Binay camp: ‘Breakthrough’ in VP talks with Marcos

Mara Cepeda
Binay camp: ‘Breakthrough’ in VP talks with Marcos
Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Bongbong Marcos have their first-ever phone conversation on the 2016 elections

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday, October 3, said that there was a  “very significant breakthrough” in discussions on tapping Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr as the opposition standard-bearer’s running mate.

The “breakthrough” was the first-ever direct conversation between Binay and his prospective vice presidential candidate on the 2016 elections on Friday night, October 2, which the Vice President confirmed to reporters on Saturday.

“Yes. I had a talk with him over the phone for the first time last night,” Binay told reporters in Laguindingan town in this province, for the Mindanao leg of the regional launch of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Binay declined to give a detailed account of his conversation with Marcos, but he did say that “[naging] maganda ‘yung usapan (the conversation went well).”

Basta’t meron kaming personal [na mga isyu] na kailangang isaayos (There are certain personal issues we each have to fix),” he added.

The UNA standard-bearer has been trying to convince Marcos to become his running mate.

Marcos, who has yet to finalize his vice presidential bid, had admitted that he is in talks with the intermediaries of Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Binay-Marcos? Bongbong still unsure)

Binay has been having difficulties finding a vice presidential candidate, seen as a consequence of his eroding approval ratings and voters’ preference based on recent poll results.

The Vice President, former Makati mayor for 21 years, used to be the front runner in presidential preference surveys but has been overtaken by Senator Grace Poe following the onslaught of orruption allegations against him and members of his family.

Binay, however, remains optimistic of his chances. He told reporters on Saturday that he will announce his running mate “very soon.”

‘Significant’ development

UNA secretary-general JV Bautista said Binay’s Friday conversation with Marcos is “a very significant breakthrough” as it was the first time they spoke directly to each other.

“‘Di nag-uusap ‘yan nang personal. Lagi ‘yang [through an] intermediary….And I think that is a very significant breakthrough because never pa silang nag-usap nang personal,” Bautista said.

(They had never talked directly with each other. They always did it through an intermediary….And I think that is a very significant breakthrough because they have never talked directly with each other before.)

While Marcos appears to be Binay’s first choice for vice president, their tandem is seen as an odd pairing – the Vice President was a human rights lawyer who fought the  regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the senator’s father.

The Vice President was also allied with the late president Corazon “Cory” Aquino, who was installed into power after Marcos’ ouster. Binay had shrugged aside these facts, stressing that the senator is not the same as his late father.

Other names mentioned as Binay’s possible running mate are Senator Gringo Honasan and former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he can decide as late as October 16, the last day of the filing of candidacy, to decide on his plans for 2016. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.