The court battle by the local governments of Makati and Taguig over the question which has jurisdiction the huge Fort Bonifacio estate that has become the new Wall Street is but the opening salvo to what may be a vicious fight for the presidency in 2016.

Two years away from the national elections and two politicians—Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay from Makati and Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano from Taguig—have both made known their plans to run for president in 2016. Predictably the two are already engaged in mudslinging.Cayetano said that the Philippine economy would fall if Binay were elected president. He also accused the Vice President of downplaying the testimonies of whistle-blowers against his allies—Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada. Binay has been reserved, however, perhaps refusing to be drawn into a word war with Cayetano. Yet the former Makati mayor called the Taguig politician "madaldal."

Relations between the Binays of Makati and Cayetanos of Taguig have soured because the two cities have conflicting claims over Bonifacio Global City (BGC), one of the country’s fastest growing central business districts.

The two cities even resorted to a “banner war” wherein city represenatives put up banners to assert their claim. Last year, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Makati, saying that BGC belongs to it.

But the two politician’s word war is the least of the Filipino’s concerns. What they should be worried about is that these two men are currently in the spotlight for the 2016 showdown.

The Binay-Cayetano rift is proof how Philippine politics could degenerate into petty mudslinging. Cayetano may claim that he is the lesser evil than Binay but then again, they have both have something in common that neither of them can deny—they are both products of political dynasty, the historic root of nepotism and corruption in Philippine politics.

Who's that girl?

It makes one wonder why 27 years after the birth of the 1987 Constitution, which proscribes political dynasties, no enabling law ever came close to being enacted. But Congress can’t be blamed. For them, passing a Political Dynasty Bill is tantamount to self-extinction. For both houses of Congress to pass such a measure would be suicidal.

Of course it is easy for politicos like Binay and Cayetano to simply claim that the essence of republicanism is the free will of the sovereign. In other words, Filipinos have the freedom to choose whomever they want. But that is not reality. The so-called “freedom of choice” which dynasties keep referring to does not exist. In reality, the Filipino’s choice are limited to the sounding names of ABC (Aquino, Binay, Cayetano), Macapagal, Estrada, Angara, Marcos, among so many others. Is there still a spot left for the average Juan dela Cruz?

For as long as the nation is in the thrall of political dynasties , no amount of whistleblowing would cure the country of corruption. Even if Janet Lim-Napoles rots in jail, the likes of her will multiply, similar to the dreaded Hydra. Regardless of which city takes hold of BGC would not matter anymore. Today, it’s Binay and Cayetano over BGC. Tomorrow, it’s Binay and Cayetano over the poor Filipino people.


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