MANILA, Philippines – While he often refuses to discuss politics, Vice President Jejomar Binay did not miss the chance to thank the Aquino sisters for saying they are open to supporting him for president.
Binay issued a statement in reaction to pronouncements of President Benigno Aquino III’s sisters on the possibility that their brother will endorse him in the 2016 polls.
“I am humbled that they see me as someone who can continue the good programs of the President,” the Vice President said in a statement on Thursday, August 7.
“I share their view that the welfare of our kababayans (compatriots) should always come first and should not be compromised by partisan politics,” he added.
Binay is not a member of the President’s Liberal Party, which is believed to be fielding Interior Secrertary Manuel Roxas II, but is close friend of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. (READ: Mar Roxas on 2016 election: I can defeat Binay – again)
Binay again hailed the personal ties between his and Aquino’s family, calling it “a bond that transcended politics.”
“I am glad that Ballsy and Kris have affirmed this bond and I will always be grateful for their trust and support,” he said.
Binay has long been a family friend of the Aquinos. A human rights lawyer, he was a supporter of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship during martial law. Cory Aquino appointed Binay officer-in-charge mayor of Makati in 1986 during her presidency, launching his political career.
This week, the Vice President said he got word of the possibility that President Aquino will “adopt” him as LP standard-bearer in 2016. (READ: LP sets criteria for allies. Guess who’s ‘disqualified’)
Actress and presidential sister Kris Aquino then fuelled the talk on her TV show Aquino & Abunda Tonight by saying that she and her sisters are open to the idea.
“Kami ng mga sister ko naman pinag-uusapan namin ‘yan. Sinasabi namin puwede naman talagang magkaroon ng unity at puwedeng kung ano kasi hindi naman kami magkaaway. At kung ipagpapatuloy naman niya lahat ng nasimulan ni Noy, why not,” said the president’s youngest sister.
(My sisters and I have been talking about it. We think it’s really possible to have a unity [ticket] because we are not enemies. And if he is going to continue what Noy has started, why not?)
In his statement of “gratitude,” Binay also cited the ABS-CBN report where the president’s eldest sister, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, said she was open to political parties “uniting for the cause of one country.”
“As of now, I really want peace and I’m really so grateful to people who even if they’re not in the same party are just thinking of ways to just improve our country, to improve the lives of the people,” Binay quoted Cruz as saying.
“Iilan lang matatapang na kumalaban sa diktadurya, isa na siya doon. Kaya may pinagsamahan kami, lahat ng pinaghirapan magkasama kami,” Ballsy added, referring to Binay.
(There were only a few who fought the dictatorship, he was one of them. That’s why we have this experience together, in all of the struggles we were together.)
“Kaya ako’y natutuwa na ganoon ang pakiramdam niya, na kung ganoon ang gusto niyang mangyari magpatuloy ang mga napag-umpisahan na ni Noy, eh ‘di magaling,” she said.
(So I am happy that if he feels that way, if that’s what he wants to happen to continue what Noy started, then that’s good.)
Speculation about Aquino possibly endorsing Binay followed the President’s State of the Nation Address where he made a special mention of Binay, citing their experience together when he was ambushed in 1987.
Days later, the Vice President’s daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, said Aquino’s endorsement would be an ‘icing’ on the Vice President’s presidential bid.
Binay’s rival, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, though said that endorsing Binay endangers Aquino’s legacy.
‘No effect on President’
In an interview with Rappler on Thursday, LP stalwart Senate President Franklin Drilon said Kris Aquino’s statement was her “own personal opinion.”
Asked if it had any weight on who the President will endorse, he said, “I don’t think so.”
Drilon has flatly rejected the possibility of LP adopting Binay, calling it “the work of spin masters.” He said the LP is behind Roxas, Binay’s bitter rival, should he publicly announce his presidential bid.
The Senate leader said that the idea that a president from a different party will endorse an official from a rival group showed the need for a political party system in the Philippines.
“Can you imagine? That only shows you the dearth of our institutions in even thinking na ‘Tutal wala kami, dito ka na.’ (Because we don’t have a candidate, come here and join us.) Do you think that will happen with the Conservatives and Liberals in London or the Democrats and Republicans in America?”
Drilon said this is one of the issues that Filipino leaders should work on.
“One of the institutions of democracy we have to reform is our political party system. There is absolutely none. We’re so personality-driven that’s why we have all of these talks because we are all personality-driven.” – Rappler.com
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