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UNA: It’s a go for Bin-Go

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Two decades ago they were political foes, with then Makati mayor Jejomar Binay among the defenders of President Corazon Aquino during coup attempts launched by rebel soldiers led by Gregorio Honasan.

Yesterday, after attending mass at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Vice President Binay and Senator Honasan formalized their teamup for the  2016 elections.

With dozens of supporters in tow, Binay and Honasan walked a few blocks to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office to file their certificates of candidacy or COCs for president and vice president, respectively, of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

The two were among the early birds filing their COCs yesterday shortly before 8 a.m.

Candidates have until Oct. 16 to file their COCs.

Earlier yesterday, the Vice President also joined a group of Intramuros residents in a boodle fight.

Several personalities, including Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, former Zambales representative Mitos Magsaysay, former Candaba mayor Jerry Pelayo and supporters from different sectors also trooped to the Comelec office to show their support for the Binay-Honasan tandem.

UNA picked Honasan as Binay’s running mate after negotiations with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. collapsed.

Marcos is running as an independent vice presidential candidate in next year’s polls.

In an interview with reporters yesterday, Honasan denied that he was forced by UNA to be Binay’s running mate.

“It was my family whom I convinced. My youngest child told me, ‘Papa, when I was born you were not there. When I was baptized, you were not there. When I graduated in high school you were not there. When I turned 18 you were not there also. Now that you already have a lot of shortcomings, and I’m nearing to forgive you, and be my friend, you’ll leave us again,’” Honasan told reporters.

Honasan earlier said his family was against his vice presidential bid.

“They understand that this is a call of duty. I am a good soldier. I am the result of the process that the party went through so I will follow the party that I am helping to organize,” he said.

Honasan also dismissed queries that he had felt slighted being the party’s last choice as Binay’s running mate.

Binay unsuccessfully wooed several individuals to be his running mate, including Sens. Grace Poe and Marcos, businessman Manny Pangilinan and Pag-IBIG head Darlene Berberabe.

“I do not have the luxury of an ego. I do not have a ‘stariray’ complex,” Honasan said.

Asked about his low ratings in electoral surveys, the 67-year-old senator said their campaign would not be based on popularity but on platforms and programs.

“The VP and I stand on a solid platform and program of governance which is poverty alleviation, employment and security,” he said.

Honasan said he and Binay would likely campaign separately next year.

“We agreed that when he declared his intention to run for president three years ago he already touched based with his constituency, so we will be campaigning basically separately so I can sweep the areas which he had already been when he first campaigned,” he said.

“We will be together, when we need to, but that will be very rare, of course we will be together on Election Day,” he said, to which the Vice President replied, “And after.”

But Honasan added, “God-willing.”

Honasan said he does not mind running with the Vice President despite their past differences.

Binay used to clash with Honasan, who led several coup attempts against the late President Corazon Aquino.

The Vice President owes his political break to Aquino, who appointed him officer-in-charge of Makati in 1986.

“Lastly, can you imagine how providence has worked in the case of the Vice President and myself? During the term of the mother of the President, former president (Corazon) Aquino, then mayor Binay and Col. Honasan were looking, were hunting for each other, now we have found each other,” the senator said.

“We’re fighting each other for principle, then mayor Binay fighting for a principle under the Aquino administration, I was fighting for a cause with the reform movement,” Honasan said, adding they were fighting for the same principle “that cuts across the ideological, political and social and even religious landscape.”

While its presidential and vice presidential bets have laid their cards on the table, UNA has yet to come up with its senatorial slate.

UNA president Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said so far the party has two senatorial candidates: Parañaque City councilor and actress Alma Moreno and Jacel Kiram of the Sultanate of Sulu.

He said talks with other possible candidates are still ongoing.

Tiangco also said the Vice President is open to the idea of having common or guest candidates for UNA should the party fail to complete its slate.

 

ACIRC ALMA MORENO AND JACEL KIRAM OF THE SULTANATE OF SULU AQUINO BINAY BINAY AND COL HONASAN PRESIDENT PRESIDENT CORAZON AQUINO VICE VICE PRESIDENT WHEN I
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