VP MVP? Binay considering him in 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay confirmed he is considering businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan as his running mate in 2016. 

In an interview at his Pag-IBIG Fund office in Makati Monday, March 3, Binay said Pangilinan is among the personalities he is eyeing to be his vice presidential candidate.

The former Makati mayor cited Pangilinan’s track record as a “successful businessman” as a factor.

Bakit siya mako-consider? Walang agreement ito ah. Kung bakit siya kino-consider, ako, personally, from my experience as a mayor, eh kung walang revenue, walang project. Eh kung mayroon kang successful businessman, may track record kung paano mag-raise ng revenue sa business side of it [eh di maigi] Iyon ang talent niya,” Binay said.

(Why is he being considered? There is no agreement yet but personally, from my experience as mayor, if there is no revenue, there is no project. If you have a successful businessman with a track record in raising revenue in the business side of it, then that’s good. That's his talent.)

“After all, one of my guiding policies when I was a mayor was to run the city government of Makati as if it [were] a corporate entity.”

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Binay said that in the Philippines, the private sector is known for showing effectiveness and efficiency.

So ang pamamalakad namin doon, iyon ang magiging batayan. Iyong talent niya ng efficiency at effectiveness eh ‘di makakasama namin.” (So the way we run that, that is the basis. His talent in efficiency and effectiveness will be part of our group.)

No formal talks

Binay though clarified that he has not had formal talks with Pangilinan amid reports the businessman is sending feelers. He said he has met with Pangilinan on several occasions but not about the 2016 polls.

“There are no formal talks at our end because we are the ones considering. If we finally feel we go to the next step after considering, that will be the start of the talk,” the Vice President said. 

In October last year, responding to the call of an analyst for him to make good use of his "technocratic skills" and join the 2016 presidential elections, Pangilinan said he has made up his mind he will not run for any government position.

"There is no political blood that runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way," he told reporters via a text message on Oct 15, 2013. (READ: MVP shuns politics)

Elections, he said then, "provide us yet again a rare opportunity to define the country's long-term economic and social priorities, and form a broad consensus around them." He stressed that his role as a businessman is enough to help the country's economy grow, though government's assistance is key.

Pangilinan was once rumored to be eyeing the presidency.

He is considered one of the most powerful men in the country since he is at the helm of companies that are leaders in industries considered crucial to the Philippine economy. These include the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the biggest power player Manila Electric Co., the biggest gold producer Philex, as well as Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., and Maynilad Water Services Inc.

In the same interview on Monday, Binay reiterated that Batangas Governor Vilma Santos is another personality he is considering to be his running mate. On Monday morning, Santos’ husband, Senator Ralph Recto, said the governor has no plans of seeking higher office in 2016.

The Vice President elaborated on his plans for the presidential polls after announcing that he is bolting his party of about 30 years, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to form his own political party. (READ: Binay forms new party)

Meloto, Poe, Pag-IBIG CEO unlikely

Binay also commented on reports naming other public figures as his possible running mates. 

Reacting to an article of columnist Ellen Tordesillas, Binay said it is unlikely that he will run alongside Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto. He said he only heard of Meloto’s name from the report.

“What I know Tony is saying repeatedly is he does not want to run for public office. When we are together as guests in events, he himself says he will not enter politics so I never considered him. Tony can be there as a consultant as he is now helping us in our housing programs,” the housing czar said in Filipino. 

As for 2013 polls frontrunner Senator Grace Poe, Binay said she is being considered but there are complications involved. As an opposition leader, Binay supported the presidential campaign of Poe’s late father, actor Fernando Poe Jr in 2004.

“From where she’s coming from, mukhang hindi siya nagku-kuwan sa oposiyon. Merong nagpo-program para sa kanya. Just to be honest about it,” he said. (It seems she is not with the opposition. Someone is making a plan for her.)

Binay added that he is not considering Pag-IBIG Fund CEO and President Darlene Marie Berberabe because he does not find her to be interested in politics. Binay is the chairman of the Pag-IBIG Fund.

The Vice President said Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing a plunder complaint over the pork barrel scam, is still being “mentioned” in discussions about his running mate.

The Binay criteria

Asked what he is looking for in a running mate, the Vice President said, “If possible, the person should have a track record that will be of help to us in trying to improve further, continue improving [the country]. Who can give that but of course an economist.” 

Binay clarified though that he is still at the stage of considering choices, with the elections still two years away.

“It’s still open. We will just make a decision at the right time. 2016 is still a long way off. It is not our priority to immediately choose who will be with you. On the practical side, many people want to be chosen but if you do that, this early, you anger many people.”

“A lot of things can still happen. Maybe for one reason or the other, you will be bound by a choice and then it will not push through .... It ain't over til it's over. 

Binay’s announcement about his new party renewed talk about 2016, sparking political observers to float names about possible presidential and vice presidential tandems in the polls. 

To date, Binay is the only candidate who has openly declared his presidential bid. – Rappler.com