The Binays and Dasmagate

This is about character. I’ve been told many times over that how one treats those lesser— maybe less money— maybe less in intellect or literacy— maybe less in position— shows the true character of a person.

The story in question was the night the Binay siblings were headed out of Dasmarinas Village in the City of Makati. Dasmarinas is a gated community where many of the affluent, and powerful live. The Binay convoy were to exit a gate that for the longest time was closed by 10PM at night. To add, a rule that was long held and known to any who live there, or have long visited the village. Captains of industry, ambassadors, politicians, and of similar important stripe call Dasma, home. You can imagine the egos that need to be managed.

Am sure, amidst all this, *hoopla*, the Binays are flabbergasted, and have moved to dismiss the matter as trivial, and settled. Am sure in the vast intellect that courses through the brains of Junjun, Nancy, and Jejomar Binay, they are once more the victims of the story. The slighted heroes and heroine that deserve respect and recognition. The story, as Rappler quotes the Binay PR that the Philippine Daily Inquirer story as malicious. So it is, as Nancy Binay points out, “No amount of explanation would satisfy those who have never-ending dislike for our family.”

Contrary to how the Binays frame the incident, this isn’t about hate, or dislike. It is about what’s proper, and what’s true.

The Closed Circuit Television video that captured the night in question showed a startlingly different story from the Binay explanation. Even the guard company’s explanation doesn’t simply jibe with what clearly was happening on the video.

This is the 15 minute raw video:

This is the edited, and zoomed, 5 minute version of the original, where clearly, at one point, a guard, in the guard house was pulled forcibly enough for him to lose his cap:

In the footage, the convoy was neither surrounded nor could possibly be overpowered by the Dasma guards. At one point, Mayor Junjun Binay stepped out of his vehicle. One would imagine if the Major’s life or that of his sister’s were at all threatened, their security detail would push them back or switch to an exit that was open. That exit was a mere 150m. One would also imagine that they could also have rammed the gate to exit had the mayor’s life been threatened. They could also have retreated to where they came from to await assistance from the police. Instead the entire convoy sat there, for 15 minutes.

This is Kara David of GMA 7 giving her unbiased reporting of the entire matter:

The story has been repeated, and reveal many times in the past few days. Journalists of every stripe have had their chance. Commentators of every shape, color and affiliation have rendered a moment of their vast time to give their two cents. Anthony Taberna focused on the Security agency apologizing to the Binays. Winnie Monsod said, “the Guards were correct, the Binays were wrong.

On Facebook, and on Twitter, massive outpouring of disgust, and disdain have flooded the Interwebs. This is a screenshot of the amount of tweets that shot up on the term, “Binay”:

Screenshot 2013-12-21 10.37.44

This doesn’t count the other discussions going on with that talked about the incident, but not the term.

Marocharim correctly points out, “Rightly or wrongly, the political success of the Binay family lies on those nuances, and on nuanced opinions like “Di bale nang tawaging epal basta tumutulong.” It’s us-against-them: something so elementary, something so base, something that comes as a consequence of keeping people on this level through realities like poverty, a lack of education, or good old-fashioned stick-it-in-the-gut drama. In Nancy Binay’s own words, there will be “haters.” Cringeworthy – what works for JAMICH will work for the politicians – but real and true to those pairs of eyes. Theirs, and the millions who gave them the vote.”

Should the electorate be convinced to promote Jejomar Binay to president, or his spawn continue to be in positions of power what then? These Interwebs have long been argued do not reach the masses who vote for the likes of the Binays. It does not preclude a show of a little humility, especially from a family where much has already been given. Especially one, poised to be the next rulers of this small chain of islands, in the Pacific.

People in power have everything going for themselves. A little humility goes a long way, don’t you think? We could all use a bit of humility.


Carl Sagan once spoke of the Pale Blue Dot we call the Earth. He was looking at a photo of our world taken by the Voyager probe that NASA sent.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” Carl Sagan said. “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

This is the Pale Blue Dot video:

Vice President Binay said he saw nothing wrong in what his son did. “My son deserve some courtesy,” The Vice President said. The Police Chief of Makati said the guards failed to show some respect to the Mayor of Makati— Junjun Binay. All this posturing; All this delusion— challenged by a Closed Circuit Television video showed the imagined self-importance of the Binay siblings—one a mayor, one a senator, and in defense of his children, so too, the Vice President of this tiny island nation of brown skinned Pinoys in the Pacific that is little more than a pixel in the pale light of a vast cosmos.