Don’t underestimate Binay the guerrilla tactician.

Most every mainstream politician and political analyst I know have been publicly belittling the impeach-Aquino initiatives of BAYAN et al. as “raw, premature, bound to fail,” and so on. Furthermore, some of the more influential political leaders have even explicitly rejected it.

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

I won’t even try to debate with these anti-impeach politicians and political analysts, because (a) I don’t have the luxury of time to do so, and (b) the pro-impeach groups have been ably explaining their side anyway. Still, I’d like to posit a theory that goes like this: “Don’t underestimate Binay the guerrilla tactician.”

1. Traditional politicians (our classic “trapo”) in the Philippine setting are expected to say one thing in public but think and act differently — sometimes even do the exact opposite — if it is to their advantage. I don’t have to prove this, as it is standard practice especially before elections or when the political situation undergoes rapid shifts. I’m not making some moral judgment here, a personal position of right and wrong, but just a statement of current realities.

2. This makes sense especially now, in the case of traditional politicians in Congress and local governments who are aspiring for reelection or higher office in 2016. Most of them have kept quiet about the impeach-Aquino move. Many of their leaders — even opposition stalwarts such as Toby Tiangco and the brother Estradas — have made a show of publicly declaring their non-support or outright rejection of the impeach move. The same goes for Vice President Jojo Binay, who leads in the poll surveys for 2016 presidential aspirant, and is the one politician who would greatly benefit from the impeach-Aquino move. He has kept a ninja’s silence so far.

3. But their silence or vocal non-support does not necessarily mean real non-support. Watch their body language, not their sound bites. Binay, in particular, would not be in the strategic position he now holds if he wasn’t a masterful practitioner of “trapo” guerrilla tactics. In fact, the Binay camp has probably been exploiting the situation in which Aquino has become a lame-duck president while Roxas is trailing in the surveys, and in which he, as leading presidential aspirant (and potential pre-2016 acting president if the impeach move succeeds), is being quietly wooed or sent alliance feelers by more and more political aspirants.

4. I wouldn’t be surprised if the long-time guerrilla practitioner Binay is seriously preparing, as one of his possible checkmate-in-10 moves, the option of enjoining his Congress allies to support the impeach move in exchange for shared political benefits in 2016. He may or may not be playing this line of attack yet. He’s still wearing the same poker face that he wore since 2010. But he has everything to gain and nothing to lose if he quietly pursues it. And now that the Aquino camp has apparently launched its own preemptive moves in the form of a plunder case vs Binay and son (sure to be followed by other demolition jobs), the VP will sooner or later have to launch his own offensive. Supporting the impeach-Aquino move in Congress could either become his main line of attack, or serve as effective leverage to help rally his forces for 2016.

5. Again, I repeat, I’m not making a moral judgment of right and wrong, of delineating principled tactics from opportunist tactics. It’s just how deals are made in Philippine politics. I don’t like Binay, and I don’t like a scenario where he wins in 2016. Also, I don’t know if the Left is ready and willing to enter into a tactical alliance with him or his forces in Congress and on the ground. But, objectively, whether we like it or not, we will have to accept the possibility that a convergence of disparate and unlikely tactical allies may lead to a successful impeach-Aquino move. Such a possibility will drastically change the 2016 rules of the game.

The more that the people and their social movements realize this, the earlier they detect the signals of how this scenario unfolds, the better prepared they would be to cope with the fast-approaching post-Aquino era. #

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