“My conscience is clear. I’m not part of it.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday made the statement as he denied having a hand in a petition to unseat pre-election survery frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe.
He was reacting to speculations that the petition filed by radio commentator Rizalito David was part of the opposition’s smear campaign against Poe, who edged out Binay in recent presidential preference surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.
David — whose petition before the Senate Electoral Tribunal was accepted on Thursday after he managed to pay the P50,000 filing fee — claimed that the senator should be kicked out of the Senate for being a foundling and for not being a natural-born Filipino.
“Basta’t ako, lalo na ako, malinis ang konsensya ko diyan. Nalaman ko nga lang kagabi [As far as I’m concerned, my conscience is clear. I just found out last night],” he told reporters in Tarlac on Thursday.
The Vice President snapped at a reporter who asked if his camp intends to file a similar petition questioning Poe’s eligibility to run for higher office in next year’s elections.
“Wag mo na akong ipagdiinan. Alam mo pinagsususpetsahan na nga ako… Huhulihin mo pa ako. Kahit ako’y natutulog, palibhasa hindi ho ako talaga kasama diyan. Malinis ang konsensya ko diyan. Sinasabi ko nga sa’yo wala akong nalalaman [Stop insisting. Some people are already suspecting me and you still want to bait me. Even if I’m asleep, I’m not part of it. My cpnscience is clear. I’m telling you, I don’t know anything],” he said.
Binay, however, said the petition would be beneficial to everybody as it would once and for all answer nagging questions about Poe’s eligibility.
“The Filipino people will benefit from this so that once and for all the issue would get settled,” he said in Filipino.
Miriam, Bongbong as VP
Binay, moreover, confirmed that the opposition party’s search committee has short-listed Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to be his possible running mate in 2016.
He declined to give further details.
Santiago, who is battling lung cancer, shot to prominence in the late 1980s because of her feisty image in fighting graft and corruption when she was Immigration Commissioner.
She earlier issued a statement that she was considering running for President in 2016 after announcing that her cancer is now “under control.”
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., meanwhile, is not discounting the possibility of teaming up with Binay in 2016 but admitted that he has no idea how the tandem would play out.
“Of course it is viable. Why not? As I said, all of them are possible, that is why they are being discussed,” Marcos said also on Thursday.
He, however, added that he is yet to speak to the Vice President about the matter although they have been in constant touch.
Marcos admitted to having discussed the matter with Navotas City (Metro Manila) Rep.
Tobias Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), who is the husband of his first cousin.
“We have talked about it, but very much in that process of speculating,” he replied when asked if Tiangco made an offer for him to be Binay’s running mate.
Marcos, whose term in the Senate is about to wind up, said he is yet to decide if he will run for a higher position in 2016.
He added that there are many options available to him, including running for President, Vice President or just seeking for reelection and he does not want to force himself to make a decision at this point.
“Once there is something to tell, believe me, I will announce it because the people have to know what you are doing. If I could announce it six months ago, I would have,” the senator said.
According to Marcos, he is grateful that he is being considered by Binay to be his running mate but he noted that the decision especially at the national level involves a part, which in his case is the Nacionalista Party (NP).
“That applies not only to UNA, that applies also to the group of [Davao City Mayor Rodrigo] Duterte, that also applies to the other groups. I know you would like for me to give you a categorical answer, but I don’t have a categorical [one],” he explained.
When asked if his reluctance in declaring his political plans in 2016 stems from concerns that his political rivals would start making issues against him, Marcos said it is not a factor in his decision-making.
“They have been doing it to me for 30 years. That is nothing new. If you are afraid of being a target of black propaganda, then get out of politics because in politics everybody is prone to issues, that is part of the job,” he added.