Convince us VP will continue reforms, says Palace
Hoping against hope, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday said he continues to believe that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will eventually pick him as a wild card in the 2016 presidential polls.
“Nandoon pa rin ang aking paniniwala na pagdating ng oras ay dadating ako sa yugto na kokonsiderahin niya ako. Konsiderasyon lang naman [I still believe that time will come that he will consider me. Just a consideration],” Binay told a media forum in Manila.
“Basta umaasa ako na hanggang sa huling sandali, hanggang sa araw ng halalan, makokonsidera ako. Mayroon namang suportang patalikod [I’m still hoping that until the last minute, until election day, I’ll be considered. I’ve been getting discreet support],” he said.
A faction of Aquino’s supporters known as the Samar group, which had included Sen. Francis Escudero, dropped its support for the official Liberal Party candidate for Vice President, Manuel Roxas 2nd, and pushed for a Noy-Bi or an Aquino-Binay tandem in the 2010 elections.
Binay, the presumptive standard-bearer of the opposition and the only politician who has been openly announcing that he is standing for the presidency in 2016, has been a long-time ally of the Aquinos.
A human rights lawyer during the dark days of martial law, he was the first local government official appointed by the first Aquino government when it took power in 1986. Binay, a former mayor of Makati City (Metro Manila) was a close ally of the late former President Corazon Aquino, the incumbent President’s mother.
The younger Aquino, then a senator, and Binay belonged to a loose alliance opposed to the regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Binay won the 2010 race for Vice President by getting 41.65 percent of the total votes cast or 14.6 million votes as against Roxas who got 39.58 percent or 13.9 million votes.
Roxas, who gave way to Aquino and slid down to become his running mate, was named Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.
Although he belongs to the other side of the political fence, Aquino, meanwhile, appointed Binay to his Cabinet and made him the government’s “housing czar” as well as the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers affairs.
At Wednesday’s forum, Binay when asked when he will resign from his post said he will announce it at the right time.
“Eventually darating tayo dun. Sa ngayon secret [We will come to that, but now it’s a secret],” he added.
Reacting to Binay’s pronouncement, Malacañang said the Vice President may only get Aquino’s endorsement if he could convince the President that he will continue Aquino’s anti-corruption reforms.
Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda did not comment on questions pertaining to Aquino’s endorsement.
“It’s far too early for us to say anything. It’s the prerogative of the President to make his choice, and until such time, everything will be speculation,” he said also on Wedensday.
Last month, the President said Roxas remains “on top of the list” of his choices for 2016.
The Liberal Party (LP) is expected to announce its standard-bearer for the 2016 elections right after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, according to the party’s vice chairman, Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Drilon said the announcement will be made “between July 28 and 31.” He, however, refused to say if Aquino will choose Roxas as his candidate.
Sen. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who placed second in recent pre-election presidential surveys, is also said to be on Aquino’s shortlist.
Radio station dzBB reported that the President and Poe had a meeting on Wednesday, specifically to discuss plans for 2016. It quoted Poe as its source.
Lacierda’ however, said there was no meeting with the senator in the President’s official schedule for the day.
“We’ll verify,” he added.
‘No Poe-Chiz’ for NPC
The Vice President also on Wednesday said there was no truth to reports that the Nationalist People’s Coalition has decided to go for a Poe-Escudero tandem.
“I talked to an official of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and I was told that the party has not endorsed the tandem of [Poe] and Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero for the 2016 presidential and vice presidential elections,” Binay noted.
At present, the NPC–which was formed in 1991 to push for the presidential run of industrialist Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.–has 48 members in Congress with Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd and Loren Legarda as members in the Senate.
Mar will run
Roxas, the presumptive administration candidate in next year’s elections, has reportedly announced that he will gun for the presidency in 2016.
Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Rep. Edgar Erice, chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) political affairs committee, disclosed that Roxas made the announcement during a meeting at “Balay” last Monday. “Balay” refers to the Roxas residence in Cubao, Quezon City.
“He told us that we would be campaigning together in 2016. Yes, definitely, he will run for President. He said he is ready to continue the programs started by the Aquino administration,” Erice told reporters.
“Mas maliwanag pa yan sa sikat ng araw na tatakbo siya. Nagpalakpakan kami [It’s clear as sunshine. He is running in 2016. We applauded him after his speech].”
“He [Roxas] is passionate about what he is saying,” Erice added.
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI AND JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA