Jojo Binay was not born into wealth and political prestige, nor did he taste the privileges accorded to the scions of the rich and powerful.
A true man of the common people, Jojo Binay grew up in Makati and Pasay. Orphaned at an early age, he supported himself through law school, shunned the corporate world for the parliament of the streets, and stood tall at the barricades at EDSA during those glorious four days in February 1986.
For 20 years, Jojo Binay presided over the phenomenal growth of his Makati, steering the once backward municipality into a vibrant and modern metropolis. Under his governance, the people of Makati shared in the fruits of economic progress through groundbreaking programs in education, health and social welfare. And as president of the United Opposition (UNO), Jojo Binay crusaded against political tyranny, inequality, injustice, ignorance and poverty, endearing him to the masses.
Jejomar “Jojo”Binay was born on November 11, 1942 to Diego Binay of Batangas and Lourdes Cabauatan of Isabela. Orphaned at the age of nine, his uncle Ponciano of Culi-Culi, Makati took care of him.
As a young boy, Jojo would collect slop (kaning baboy) for his uncle’s backyard piggery, clean the front yard early in the morning, and look after his uncle’s fighting cocks. Afterwards, he would go to the public market for his daily errands.
Jojo is a product of the Philippine public school system. He graduated with honors from the Philippine Normal College Training Department, and the University of the Philippines Preparatory School. He also had to work to stay in school. He graduated with a degree in political science and Bachelor of Laws from the UP College of Law.
He passed the bar exams in 1968, and took masteral subjects in public administration and law in UP and the University of Sto. Tomas, respectively.
In between jobs and earning degrees, he gave lectures and taught law, political science and public administration at the then Philippine College of Commerce, Philippine Women’s University and St. Scholastica’s College.
He stood up against the dictator during Martial Law and was put into prison for defending political prisoners. He had just gotten married then, to Dr. Elenita Sombillo, who bore their first baby while he was in prison.
A defender of human rights, he became active in different groups and organizations that seek justice for everyone, especially the poor.
He joined the August Twenty-One Movement, so named after the death of Ninoy Aquino,and was one of the founders of MABINI, the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc., with some of the prominent figures in the anti-dictatoship movement. Jojo Binay stood tall at the barricades of EDSA during the February 1986 Revolution that ushered in an era of democracy.
After the EDSA Revolution, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Jojo acting mayor of Makati. Jojo was Mrs. Aquino’s first appointed local official.
Jojo later won, on his own, the mayorship of Makati in 1988 and was reelected in 1992 and 1995. He returned to Makati in 2001 and served three full terms.
He is known to be tough, fearless. But he has a soft heart for the young. And for family. He knows how important elders are in the family, more so in a city that has been through the worst. He values their contribution to society and the city, and he wants to give back to them. That’s why in Makati, senior citizens receive benefits unheard of elsewhere.
Jojo Binay knew poverty, but he saw wealth in education. As mayor, he built the best equipped public schools in the country, provided public school students with free school supplies and books from pre-school to college.
As a student activist, he used to rebel against a system where only the rich could get the best health services. He has done something about it. In Makati, medicines and hospital accommodations are free for the poor.
Despite his sterling achievements as a student, human rights lawyer, and local chief executive, Jojo still took up graduate studies at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), the Command and General Staff College (CGSC), the Center for Research and Communication (now known as the University of Asia and the Pacific), the Joint Services Command Staff College (JSCSC), and the UP School of Urban and regional Planning. He was senior executive fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Jojo is also active in civic work. He is the national president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and an officer of various international organizations. He also holds the rank of Colonel in the Philippine Navy Reserve Force.
In 1998, Jojo was appointed Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) with cabinet rank. He was also appointed as Vice-chairman of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and Traffic Czar for Metro Manila.
Jojo Binay and his wife Elen are blessed with five children – Maria Lourdes Nancy, Mar-len Abigail, Jejomar Erwin, Marita Angeline, and Joanna Marie Blanca. They are his inspiration, and provide support in every challenge he faces.
Jejomar Binay has become an inspiration and a model to other leaders of the nation. A city is a country. The mayor is faced with problems that bother countries, and presidents. He has triumphed over the challenges that he has faced in Makati. As Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, he is ready to do his share in facing the new challenges in his career and in the life of the nation.