Courting Cavite: Jonvic Remulla will be my interior chief – Binay

CAVITE, Philippines (UPDATED) – Counting on the continued support of the vote-rich  province, Vice President Jejomar Binay said that if elected president, he would appoint Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla as interior secretary.

Binay made the statement at the San Sebastian Gym in Cavite City on Thursday, February 11, where he shared the stage with leaders of Cavite’s Magdalo Party, including Remulla and his brother, gubernatorial candidate Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla; Vice Governor Jolo Revilla; and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidates.

Ibabalita ko na sa inyo ang magiging sekretaryo ng local government, si Governor Jonvic (I wish to announce that my secretary of local government will be Governor Jonvic)," Binay said in his speech, amid cheers from the packed crowd. 

Remulla is a long-time ally and former spokesperson for Binay. The Cavite governor’s local party, Partido Magdalo, adopted the Vice President as a member last year. 

In explaining his choice of Remulla, Binay took a swipe at leading presidential contender Senator Grace Poe for the second day in a row, again, without naming her. (READ: Binay hits Poe: 'I never abandoned my country')

"At bakit ko naman ito napili? Kasi ang issue po ngayon ay ‘yung mga kakayahan at karanasan sa pagtatrabahuhan. Hindi ho ‘yung sinasabing, 'May karanasan ka ba sa pamamahala, sa pamumuno?' [At sasabihin], ‘Oo! Ako ho ay teacher!’ Ano naman ang relasyon ng teacher sa pamumuno? Ang karanasan at kakayahan sa pagka-teacher ay para sa teaching profession,” said Binay.

(Why did I choose him? Because the issue at hand is competence and experience for the position. It's not like asking, 'Do you have experience in governance, in leadership?' [And the response is] 'Yes! I was a teacher!' What is the relationship between being a teacher and leadership? One's experience and competence in teaching is for the teaching profession.)

Poe, a neophyte senator, worked as a preschool teacher for 3 years at the Montessori School of Cedar Lane in the United States. She is facing several disqualification cases over citizenship and residency issues.

Ang pinag-uusapan karanasan at kakayahan, ‘yun bang nakikita natin, nararamdaman po natin. Kung ano ho ang sinasabi ko [tungkol] kay Governor Jonvic ay ‘yun din ang ipinakikilala ko na pansarili sa inyong mga taga-Cavite,” added Binay.

Binay and his allies have been peddling the Vice President's experience as Makati mayor for 21 years, among others, to win votes.  (READ: Avoid suffering, choose 'experienced' Binay)

Poe topped the latest presidential polls – the  Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey conducted in late January, and the January Laylo survey.

‘Find hope in Jojo’

BINAY'S FRIENDS. Remulla claps as Binay flashes UNA's sign in front of Caviteu00f1os. To the left of the Vice President is Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, another ally. Lito Boras/Rappler

BINAY'S FRIENDS. Remulla claps as Binay flashes UNA's sign in front of Caviteu00f1os. To the left of the Vice President is Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, another ally.

Lito Boras/Rappler

Asked about Binay's "offer," Remulla told Rappler: "I am governor till June 30. As much as I am honored by the gesture of confidence from the VP, finishing my term and the completion of my initiatives us my priority."

Taking the stage, Remulla rallied Caviteños to support Binay, reiterating the opposition standard-bearer's promise of replicating the Makati experience nationwide.

"Dinala ko si Jojo Binay dito sa Cavite City dahil alam kong naghahangad kayo ng kaagapay, na katulong, [kagaya ng] na ginawa ni Jojo Binay sa Makati....Alam ko lahat ng mahihirap ay walang mahahanap na  pag-asa kundi kay Jojo Binay lamang,” he said.

(I brought Jojo Binay here in Cavite City because...I know you’re looking for someone who will help you in the same way Jojo Binay helped those in Makati....I know the poor will only find hope in Jojo Binay.)

Remulla was supposed to run for reelection, but he was substituted by brother Boying Remulla, a former 3-term representative of Cavite's 3rd District (which later became the 7th District).

Remulla previously told Rappler he withdrew his candidacy because he plans to take a break from politics – his first since joining the provincial board in 1995 – to  pursue postgraduate studies.

Binay visited Cavite on the third day of the campaign. He was accompanied by daughter Senator Nancy Binay, UNA senatorial bets Princess Jacel Kiram, Allan Montano, Getulio Napeñas, and Rey Langit; and lawyer Harry Roque, who is seeking a congressional seat.

The vote-rich province, with 1,843,163 votes registered for the May polls, is considered to be a bailiwick of the Vice President.

In the 2010 vice presidential elections, he got 481,331 votes in Cavite, against Roxas’ 385,695. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

image