MANILA, Philippines – Problem? What problem?
Vice President Jejomar Binay does not foresee any problem with resigned Sen Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri’s entry into the political party of his ally, former President Joseph Estrada. (Read: Erap's party welcomes Zubiri, Isko Moreno)
On the eve of Zubiri’s oath-taking as a member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Binay told reporters that he is confident that the rift between Zubiri and Sen Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III will be resolved.
“Sa umpisa, siyempre ganoon. Pero kapag naayos na iyan, anong tamis ng samahan,” said Binay. “Optimistic ako iyong dalawang iyon, mananalo.” (At the start, it’s like that. But once that’s resolved, their relationship will turn sweet. I’m optimistic, those two will win.)
Zubiri’s oath-taking paves the way for his inclusion in the senatorial ticket of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). It is a coalition between PMP and Binay’s party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban, expressed his opposition to being in the same slate as Zubiri. The rift between the two is rooted in an electoral protest over the 2007 senatorial elections.
Pimentel was only able to assume his senate post last year. Zubiri resigned days before the Senate Electoral Tribunal declared Pimentel the winner of the protest. Zubiri initially emerged as a winner in the elections allegedly because of poll fraud.
Despite Pimentel's reservations, Zubiri has said he has no problems being in the same ticket as his fellow Mindanaoan.
In past interviews, Binay's camp has said Zubiri should be part of the UNA senatorial slate to increase representation of Mindanao.
File photo from Senate website
‘You want hugs and handshakes?’
Binay was categorical about his plans for Zubiri and Pimentel.
“Basta sa aming slate ay magkasama ang dalawang iyon,” he said. (In our slate, those two will be together.)
Binay said he was “okay” with Zubiri joining PMP.
The Vice President added that the UNA leadership will find a way to make the two reconcile. Binay is part of the coalition’s executive committee along with Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Binay told a reporter, “Ano bang gusto mo? Gusto mong magyakapan pa sila, o magkamayan? Basta nakataya kami diyan. Kami ang namumuno. We will handle it.” (What do you want? Do you want to see them hugging each other or shaking hands? We are committed to that. We are the ones leading. We will handle it.) – Rappler.com