt to demolish him could only be, in yet another escape phrase, “politically motivated” and is therefore disreputable. Which is funny indeed, considering that our politics is so disreputable its only hope lies in the nihilistic idea of pitting the disreputable against its own kind and rebuilding from the happy ruins resulting from their mutual extermination.

To prove himself worthy of at least his idol, never mind his nation, Binay could meet his enemies, punch for punch, kick for kick, bullet for bullet, but he does not, which raises doubts whether he has the matching arsenal.

Unmanly strategy

Well, he better have. He’s in for a long fight, and, sticking as he does to the unmanly strategy of dodging, he could only have been losing so far. But again, even if he finds both the will and the means to fight, he still has to prove the integrity of his cause as well as that of his character, the point on which any presidential bid ultimately turns. And only naturally, his demolitionists have chosen to target it—with explosive success.

Thus, by felicitous, compelling comparison, Binay’s own integrity is now held up against the integrity of a building constructed during his and his son’s successive mayoralties at a cost of well over P2.2 billion, double the credible amount. No building compares in notoriety, and no single case of plunder in magnitude.

And more cases suggesting kickbacks are yet crawling out of the woodwork. Self-confessed beneficiaries among Binay’s own lieutenants are blowing the whistle on him. He now says that if they profited in office illegally, as they themselves admit, he didn’t know. In other words, he may be a poor judge of character and a clueless leader, but he’s not corrupt; maybe naïve, even stupid, but not immoral.

It seems that the more one looks the more one sees no way for Binay to get out of the way of demolition. No wonder he could only cry out and cast himself as the good shepherd deserving every help to keep the wolves off his flock.

He actually has got his casting all wrong. It’s him and them who are the wolves, and us the flock, and we’d be better off letting the wolves devour one another.

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