Binay still counting on Erap’s support in 2016

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay believes he still has the support of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada in his presidential bid in 2016.

Binay made the statement amid reports that Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s presumptive standard-bearer, is wooing Estrada’s endorsement for the 2016 elections.

“We were together in good times and bad times. President Erap was a big factor why I was elected vice president,” Binay said.

Asked whether the former president’s pronouncement that Roxas was his best Cabinet secretary during his term would have any bearing in the latter’s future survey ratings, Binay said, “I don’t know. Let’s leave it to President Erap.

“As you know, President Erap is fond of making jokes and they are being quoted in media,” he said.

Estrada and Roxas attended the launching of a housing project in the city of Manila last week.

Roxas served as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry during Estrada’s term.

He resigned from his post after allegations of corruption were hurled at Estrada. Estrada was impeached as president in 2001.

Estrada said that he has not endorsed anybody yet for the 2016 presidential elections.

But Estrada earlier said he will personally campaign for the tandem of Binay for president and Sen. Grace Poe for vice president should they agree to join forces in 2016.

Meanwhile, Binay said he thinks his survey numbers are coming back as the people now realize the alleged lies of his critics.

“You know one of the reasons my ratings slipped for a time, despite maintaining the lead, is because of the perception that was created by our opponents,” he said.

“It came to a point that people realized that these are all lies and it is politically motivated, so my numbers have returned,” Binay said.

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 showed Binay leading the list of possible presidential candidates for 2016 with 37 percent of votes of 1,800 respondents nationwide.

Binay is followed by Poe with 21 percent and Roxas with 19 percent.

Binay’s rating in the November presidential survey of Pulse Asia fell to 26 from 41 percent in June amid various corruption allegations against him.

The Vice President believes that the worst of the attacks is not over.

“Well, let’s hope and pray. Maybe the attacks against me won’t stop. It will continue,” he said, adding he will remain focused on his job.

“Let me just concentrate more on what I have to do under this administration. The elections are still far,” he said.

Binay’s allies

Allies of Binay in the House of Representatives said yesterday his favorable showing in the latest

SWS is a form of vindication after several months of being at the receiving end of media attacks.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco in separate statements said the SWS poll that showed Binay obtaining 37 percent as preferred presidential candidate suggested that he has solid following among Filipinos that cannot be weakened by political attacks and filing of unsubstantiated charges.

“There is no doubt that the SWS survey is a vindication of sorts for VP Binay. This only means that he has a solid base among the masses and more and more Filipinos are convinced that the allegations on the vice president are devoid of truth and politically motivated,” said Gatchalian, whose party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, is allied with the administration.

He said the fact the survey was “unaided,” meaning the respondents answered the survey question off the top of their heads, is an indicator of “Binay’s strong popularity among the people, despite the continuous propaganda onslaught against his person and his family.” – With Paolo Romero

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