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‘Bin-Go, not Bi-Hon’

Photo from GMA News Online shows Vice President Jejomar Binay welcoming Sen. Gringo Honasan at the blessing of the United Nationalist Alliance headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on June 24.

MANILA, Philippines - It’s “Bin-Go” not “Bi-Hon,” Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday, referring to what he believed was a more pleasing acronym for his emerging tandem with Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan in the 2016 elections.

He blurted out “Bingo,” an apparent play on Binay and Gringo, when asked to confirm a story that he was tapping Honasan as his running mate. Binay is running for president under the United Nationalist Alliance or UNA.

As part of the party’s protocol, Binay told The STAR that the selection committee, headed by UNA president Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, should be the one to make the official announcement.

“We have an agreement within the party that when it comes to matters like that  we’ll let the selection committee make the statements and explanations,” he said.

When asked about his reported meeting with Honasan, the Vice President said: “We always talk to each other.”

Sen. Vicente Sotto III confirmed that Binay and Honasan talked about their upcoming tandem in a meeting yesterday. “It will likely be Bin-Go, not Bi-Hon,” Sotto said. He said the meeting of the two was “cordial.”

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“Senator Honasan is very, very organized. Sen. Honasan got more than 10 million votes in the 2013 elections,” Binay told reporters after attending a roundtable discussion with The STAR editors, columnists and reporters yesterday.

“He will be the strongest (candidate) if ever,” he added.

The Vice President said Honasan still received high ratings in popularity surveys even if he has not yet declared his vice presidential bid.

The STAR reported on Monday that Honasan, a Bicol native and UNA vice president, was chosen over Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for Binay’s running mate.

A well-placed source from UNA said party leaders and close friends of the Vice President rallied behind Honasan.

Binay also noted that four Bicolanos will likely vie for the vice presidency next year – Honasan, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Sens. Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Robredo was officially announced yesterday as running mate of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II. Escudero is Sen. Grace Poe’s running mate.

Trillanes announced his vice presidential bid last Saturday.

A former human rights lawyer, Binay had considered running with Marcos.

Binay also used to clash with Honasan, who plotted coups against the late President Corazon Aquino.

Like a good soldier, Honasan declared readiness to abide by whatever is decided by UNA.

“The UNA party which I am helping organize is deliberating on it. A decision will be made and I will subordinate myself to that decision,” said Honasan.

“Of course, I will have to make sure that my family and my friends are 100 percent behind that decision, whatever it is, because unless they are behind me – my family especially – I cannot be behind anybody 100 percent,” he added.

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