Drilon: LP not adopting Binay as presidential bet

Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2014 - 4:32pm

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon denied on Tuesday that the Liberal Party (LP) is keen on adopting Vice President Jejomar Binay as its standard-bearer in the 2016 elections.

Drilon, an LP executive committee member, said there has been no discussion on the rumored plan of his party.

"All I can say is that the spin masters are having their day. There is no such thing (plan to adopt Binay)," Drilon said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

The Senate leader said LP's decision will still be influenced by President Aquino, the party's chair.

"Certainly, the president will anoint somebody who will continue the reforms and who can show that indeed he is a candidate that has supported the reforms that were done by the president," he said when asked if LP would select someone outside the party.

But Drilon also said that the LP will support Interior Secretary Mar Roxas if and when he finally makes his decision to run for president.

Asked on whether a coalition between the LP and Binay is possible, Drilon said "anything is possible under the sun."

On Monday, Binay said he had received raw information that the LP was considering either to adopt him in 2016 or to coalesce with the United Nationalist Alliance.

Binay, however, said there were no formal discussions yet on the matter, but he added that "nothing is impossible in politics."

Senator Serge Osmena said it was a "good political gambit" on the part of the vice president to say that the LP was supposedly considering to adopt him.

"In other words, if you read between the lines, ang sinasabi ni VP Binay, 'mukhang mahina ang kandidato ng LP, kunin mo na lang si Binay,'" Osmeña said.

Read: Noy's LP 'adopting' Binay? Mar unaware

While consistently garnering high scores in performance and election surveys, Binay has made no secret of his plan to seek the presidency in 2016.

Binay's rumored adoption by the LP comes after President Aquino urged Filipinos during his fifth State of the Nation Address last week to choose a presidential candidate who would continue the reforms of his administration.

"What I can tell you is this: if you wish continue and even accelerate the transformation of society, there can only be one basis for choosing my successor: Who will, without a shred of doubt, continue the transformation we are achieving?" Aquino said.

Meantime, Malacañang said the President's priority right now is the implementation of his reforms and not the 2016 elections.

"Wala namang mindset o preoccupation na mag-iisip na tungkol sa kandidato o sa kampanya dahil nga sa panahong ito, mas mahalaga pa rin 'yung pagpapatupad sa mga naipangako," Coloma said. (with a report from Dennis Carcamo)

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