Binay welcomes support from all
Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2014 - 1:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay welcomes support from members of other political parties, including the ruling Liberal Party (LP), for his presidential bid in 2016.

Binay issued the statement yesterday after some members of the LP reportedly expressed their support for him despite accusations of corruption raised against him by former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado.

The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee is investigating Mercado’s allegations. The Vice President’s camp said the corruption allegations were part of efforts by his political foes to discredit him and ruin his chances in 2016. Binay remains the front-runner in presidential surveys.

Binay’s statement also came on the heels of President Aquino’s pronouncement that the latter may endorse a non-LP candidate as party standard-bearer in the next polls.

Binay said LP leaders would try to find ways to make sure they remain in power after 2016 so “any option to retain that objective, to remain in power,” is expected.

“Many in the LP now are getting nervous,” Binay told STAR editors yesterday at the Coconut Palace.

Binay said he is still convinced Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II would end up as LP’s standard bearer in 2016.

Binay earlier tagged Roxas as the one spearheading what he called a smear campaign against him.

P-Noy’s choice immaterial

Joey Salgado, Binay spokesman for media affairs, said regardless of the President’s choice, there are LP members who have already signified support for the Vice President.

Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said some of his LP colleagues in the House of Representatives have long been sympathetic to Binay but opted to keep quiet to avoid punishment from the party of President Aquino.

“I can’t say exactly how many they are but I’m sure that they will come out as we near 2016. The other LPs, they are also practical politicians, they know they need to join the winner, and we welcome them,” Tiangco said in a telephone interview.

UNA is headed by Binay together with Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. 

Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, a stalwart of UNA, said members of pro-administration parties continue to express their intention to ally themselves with Binay despite attempts to discredit him.

Tambunting said the ongoing Senate investigation against Binay has not dampened the resolve of some LP and other pro-administration lawmakers to join UNA.

He also said there were several other individuals seeking to be included in UNA’s senatorial slate.

Asked if some of their allies are leaving Binay’s camp, he said: “None. In fact, more people want to join us.”

He said the LP lawmakers have requested that their names be withheld as they pointed out vicious attacks against Binay and his supporters by leaders of the ruling party.

He said the commitment of lawmakers and other national and local political leaders to join the UNA is firm, as they believe that charges against Binay are all baseless and unfounded.

A senior LP lawmaker admitted there are party members who like Binay more than Roxas, who continues to trail in the polls.

The lawmaker, however, said the LP members, particularly lawmakers and local officials, are also worried that UNA might already be grooming this early possible electoral opponents against them.

“There are LP members close to Binay but at the same time, they are aware of UNA members in their respective districts who may run against them in the elections,” the lawmaker said.

Despite reports of a falling out between him and the President, Binay maintained they remain good friends.

However, he said they have not talked politics in their recent meetings.

Binay would not also divulge his choice for running mate, saying he wouldn’t want him or her to have political enemies this early.

He said he is looking at an economist or a successful businessman as potential running mate.

Some names floated as Binay’s possible running mate are Sens. Grace Poe and Jinggoy Estrada, businessman Manuel Pangilinan and boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

Binay said he remains determined to run for president even as he expects the attacks against him to intensify. Paolo Romero

 

BINAY CITY REP COCONUT PALACE ERNESTO MERCADO GRACE POE AND JINGGOY ESTRADA MEMBERS PRESIDENT PRESIDENT AQUINO UNA VICE PRESIDENT
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