MANILA, Philippines – From the “myth” of peace and order in Davao City to questioning educational degrees, to threatening to slap each other – Senator Nancy Binay issued an appeal to feuding presidential bets: “Love, love, love!”
The daughter of opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay echoed the famous line of presidential sister and actress Kris Aquino as she appealed to candidates in the May 2016 polls to “elevate the campaign” discourse.
The senator commented on the worsening word war between administration candidate and former interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ako, issue na nila iyan but panahon ngayon, it’s Christmas season so panawagan ko sa lahat ng tumatakbo for 2016, love, love, love na lang! Panahon ng pagkakaisa ngayon. This is not the time to bash each other. Hopefully, lalo pagdating ng eleksyon, ‘di maging ganoon ang tono ng pangangampanya na personalan,” Binay said on Tuesday, December 15.
(To me, that is their issue, but it’s the Christmas season so my appeal to all candidates for 2016 is just love each other! It’s the time of unity. Hopefully, especially as the election draws near, the tone of the campaign will not be personal.)
In 2014 and the early part of 2015, it was the Vice President who was the center of heated political debates as he faced various corruption allegations and a yearlong Senate inquiry. The political noise died down as the probe was suspended, and Binay’s Senate critics focused on preparing for the polls.
Now, Binay is quietly campaigning while Duterte and Roxas are the ones trading barbs. The two used to be long-time friends but their relationship deterioriated.
Last week, Roxas drew the ire of Duterte and Davaoeños’ for saying that Davao’s famed peace and order are just a “myth,” based on data from the Philippine National Police.
Duterte shot back by questioning Roxas’ degree from the Wharton School of Economics as a “myth.” The two then exchanged threats to slap each other.
Asked about the tiff, Senator Binay said the elections are “about what you can do for our country, more than what is negative with each other.”
“Sana magkaayos silang dalawa na walang nagaganap na sampalan,” Binay said. (I hope they make up without slapping each other.)
The senator said Duterte and Roxas should use the Christmas season to “reflect,” and to realize that the campaign should not descend to bickering.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II, the Vice President’s running mate, urged candidates to focus on platforms and programs of government instead of their rivals’ personal flaws.
Honasan is also the vice president of the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
“We in UNA, we just continue to consistently talk about platforms and programs, poverty alleviation, job generation, security of our families and children in their homes, on the streets against rapists, kidnappers, drug pushers,” Honasan said.
Binay is in a 5-way presidential race, up against Roxas, Duterte, survey front runner Senator Grace Poe, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Honasan is in an even more crowded vice presidential contest. Other contenders are Senator Francis Escudero, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
‘Binay attacks to resume in January’
While the Vice President is now spared from the political heat, senators Binay and Honasan expect his critics to again focus on him in the New Year.
“Feeling namin pagdating ng January, babalik uli sa amin ang paninira na ginawa sa pamilya,” Senator Binay said. (We feel that come January, all the attacks done to my family will return.)
The senator also responded to a Commission on Audit (COA) report that found that the Makati parking building constructed under her father and brother’s watch had “dubious accomplishment reports.” The Ombudsman dismissed Binay’s brother, former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr, over the allegedly overpriced building.
The audit showed that the favored contractor Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation supposedly submitted false accomplishment reports for payment during the 5 phases of construction.
“We’re always prepared that they will revive again and again these kinds of issues against my family,” Senator Binay said.
Honasan decried political attacks against the opposition. He echoed the Vice President in saying that the allegations should just be brought to court.
“The judiciary should not be irrelevant because if we will resort to trial by publicity, due process, rule of law become irrelevant. Then let’s just close the judiciary, law schools, and remove law from the list of professions,” the lawmaker quipped.
Down to Binay vs Roxas?
Besides the level of political discourse, Honasan commented on another factor shaping the 2016 polls: disqualification cases.
The vice presidential bet shared his views on the analysis of political pundits that the presidential race might come down to Binay against Roxas, if Poe and Duterte are disqualified while Santiago suffers from stage 4 lung cancer.
“I cannot make any predictions but they should just follow due process and the rule of law. I think everybody will be in good shape,” he said.
Honasan reiterated that UNA has nothing to do with the cases filed with the Commission on Elections questioning Poe’s residency and citizenship – legal requirements for the presidency.
“We have no capability and intention because we know how it feels to be the target, sustained targets. I think the Vice President is very well aware of that. So it does not give us the excuse to do the same thing to our political opponents.”
Honasan just wished Poe well. “I’m sure she will weather these problems in due time.” – Rappler.com