1. Jojo Binay, the Small Boy of Makati



One fine day, Mrs. Binay thought she had a tummy ache. Laboring mightily, she found she gave birth to a little baby about the size of a tadpole. Her first words were "Susmariosep!", which is the local version of the ejaculation "Jesus, Mary, Joseph!" And that is why Jesus Jose Maria "Jejomar" Binay was so baptized. The good parish priest picked him up with a tweezer, applied the holy water with an eyedropper, flicked him one grain of salt, and made a Christian out of Jojo Binay.

Jojo's problem has always been his size. Inspite of all sorts of remedies, including the liberal application of fertilizer inside his shoe (no, it was not cachichas), Jojo stopped growing at the age of seven. Let's face it, when one is a shade over five feet and is the smallest guy in the gang, he is apt to be the low man on the totem pole, the guy they send out to deliver messages to girlfriends and buy cigarettes from the vendors. So passed the youth of Jojo Binay.

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When OIC Mayor Jojo Binay first met statuesque AuAu Pijuan Manotok, he stretched his arm for a handshake, and was surprized to have AuAu press a peso coin onto his palm with the words, "Poor little boy, here's something to buy lugaw with."

When in a grand gesture Jojo presented three roses to Isabel Wilson, the political boss of Dasma, she said, "Hoy, bata, diez pesos lang ang bayad ko dian, " thinking he was one of the little boys selling flowers in the street corner.

When Nena Borromeo who is about 6 feet tall, was introduced to OIC Mayor Jojo, she vainly scanned the horizon for his presence, until told to shift her gaze 90 degrees downward in the direction of her shoes, where she saw the mayor tugging at the hem of her skirt for attention.

When Tessie Romulo got out of her car in front of the Makati Municipal Building, she saw Jojo and said, "Psst, bantayan mo ang coche ko. Pag mawawalang hubcaps, lagot ka sa akin!"

But the last straw was when Tini Pertierra, having broken her car suspension over one of Makati's potholes and having endured to the limit the stink of Makati's uncollected garbage, finally decided to go to the Mayor to give him hell. She chased him all over his office, brandishing her chinelas, determined to give little Jojo the spanking he deserves.

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I say it was the last straw because it was then that OIC Mayor Jojo Binay decided to hire a gang of goons armed to the teeth with high powered weapons, to protect him from the horde of housewives from the Ayala villages --- Belle Wilson, Tessie Romulo, Tini Pertierra, Nena Borromeo, Helen Small, among others --- who decided that Jojo belongs, not in the city hall, but in either Boy's Town or Welfareville.

The housewives of Makati complain of squatters by the railroad tracks who are busily tearing down the walls erected by Imelda to shield them from Cristina Ford and George Hamilton. The sight of those squatter shanties equally offend these matrons.

They complain about the mooncraters in the streets of Makati which wreak havoc with their cars, and uncollected garbage which compete with their Chanel No. 5, and object to the appointment of Mike Joseph as his assistant on barangay operations because he is already being paid as barangay captain of San Lorenzo Village.

They decry Jojo's insensitiveness of the lesbian rape of Nina Sara, his indifference to the prosecution of those who terrorized Namfrel volunteers during the elections, and the murder of barangay captain William Marfori.

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But give Jojo his due. When he took over Makati from the administration of Yabut, it was broke. It could not even pay the P12 million owed to the Makati Medical Center for Yabut's MIT (Makati Indigent Patients) bill. Today it's all paid up, and with the help of volunteer Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo (would you believe she was the flower girl at my wedding?), the Makati Health Program of Jojo for residents earning P5,000 a year or less, is successfully being implemented. As a matter of fact, Jojo just advanced P9.5 million for the program.

Then again Jojo has this Bigay Pagmamahal Foundation headed by his consultant for social services, Marissa Chan, all financed by private donations, that gives relief for typhoon victims, scholarships to poor students, aid to squatters, medicines to the needy, and social services to the poor. This outreach program for the masa often brings schoolchildren to the Municipio where they are given balloons, sandwiches and entertainment.

Because he is such a small man, Jojo runs Makati like a small town. He delegates most of his authority, and is often seen playing basketball with his employees, just like the canto boy that he is, perhaps an anomaly among the bigwigs of the Makati business district and the wealthy matrons in the villages... but in many ways, a good mayor to the most of the people of Makati.