REDWOOD CITY. Calif. – “We are for good governance. No to corruption! No to fraud! No the Binay!” This was the battle cry of the newly-formed Filipino-American group, “Concerned Filipinos of Metro Phoenix”. With less than a year to go before the Philippine presidential elections, these kababayans are calling on overseas absentee voters to vote wisely and to vote against corrupt officials. The target of their anti-corruption campaign: vice-president Jejomar Binay — who was the first to delcare his bid for the presidency.
“Our plan is to replicate this campaign in different cities all over the country,” said member, Ted Mogol.
More corruption allegations have been exposed against Binay and his family. According to witnesses at a Philippine senate hearing on Wednesday, more than four billion pesos worth of contracts for information technology, janitorial and security services for Makati City Hall, instead went to companies controlled by Binay, between 2005 and 2014.
The hearing also revealed that the Makati government was giving out benefits to senior citizens, who were either dead or no longer residents of the city. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said, “Around 1,050 were already dead in 2013 and yet they still get benefits. How did that happen?”
This was the 24th hearing in the year-long investigation into different corruption allegations against Binay and his family…accusations the former Makati mayor has denied time and again. Binay just dismissed it as a smear campaign against him in his bid for the presidency.
Jun Saez, another member of the “Concerned Filipinos of Metro Phoenix” said, “Binay is too much. He did a lot of wrong things — and yet, he still decided to run.”
These kababayans said they are turning to social media to convince, not just Fil-Am voters, but their friends and relatives back in the Philippines, not to vote for Binay.
But there are those who tell this group of concerned Filams not to be too quick to judge. After all, Binay has not been found guilty of these corruption allegations. Sheila Phillips of Glendale, Arizona pointed out, “I think all Binay strived for was to help the country.”
However way they make an impact on overseas absentee voters and their relatives and friends, these kababayans said, what’s important is they vote based on an informed decision, and with the utmost regard for the homeland’s future.
Mogol concluded, “All Filipinos need to do something — for love of country.”
With reporting by Ryan Chua, Florenz Legaspi and Raul Legaspi