Makati City Rep. Mar-Len Abigail “Abi” Binay on Thursday called for an end to the word war between her father’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Sen. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, as she offered to mediate and fix the broken political ties between the two emerging presidential election frontrunners.
“We believe that only the courts could resolve this issue. This should not degenerate into a personal argument among lawyers who have differing opinions on the matter. This will get nowhere and will only heat up the rift between my father and Senator Poe,” she said in Filipino in a news conference.
The issue that the lawmaker was referring to is the senator’s Filipino citizenship, or lack of it, which, according to critics, disqualifies her from running for the presidency in the 2016 elections.
Binay, the second eldest child of Vice President Jejomar Binay, also appealed to the public to disassociate her father from what UNA interim president, Navotas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Tobias Tiangco, is doing.
“Ang ama ko ay lumaking ulila. Hindi niya gagawin na maliitin ang pangyayari sa buhay ni Senator Poe dahil siya ay may alam kung gaano ito kahirap at kasakit para sa isang anak. Alam ni Senator Poe na minahal ng aking ama ang kaniyang tatay na si FPJ bilang tunay na kaibigan. Ito ay isang katotohanang di kayang kuwestyunin ninuman.”
[My father grew up an orphan. It’s not in his character to belittle what happened to Senator Poe’s life because he too knows how difficult and painful this is. Senator Poe knows how my father loved her father, Fernando Poe Jr., as a true friend. This is the truth that no one could ever question],” she said.
The senator is the only child of Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ, “Action King” of Philippine movies, and equally acclaimed actress Susan Roces.
The congresswoman, also a lawyer, said she and her father have never discussed the possibility of questioning Poe’s qualifications before the court if ever she guns for a higher position in next year’s polls.
The word war between UNA and Poe escalated this week after Tiangco told reporters that she is not qualified to stand for either President or Vice President in the 2016 elections because she allegedly fails to meet the 10-year residency requirement prescribed by the 1987 Constitution.
The UNA interim president based his argument on Poe’s signed Certificate of Candidacy in the 2013 balloting where it was indicated that she has been a resident of the Philippines for 6 years and 6 months.
Poe, meanwhile, insisted that she is very much qualified, saying she has been residing in the country since 2005 after returning from the United States for good after the death of her father in December 2014.
It is believed that Tiangco made the statement in retaliation for Poe’s signing of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee report that recommended filing of plunder charges against the Vice President in connection with alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 project.
Poe was inching forward in pre-election presidential surveys, placing a close second to Binay, whose ratings suffered a drop primarily because of the Senate investigation of his alleged wrongdoing.
Congresswoman Binay, however, said they are not at all bothered by Poe’s ascent in the ratings.
“If Senator Poe decides to run, we’ll respect this and my father would accept this. That’s her right,” she added. “We can’t do anything if fate would have it that we will have to part ways.”
The younger Binay said she decided to come out and make a public call as she does not want things to get out of control.
“I want to put a stop to this. It’s getting heated up. We used to belong to one group, one family. I don’t want things to worsen because at the end of the day, we value friendship. We have deeper personal ties than political. I’m here to help hot heads cool down,” she added in Filipino.