QUEZON PROVINCE – Vice President Jejomar Binay and his running mate Sen. Gringo Honasan were active players in the 1986 People Power Revolution but on the 30th year anniversary of the bloodless uprising, they were far away from the site of celebrations.
The duo led their United Nationalist Alliance slate in barnstorming vote-rich Quezon province, bailiwick of their political ally, the Suarezes.
The unopposed re-electionist Governor David Jay Jay Suarez, his family, returning congressman Danilo Suarez, incumbent Congresswoman Aleta Suarez, and wife Anna Villaraza Suarez, who is running as congresswoman for party-list ALONA (Alliance of Organizations, Networks, and Associations of the Philippines), were in full force to back the main opposition party candidates.
The two began their day in the towns of Tiaong and Candelaria, where they had an all too familiar campaign pitch for their platforms and a swipe at their rivals for the election.
Binay said he wasn't even invited to the events at the People Power Monument today.
"Wala naman invitation. Naramdaman ko na eh dahil sa mga nakaraang taon, hindi na binibigyan ng exact na paggunita. I think it was last year, 2 years ago wala namang program sa EDSA,'' he said.
Binay, however, could not hide his disappointment.
"Kabahagi pa naman ito ng Pilipinas. Nagkataon lang na kami nasa labas ng Maynila. Malulungkot lang lalo na para sa isang active participant na itinaya ang buhay, ang mga nangunguna pa sa entablado eh 'yung sa mga oras na 'yun ay wala naman doon, kasama pa nga ng rehimen na dapat palitan,'' he said.
Binay said the best way to commemorate the bloodless revolt is to make sure its benefits are felt by all.
"Eh aalalahanin ang EDSA kung ano pinaglaban ng EDSA. Maiangat ang buhay sa kahirapan at malasap ang tunay na demokrasya. Ako ang pagsama ko roon ay kadugtong lamang ng sinasamahan ko bago mag EDSA. Iyun bang magkaroon ng tunay na diwa ng demokarasya at lalong lalo na ang maiangat tayo sa kahirapan. Iyun ang mga dahilan kung bakit nanduon ako sa EDSA. Eh nakakalungkot, 30 taon na problema ng kahirapan, lalong naghirap tayo sa kasalukuyang administrasyon,'' he said.
While Binay refused to say that the administration betrayed the promises of EDSA, he pointed out the failure of the succeeding administrations to make the fruits of the People Power Revolution felt by all.
"According to statistics, lalo tayong naghirap, especially if you take the pronouncement that we are enjoying a good economy, that we have a lot of savings. Pero underspending results to underperformance,'' he said.
''Halughugin niyo lang budget. Ang budget sa health, di masyadong nagastos eh nandun ang problema - kulang ng gamot, kulang ng pera para matulungan yung mga mahihirap, para makabili ng gamot. Hindi tamang pamamahala iyon,'' he said.
Binay also explained why he backed Cory Aquino in 1986 despite her lack of experience in governance, even as he now campaigns on a platform built on his experience as Makati City mayor.
"Eh kasi, eh alam mo mas matindi ang kailangan ng isang mamumuno na magbibigay ng pagbabago. Iyun naman eh asawa ng isang magaling na namuno. Si Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. was an outsanding government official," he said.
Binay also tried to reconcile why he is now running with Honasan, who led several coup attempts against Cory Aquino.
"Kasi patuloy pa rin ang aming paniniwala na makibaka, maiangat ang ating buhay, maihaon tayo sa kahirapan. Magkasama pa kami roon, pareho kaming nagtaya ng buhay,'' he said.