When I first heard that Vice President Jejomar Binay was going to the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) for a forum, my first thought was, “Political Suicide.” Only after I have watched the video of the forum did I realize just how he had played us all.
He seemingly came unprepared, which essentially isn’t like him at all. But to openly admit that he does not know something in a crowd that he knew was just waiting for any reason at all to grill him just shows how prepared he really was.
VP Binay didn’t have any delusions that the Iskos and Iskas of UPLB would let the opportunity to make him look like a fool pass them by. He knew they would put him on the hot seat and he was prepared for that.
They were “non-believers”, people who he had no chance of converting, so he did the best thing that he could do, let them make a fool out of him to anger his supporters, to make himself look like the victim, to make the participants of the forum be the villain, to make the students look like ungrateful wrenches who doesn’t “respect” his authority and position as the second highest leader of the country.
The net is now abuzz with comments about his stupidity forgetting that first and foremost, he is a politician, a cunning one for that matter, and he knew exactly how to play his cards well.
Normally, VP Binay would be yapping about how cruel he had been treated, how he was bullied by the whole UPLB community and by the netizens who were waiting for him to make a blunder, which he did, a lot.
Normally, he would be running his mouth while answering questions, directing his attacks to the people questioning his credibility.
Notice that he didn’t. Instead, he answered calmly, trying to humble himself by admitting that he didn’t know about something. If that was stupidity or genius, we might never know. But one thing is for sure; he played us all.
He didn’t go to UPLB to convince them. He went there to be bullied, to be laughed at, to show the country just how harsh his detractors are.
This was not an act of bravery. It was an appeal to pity.
The educated community of UPLB is one of his harshest detractors and he had successfully made them look like ingrates who do not even know how to respect their elders.
He had given the UPLB community a chance to make him the laughingstock and the community took the opportunity without thinking twice.
If it was only the UPLB population who would be voting in the coming 2016 elections, then it was definitely political suicide. He will never win.
But that’s just it. The whole country is not UPLB and a person who isn’t fully aware of his wrongdoings would only see a government official being “bullied” by the students.
“…huwag kayong mag-alala. Sinasabi nga nila na 10 questions pero ngayon naririnig ko na ten minutes, habang gusto niyong magtanong okay lang…” Was what he said after totally humiliating himself for not knowing a certain bill. Stupid, right? But is it really?
The crowd cheered in response, probably just as loud as his political advisers and allies who had seen it coming.
I don’t expect any reaction from the Binays about this forum. If they are as smart as I think they are, they would keep quiet. They already know how the people would react if they say something bad about the forum and the students.
I have no respect for Vice President Jejomar Binay as a politician but even I will admit that this was nicely played.
So the question is; who’s really laughing now?
As a former UPLB student, I’m still trying to get over the insult.