Family matriarch Elenita Binay backs Junjun for Makati mayor

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – On the last day of the campaign, the fissure in the Binay clan is clearer than ever: The family matriarch Elenita Sombillo Binay is supporting the return of her son Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr as Makati mayor.

Elenita attended Junjun's jam-packed miting de avance on Saturday, May 11, just a day after her husband and family patriarch Jejomar Binay showed up during the miting de avance of Junjun's bitter rival, his older sister and reelectionist Mayor Abby Binay.

"'Wag naman po sanang magseselos ang iba kong anak, pero si Junjun po ang nagmana ng ugali ko. Ano 'yung ugali na 'yun? Matulungin, mabait, madaling lapitan, madaling hingan," Elenita said as she vouched for her son.

(I hope my other children won't get jealous, but Junjun inherited my temperament. What's that? Helpful, kind, approachable, generous.)

She shared how Junjun took care of her when she had a knee surgery in the United States.

"So sa gabing ito, bilang ina ng nag-iisang anak kong lalaki, sana po tulungan po ninyo si Junjun. Dahil nakita ko po sa kanya kung paano po siya magmahal sa magulang, hindi lang po sa akin pero pati na rin ang Daddy niya. Mahal na mahal niya po ang Daddy niya," Elenita said.

(So tonight, as the mother of my only son, I hope you will help Junjun. Because I saw how he loves his parents, not only me but also his Daddy. He really loves his Daddy.)

Before her speech, Elenita could not help but cry as her children Junjun, Nancy, and Anne, and her grandchildren surprised her with flowers ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12.

FOR MOTHER'S DAY. Elenita Binay cries after receiving flowers from her children, grandchildren, and in-laws.

FOR MOTHER'S DAY. Elenita Binay cries after receiving flowers from her children, grandchildren, and in-laws.

Still, Elenita said she was sad that one of her grandchildren – Abby's daughter Martina – was not present during the event. The family matriarch also dedicated flowers to her late daughter-in-law Ken-Ken Binay, the wife of Junjun.

Elenita was a former mayor herself and led the country's premier business district from 1998 to 2001.

Aside from Elenita, Junjun's sisters Anne and reelectionist Senator Nancy Binay also showed up at his miting de avance. Their youngest sister Joanna Marie was a no-show.

'Mothers know best'

Junjun is thankful that his mother and his two sisters are backing his candidacy.

"Alam n'yo, si Ate Nans, from Day One siya 'yung kasama ko, pati si Anne. Of course, my mom. And I would like to thank them, especially my mom. Dito sa laban na 'to, 'di ba, mothers know best," Junjun told reporters ahead of his miting de avance.

(You know, Ate Nans has been with me since Day One, including Anne. Of course, my mom. And I would like to thank them, especially my mom. In this fight, mothers know best, right?)

"Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa Mommy ko na ang tiwala ay ibinigay niya sa akin. Napakahalaga noon sa akin. She has given to all of us her unconditional love, kaya Happy Mother's Day, Mommy ha!" Junjun said.

(That's why I'm thankful for my Mommy because she gave me her trust. That's very important to me. She has given to all of us her unconditional love, so Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!)

BIRTHDAY GIRLS. Reelectionist Senator Nancy Binay and Anne Binay blow their candles on their cake a few hours before they celebrate their birthday on May 12, 2019.

BIRTHDAY GIRLS. Reelectionist Senator Nancy Binay and Anne Binay blow their candles on their cake a few hours before they celebrate their birthday on May 12, 2019.

In contrast, Abby cried onstage when she thanked her father Jejomar for choosing her side throughout the campaign. She said the family patriarch joined her Team Performance because he loved Makati, where Jejomar was a longtime mayor.

But Nancy believes their father stood by Abby's side only because no one else in the family wanted to support her.

"I think kaya sumama sa kanya 'yung Daddy namin kasi mas inuuna niya 'yung pagiging tatay niya dahil alam niyang walang kakampi 'yung kapatid ko sa aming pamilya," Nancy said in an ambush interview.

(I think the reason why our Daddy joined her is because he prioritized being a father, because he knew my sister has no other ally in the family.)

"So siguro kung 'di pa siya sasama doon, sino pa 'yung magtutulay sa amin para magkaayos-ayos kami kung lahat kami ay sama-sama kay Junjun?" she added.

(So maybe if he hadn't joined my sister, who else would serve as a bridge for us to reconcile, especially when the rest of us are with Junjun?)

Abby had previously described herself as a "lone wolf" in the family, tracing the divide between her and the rest of her siblings to her college days.

Abby also said her relationship with her mom is strained.

The Binay clan had fielded Abby to run for mayor in the 2016 elections after Junjun was dismissed from office in September 2015 due to anomalies in the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II.

In May 2018, the Court of Appeals (CA) overturned Junjun's dismissal, arguing that the condonation doctrine – which the Supreme Court struck down in November 2015 – still applied to him. The CA upheld this decision in March. – 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.

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