The unmasking of UNA

By Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Jan 31 2013 10:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 06:35 AM

For the first two and a half years of the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has always said that they are supporters of PNoy.

In fact, one of their leaders, Vice-President Jejomar Binay, continues to serve in the Cabinet as the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and as Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipinos.

We all know that Cabinet members are also known as the alter egos of the President. As such, they are supposed to continue to remain loyal and supportive of their leader since they all serve under his pleasure.  

No support for Corona conviction

Yet, despite these earlier pronouncements, the recent actions of UNA have shown the opposite.

For one, in the recent impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, never did we hear a public pronouncement that Binay himself supports the impeachment that PNoy himself has strongly pushed for.

The President has always stated that the removal of Corona was critical in his anti-corruption efforts since he perceived Corona as a major roadblock in ensuring that justice is served to leaders of the previous administration who perpetuated graft and corruption in our government. 

During the trial itself, there were even rumors that Binay and his allies in the Senate were pushing for an acquittal of the former Chief Justice since they were afraid that if an Aquino appointee would assume the post, then it can pave the way for the election protest of current Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to gain ground.

When the tide of public opinion was clearly against Corona, UNA’s senators had little choice but to vote for the conviction of Corona.

No support for the Reproductive Health (RH) and Sin Tax Bill

More recently, two priority health measures of PNoy were also not supported by UNA’s leaders such as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the son of former President Erap Estrada.

Enrile and the older Estrada, together with Binay, comprise the Big 3 of UNA. Both the passage of the RH Bill and the Sin Tax bill were opposed by UNA’s Senators yet despite this, PNoy was still able to muster enough votes to pass these two landmark pieces of legislation.

The RH Bill is planned to be PNoy’s main weapon to curb maternal and infant mortality rates in our country while the Sin Tax Bill will help generate more revenues to help improve our public hospitals.

UNA’s gambit 

Now, how can UNA claim that they continue to support PNoy when in fact they have not shown this alleged support in their actions during the times when our President needed them?

Clearly, we are seeing a double standard here wherein they are trying their best to remain close to the President to take advantage of his high popularity while at the same time they are also preparing to take advantage of the situation if PNoy’s ratings start to go down.

I am pretty sure that if the present administration failed in passing either one of the aforementioned laws then UNA’s leaders would easily pounce on the situation to try and drag down the popularity of PNoy.

Sadly for them, they failed in their bid to do that. UNA’s leaders are afraid that if and when they declare an all out war against Malacanang then this could easily back fire at them at the coming 2013 national and local elections since a greater majority of Filipinos still trust and believe in the leadership of PNoy.

In fact, not many people have pointed out that two of UNA’s senatorial bets were known as staunch allies and defenders of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo namely, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The situation is very clear and actions speak louder than words: UNA is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and it would be best for ordinary Filipinos to already see their real motives and intentions before they decide on whom to entrust their votes in the coming elections.

In UNA’s political advertisement, it already started to hit the President’s “Matuwid na Daan” by alleging that PNoy’s administration has failed to solve poverty in our country.

Now, given this information, can we still say that UNA is an ally of the President and his “Matuwid na Daan”? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entre

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.