As you may know by now, the title is no typo for Barack Obama, but the new nickname of the latest politico to publicly declare his intention to run for the presidency in 2010: Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay. Like many news stories as of late, this does not come as a surprise because talks have been rife about Binay running for national position in 2010. He cannot seek reelection as Mayor in 2010.

Already, to distinguish himself from the other would-be candidates, Binay has positioned and proclaimed himself as the Obama of the Philippines. JOBama or Jo-bama. Come on! Personally, while I find this catchy (catchy enough to be written about), I find this in bad taste. But as we say in Filipino, libre ang mangarap.

He has the experience at least as mayor for almost two decades.  However, all things considered, one must note that Makati’s boom cannot be attributed to him alone.  At most, he has provided the needed business climate.  But much of the progress of Makati, I believe, comes from the big businesses and developers, who have invested in the city.

My question also is whether Binay has (enough) knowledge and skill in macroeconomics, foreign diplomacy, and the peace process.  He has until 2010 to prove himself.

As an agent of change, Binay is definitely no FPJ or Erap.  And so, he will need to package himself very well.  By proclaiming himself as Pinoy version of Obama, he is positioning himself as an agent of positive change.  But again, depending on which side of the political fence you find yourself in, one may find this inconsistent as far as Binay is concerned.  Many sectors — particularly Makati Business itself — would feel that the rallies and aggressive anti-PGMA stand have helped destruct and divide rather than positively change.  And going back to experience, Binay again will need to prove that he can do more than organize rallies at the intersection of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas.

By the way, what has happened to his pending cases?  Yes, it is easy and convenient to say that the administration has been harassing him (which may be true anyway).  Still, he needs to clear his name at the proper forum.


Binay’s qualifications aside, the opposition will need to act fast in order to fix a bigger problem: they have too many candidates already.  Aside from Binay, there is Mar Roxas, Manny Villar, and Loren Legarda.  Ping Lacson is said to be a question mark for 2010.  And then, there is still Erap, who has threatened to run if the opposition will not unite (although I doubt if Erap can still run, given the limitations set by the constitution).  In fairness to Binay, he has offered to step aside and become Erap’s running mate should he make another run for President.

So ask Malacanang now, and surely it will say that it welcomes Binay’s candidacy.  After all, with so many opposition candidates, it can divide and conquer while sitting pretty.

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