In attacking Binay, Cayetano uses a familiar game plan
Alan Cayetano began hinting about a possible presidential run in 2016 even before he officially won a second term in the Senate last year. Speaking during the final campaign rally for his wife, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, the 44-year-old senator told the crowd: “Ayaw niyo bang magkaroon ang Pilipinas ng presidente galing Taguig? (Don’t you want Philippines to have a president who is from Taguig?)”
At present, Cayetano is the one leading the Senate investigation about the myriad of controversies surrounding Vice President Jejomar Binay, from the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall and birthday cakes for senior citizens to the rigged “public” biddings that the city government has been engaging in for many years.
Cayetano’s attacks on Binay began last December when Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay and Senator Nancy Binay, the vice president’s son and daughter, respectively, became involved in a controversy with the guards at the posh Dasmarinas Village.
Cayetano and his fellow Senator Aquilino Pimentel III wasted no time calling for an official inquiry into the incident, but to no avail.
Going on the offensive against high-ranking politicians is nothing new to Cayetano. In fact, he has made a career out of it. From being an obscure congressman from Taguig City, Cayetano vaulted to national prominence in 2006 after he accused then-First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of having bank accounts in Germany’s HypoVereinsbank.
Although Arroyo’s camp was able to obtain certification from the bank that he has no bank accounts there, Cayetano got what he wanted: media mileage.
Thanks to his famous last name and his newfound reputation as the First Family’s chief tormentor, Cayetano ran and won during the 2007 senatorial elections. Interestingly, one of his television ads features a clip of his face-off with Arroyo during a hearing at the Lower House.
And who can forget Cayetano’s nasty word war last year with then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile? As a refresher, Cayetano slammed Enrile for alleged favouritism in the distribution of the Senate’s maintenance and other operating expenses.
Enrile of course infamously responded, not by addressing Cayetano’s accusations, but by mentioning that Cayetano’s deceased father actually owes him P37 million. Enrile’s bungled response to the revelation contributed massively to his son Jack’s failed senatorial bid (he quit as senate chief two weeks after the elections).
The 90-year-old political veteran would have been better off exposing the fact that the Cayetanos’ are also guilty of the charge they are accusing him of in their stronghold Taguig City, as Aries Rufo of Rappler.com reported.
Just days before the May 2013 polls, Cayetano and fellow re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda had a public spat after the latter hinted that the former is the one behind the revelations that she maintains an apartment in Park Avenue, New York – a property not declared in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth. Journalist Raissa Robles reported on this controversy through her blog.
No less than President Benigno Aquino III himself confirmed the rift between the two senators, who were both running under the administration backed Team PNoy. Some parties implied that Cayetano is smearing Legarda so he’ll end up number one in the senatorial race.
Lacking any meaningful legislative accomplishment under his name, Cayetano seems to bet that going on the offensive against Binay (and taking credit for his wife’s accomplishments as Taguig City mayor) will somehow help him become president by 2016. Recent surveys of potential 2016 presidential candidates suggest that Cayetano’s gambit is not working.