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    Jejomar Binay

    By Manny Pinol

    “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” – Abraham Lincoln

    On Thursday, on my way back to the hotel in Makati from the South African embassy where I applied for a visa, I engaged the taxi driver in a conversation about what’s going in the country and politics.

    The taxi driver, a Batangueno who was obviously an admirer of President Aquino said he was pleased with what the President was doing to address corruption, sending to jail three powerful Senators and impeaching a Supreme Court Chief Justice.

    He was sad that the President appeared soft on his friends but he said he accepts that as part of the reality that there is no perfect leader.

    Then, the conversation shifted to the Presidential hopefuls focusing mainly on Vice President Jejomar Binay.

    “Ang hirap naman kay Bise (Vice President Binay) ay napaka-sinungaling. Lahat naman ng taga-Batangas ay alam na kanya yong hacienda, aba eh, ipinagkaila pa,” he said.

    The driver was, of course, referring to the controversial 350-hectare area in Rosario, Batangas which former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado said is owned by the Vice President.

    Binay belied the accusation saying the area is owned by businessman Antonio Tiu, a denial which was stumped by the revelation of South China Morning Post reporter Raissa Robles who recorded an interview with the Vice President in 2010 where he admitted having bought the property for P30 per square meter.

    An elderly woman, Maria Guico, who was interviewed by ABS-CBN also said that it was then Mayor Jojo Binay who bought her property and he came to her place twice.

    “Sana inamin na lang nya at ipinaliwanag kung paano sya nagkapera,” the taxi driver said.

    “Nakaka-insulto naman ang pagsisinungaling nya. Aba eh, nagtatawanan ang mga taga-Batangas dahil alam nila kung ano ang totoo,” the driver told me.

    I shared the taxi driver’s sentiments and I have three reasons why I cannot support VP Binay’s presidential bid, even if I consider him and many of those in his group as friends.

    First, his flagrant lying showing disrespect for people; second, a flawed character shown when he backtracked on his challenge to Senator Antonio Trillanes for a debate; and third, the evident hypocrisy in riding on President Aquino’s anti-corruption campaign when he faces a long list of corruption charges before the Ombudsman.

    Of these three reasons, however, it was the flagrant lying by Vice President Binay which greatly dismayed me and made me decide that I have to set aside my friendship with many of his key supporters and look for an alternative candidate who could give hope to this country.

    I cannot and will never support a leader who lies with a straight face to his people.

    German poet and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

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