Binay to Koko: Formal resignation non-issue

Ayee Macaraig
Vice President Jejomar Binay scoffs at Senator Koko Pimentel's request for him to formalize his resignation from PDP-Laban through a letter

CONDITION PRECEDENT? Vice President Jejomar Binay questions Senator Koko Pimentel's request for him to formalize his resignation from PDP-Laban through a letter.

MANILA, Philippines – “Issue ba iyon? (Is that an issue?) I’m not aware of that.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay scoffed at Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s request for him to formalize his resignation from his party of 3 decades through a letter.

Binay commented on Pimentel’s request after announcing that he is leaving the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) through the media without informing Pimentel. Binay was the party’s chairman while Pimentel is PDP-Laban president. Binay said he is forming his own party instead.

The Vice President said he was not aware Pimentel was asking him for a formal resignation.

Ang tanong ko naman: issue ba iyon? Is that a condition precedent? Okay lang. He’s entitled to his opinion,” Binay said in an interview at his Pag-IBIG Fund office in Makati on Monday, March 3. (My question is: is that an issue?)

Binay also dismissed Pimentel’s statement that after he bolted PDP-Laban, the party will now leave the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which Binay founded with former President Joseph Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) for the 2013 polls.

“That will be their decision because we are not members of PDP. Because that is one of the things that triggered this. We, PDP-Laban, were part of setting up UNA so as a party, we were bound [to the alliance]. But then they did not follow it. So if the leadership of PDP decides to leave, that’s their decision. Our [new] party will likely join the coalition,” Binay said.

Binay’s words harked back to his rift with Pimentel in 2013. Back then, Pimentel was a founding leader of UNA but decided to leave the alliance after Binay and Estrada accepted his fierce political rival, resigned Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. Pimentel ran under the administration ticket Team PNoy.

The senator took exception to Zubiri’s inclusion in the slate despite his strong objection while Binay argued that Pimentel did not honor the agreement to respect the nominees of PMP.

Pimentel filed an electoral sabotage case against Zubiri over the 2007 polls and accused him of depriving him of 4 out of 6 years of his Senate term. Zubiri belatedly resigned in 2011 amid mounting evidence of fraud.

Over the weekend, Binay also said that cracks in the party started even in the 2010 polls. Binay’s spokesman, Joey Salgado, told Rappler that the vice president was referring to the decision of Pimentel’s sister, Gwendolyn, to run for senator under the Nacionalista Party (NP) in 2010 instead of the Estrada-Binay ticket.

‘Binay: My party one of principles’

Binay said he decided to form a new party to clarify the confusion surrounding his political affiliation.

“Because many people were asking me to join our party but it would be so unfair for me to say ‘Yes, join us’ and then leave the party they are joining,” he said.

Asked what will make his yet-to-be-named party unique, Binay said, “Hopefully, the big difference people see is this is not a party of personalities. This will be a party of principles.”

The Vice President said that aside from the incumbent UNA officials, a likely addition to his new party is the President’s uncle, former Tarlac Rep Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr, who was also part of UNA and PDP-Laban.

“[He] might [join] because there are also disgruntled Laban members. Historically, PDP and Laban were separate parties. PDP at that time was led by Senator Nene Pimentel while we were with Senator [Bobby] Tañada, and Ninoy Aquino in Laban. The two parties decided to merge. The way things are going now, those belonging to Laban are no longer happy,” Binay said.

Besides partnering with PMP under UNA, Binay said it is possible his new party will also coalesce with more parties.

“We would not know. Maybe other parties want to join our coalition. After all, the coalition was accredited by Comelec in the 2013 elections. If the others want to join, then the coalition will decide,” he said.

Binay said the new party is still in its early stages, lacking a mission-vision and other “finishing touches.” He plans to launch the party on June 12, Independence Day.

HAPPIER TIMES. Joey de Venecia, Senator Koko Pimentel, Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Senator Nene Pimentel were together during the 30th anniversary celebration of PDP-Laban two years ago. File photo

Nene Pimentel: No need for Binay to inform me

Pimentel said Binay’s decision to leave PDP-Laban will not affect the party because the vice president was “not active” lately.

The exchange of words is the latest sign of the deterioration of ties between the two political families. The Binays and Pimentels have been together in PDP-Laban for about 30 years. (READ: Binay-Pimentel: The ties that bind)

Binay and former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr were the top leaders of PDP-Laban during the Marcos years until Pimentel retired in 2010 and passed on the party leadership to his son. In previous interviews, the younger Pimentel referred to Binay as his mentor.

Yet Zubiri’s inclusion in UNA in 2013 changed the relationship.

Former Senator Pimentel took graciously Binay’s decision leave the party they forged through the years. 

Asked if Binay talked to him about leaving, Nene Pimentel told Rappler, “No, he has not and he doesn’t have to. I am no longer active in party politics. When he makes his move public, it will be fair game for all.” –