All candidates are open during elections, or at least they are about the dark secrets of their rivals. They perform a public service by exposing the hidden wealth, extra-marital activities and illegal government transactions of their rivals. These revelations are all black propaganda, but this does not necessarily mean they’re not true.
A few days ago, vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay publicly admitted that he was unfaithful to his wife. He made this confession after the internet was flooded with unflattering pictures of Binay’s alleged mistress. Binay confirmed that he once betrayed his wife, but said this was a long time ago and that he had already apologized to his family. Stories and pictures about Binay’s mistress surfaced when he placed second in pre-election surveys.
Binay’s decision to admit his marital infidelity is brave since religious groups, especially the Catholic Church, can use this confession to weaken his candidacy. But as a veteran politician, (more than two decades as Mayor of Makati City, the country’s premier financial district) Binay may have calculated that this issue would have little impact on his chances. By immediately confronting the issue, he may have gained some sympathy votes from voters who dislike the campaign tactic of invading the privacy of candidates and their families.
Maybe Binay is also aware that politicians who are unfaithful to their spouses continue to get elected to public office. He should learn some tips from his running mate, former President Joseph Estrada, who has not lost a single election despite the public knowledge that he has at least 11 children by six women and some other rumored mistresses.
Binay should talk to his former mistress and convince her not to disclose anything that could further ruin his reputation. Pictures were uploaded on the web, but there could be videos as well. Binay should remember how the mistress of former President Ferdinand Marcos shocked the nation when she called a press conference in 1970 and proved her special relationship with Marcos by playing an audio recording of their lovemaking.
If Binay really wants the issue to die down, he could leave the country for a while. This is what the First Gentleman Mike Arroyo did when a senator exposed his alleged extra-marital activities a few years ago. President Gloria Arroyo defender her husband from critics, but on one occasion she said that she would just focus on her job as president because she is married to the country. Will Binay also claim that he is married to the country?
Binay’s critics and rivals will use his confession to remind voters about his moral weakness. They will argue that since Binay cannot remain loyal to his wife, he’ll also betray the country if he becomes vice president. As Binay’s numbers continue to improve in the homestretch campaign, he should check his closet and hide the remaining skeletons that could be unearthed by his rivals.
And the question now is, will Binay retaliate and throw some dirt at his enemies?