MANILA, NOVEMBER 6, 2008 (STAR) By Michael Punongbayan - Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay is no African American but he hopes to make history as the country’s first “dark brown president” if he runs in the 2010 elections.

Binay said he is indeed inspired by Barack Obama’s win since he himself is advocating change in government and change in the way the country is being run.

Binay told The STAR he considers himself “dark brown” and not black, adding with a hearty laugh that he is not at all offended by jokes about the color of his skin.

“Sa ganun ang pagkakagawa sa akin ng Diyos, eh (That’s the way God created me),” he said, noting that he probably got his complexion from his mother who is from Isabela.

Similarities between Binay and Obama touched off some interesting facts between other past US and Philippine presidents.

Former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower was supposedly elected because he was a retired military general, much like former President Fidel Ramos.

Actor Ronald Reagan became president of the US mainly because he was very popular, much like former President Joseph Estrada, a former action movie star.

Current US President George W. Bush and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are both progeny of former presidents.

But seriously, Binay, who refuses to confirm or deny if he will run for president in 2010, said he is inspired by Obama’s victory “because the issues will be the same here in the Philippines.”

According to him, Obama won because of the perception that outgoing President Bush failed miserably in the administration and management of government.

“His platform was change. Here in the Philippines, it’s also time to reform and prevent wide-scale corruption, hunger and poverty, violation of human rights. Isyu din kay Mrs. Arroyo yan (those are the same issues against Mrs. Arroyo),” he said.

Binay said Filipinos also need change or reform, considering what they have unfortunately experienced under the present administration.

“Millions are hungry, many are poor, many are missing, there is breakdown of peace and order, unemployment is terrible,” he said.

“I’m looking forward, this is my sixth term. I’ve been part of the executive since 1986,” Binay noted.

According to him, Makati was bankrupt and in disarray when he first became mayor, and the transformation of the locality into the country’s financial and business capital would be a real and living example of what he can do.

In a congratulatory message to the new US president-elect, Binay said, “We rejoice that there is now an opportunity for change under the leadership of Barack Obama.”

Erap 2010 But for actor Rez Cortez, deposed president Estrada should get a second shot at Malacañang in 2010 because of popular clamor.

In an interview with The STAR, Cortez said the signature campaign of his group Erap for President in 2010 Movement is almost done.

“The gathering of signatures in Davao, Cebu, Leyte and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao region is now ready for transport to our mother base in Manila. It will be counted and authenticated and by April next year, we would be ready to present at least three million signatures to President Estrada,” Cortez said.

Cortez said they look up to Estrada because he is the epitome of a true public servant who gives top priority to the poor.

“I believe that President Estrada will have no other choice but to run for president in 2010 once he receives the authenticated signatures of the voters clamoring for him to run,” Cortez said, adding that even policemen want Estrada to run for president again.

“That is the sentiment of the people in all places that we have gone to,” said Cortez, whose group earlier this year distributed stickers that said “ERAP 2010.”

Only the brave Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando expressed confidence that the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) would pick him as their official presidential candidate in 2010.

“I believe that I am the only one brave enough to run for the presidency and if there won’t be anybody else who wants to run (under Lakas-CMD), then I think I’ll be the one to be endorsed by the party,” said Fernando, known for his strong-arm tactics as MMDA chairman in enforcing laws against traffic obstruction and illegal vendors. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Charlie Lagasca, Michael Punongbayan

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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