Makati secession plot bared
MAKATI – Self-described “unsolicited supporters” of Vice President Jojo Binay are preparing a “Plan B” should his ratings plunge further and upset his current status as the sure successor to the presidency.
Plan “B” is code for the “S” word—secession.
A group calling itself the Makati Integrated Front for Freedom and Disunion, or MIFFD, is hatching a plot to separate Makati from the rest of the Philippines and establish an independent new republic.
The secretive group went into action as Binay’s popularity dropped 10 points due to the ongoing Senate hearings on allegations of graft and corruption involving him and members of his family.
Plan B takes after the Scottish vote for independence, and though that failed, MIFFD stalwarts say the success of the MILF and the Basic Bangsamoro Law gives them hope. (Members insist that the Binay family has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with their initiative.)
Outtakes attended a MIFFD meeting, undercover, in a modest house on Pasong Tirad Street.
“Nilalait kami. We in Makati are fed up with the oppression of our ruling dynasty by the anti-Binay media and the mestizos in the Senate,” said the group’s president, Heny Mutoc, 71, biting into a wedge of freshly delivered chiffon cake during a snack break in the meeting.
Banners with militant slogans festooned the meeting room: “Makati for Makatians,” “A World Class Republic Needs a World Class Leader,” “Let Binay Be Binay,” “Graft Is in the Eye of the Beholder,” “Happy Birthday Heny.”
“If worse comes to worse due to the Senate hearings we’ll move to secede from the Philippines,” warned Mutoc. In fact, they’re already gathering petition signatures for a Makati-wide referendum on independence, just in case.
If successful, secession would take a big bite out of the Philippines’ assets and leave lots of moolah for the would-be Republic of Makati and its population of merely 600,000.
Makati is the richest local government today, with no budget deficit for nearly three decades, and no dole outs from the national government. Thanks to tax revenues from the more than 62,000 business enterprises, including a high concentration of call centers, corporate offices and malls galore. It has the largest trading floor of the Philippine Stock Exchange and swathes of gated residential villages.
“Hala kayo. With the excess wealth just for us alone, in the new republic we’ll have ice cream sundaes with our birthday cakes from the government, free weekly spa treatments with full body massage and makeover for everyone, 70 percent discount in restaurants, free iPads not just books for all students up to graduate studies level, scholarships to AIM, free burials in high-end memorial parks, totally free health care and cosmetic surgery. In other words, even more perks than we’re getting now from the successive Binay administrations,” crowed Mutoc, who’s confident the majority of city dwellers would vote for independence.
“As for Makati’s sister cities—bye, bye, no more ambulances and aid packages from us,” he added. Not only that, thousands of non-residents would need work permits to get to their offices, and visas in order to go shopping at Glorietta, SM, Rockwell and others. “So, more revenue for us.”
Aside from increasing their perks, the secessionists would make just a few changes in the new republic. The tax code will be “simplified to a flat rate of 13 percent,” according to Mutoc. “We’ll divide the tax revenue among distinctly marked black bags for delivery to the proper government departments, say, Health, Public Works, Education, Parks & Recreation, Junjun.”
Alice Nacami, a retired political science professor of a certain age, and MIFFD’s ideologue-theoretician, explained the group’s doctrinal underpinnings.
“Like our great, glorious and correct current vice president, we adhere to a modern variant of the Sherwood school of crypto-lumpen communalism.”
Uh, what’s that?
“Remember ‘take from the rich to give to the poor’? Well, we take from the public to give to everyone. From each according to his low taxes, to each according to his birthday. Makatians of the world, unite–you have nothing to lose but the Cayetanos!”
Okay, except that Robin Hood didn’t get rich in the process. He got Maid Marian, but not rich.
“That’s why ours is the modern version—our chief executive must be substantially rewarded for all his sacrifices–say, 13 percent? That’s our lucky number,” Nacami patiently explained.
But if MIFFD succeeds, the other provinces might also try to secede, to join the Makati Republic and share in its largesse.
“Exactly,” Mutoc broke in, “and we’d welcome them all with open arms.”
But that would just reconstitute the old national entity of the Philippines.
“Yes,” Alice Nacami chuckled, “but guess who’s the president?”
Plan B, ladies and gentlemen.
“To quote the Sicilian novelist Prince Giuseppe di Lampedusa–everything must change for things to remain the same,” harrumphed Nacami. “Here, have another slice of cake.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.