BORACAY, Philippines – Not qualified? Tell that to Comelec.
Amid persistent questions about her qualifications, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s daughter challenged her critics to raise the issue before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Nancy Binay said it will be best for her critics to ask the Comelec to decide on the issue instead of criticizing her on various media platforms, including social media.
“If they think na I’m not qualified eh ‘di maghain kayo ng disqualification case sa Comelec para ma-disqualify talaga ako because if they’re questioning about my qualification, the best place to air ‘yung kung qualified talaga ako is ‘yung Comelec,” Binay told reporters here on Saturday, April 13, on the sidelines of UNA’s Western Visayas leg campaign.
(If they think I’m not qualified, then go file a disqualification case before the Comelec because if they’re questioning my qualifications, the best place to air that is with Comelec.)
Binay added, “Ang question of qualification, ‘di ba the mere fact na pinayagan ako ng Comelec tumakbo is already proof that I am qualified to run for a Senate office?” (Isn’t it that the mere fact that Comelec allowed me to run is already proof that I am qualified to run for a Senate office?)
The senatorial bet made the statement days after Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo questioned her competence, and criticized her decision not to appear in senatorial debates.
Former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros had challenged Binay to a debate but the UNA candidate turned down the invitation. Hontiveros made the invitation after memes circulated on social media comparing the two’s credentials and survey ratings.
Binay ranked 4th-11th in Pulse Asia’s March survey while Hontiveros placed 16th-18th. Hontiveros is running under the administration slate Team PNoy.
Netizens though responded to Binay’s statement.
@mcd508 tweeted, “The issue about Nancy Binay is competence, not qualification due to her inexplicable refuse to engage in a debate.”
Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig
‘Binays used to being underdogs’
Nancy Binay said it is a conscious decision to rule out debates at this point.
“Parang too late na eh kasi we only have one month. Ang dami ko pa, nung chine-check ko ang schedule, ang dami ko pang ‘di mapupuntahan so iniisip ko ngayon paano ko magco-cover ang mga provinces na kailangan kong ikutan.”
(It’s too late because we only have one month left. I have not visited many provinces. When I checked the schedule, I’m thinking how I can cover all the provinces I need to visit.)
Binay has drawn flak for saying she will debate only after the elections, with critics saying voters should be able to gauge her qualifications before the polls.
The UNA bet responded, “Among the candidates, I think ako ang ‘di talaga nakaikot sa buong Pilipinas because I really had no intentions of running. I think ang ibang kandidato, 2 years ago or 3 years ago nag-iikot na sila kasi meron silang balak tumakbo for a national position eh ako wala. So ngayon ako naghahabol para makita at makilala personally ng ating mga kababayan.”
(Among the candidates, I am the one who was not able to go around because I really had no intentions of running. Other candidates had 2 to 3 years to go around because they really planned to run for a national position unlike me. So now, I am catching up to personally see our fellow Filipinos.)
She added, “I won’t be derailed with my campaign strategy, which is to really go straight to our fellow Filipinos. That for me, will continue.”
Is she affected by the constant criticism?
Binay said, “Actually, ang iba talaga sobrang below the belt, lalo na ang kulay ko sobrang tinitira nila, but you know sabi ko nga ‘di nila alam ang trademark ng Binay: ‘pag lalo mong inaapi, mas lalong lumalakas.”
(Actually, the other comments are below the belt, even my skin color, they criticize. But you know they don’t know the trademark of the Binays: the more you attack us, the stronger we get.)
“Mas sanay yata kami na [underdog] ang role namin eh.” (We are used to being underdogs.)
Called an accidental candidate, Nancy Binay said she was forced to run for senator after businessman Joey de Venecia pulled out of the UNA senatorial ticket at the last minute. UNA leaders urged her to fill the slot, citing her high survey ratings.
Unlike other bets though, she does not have prior experience in elective or appointive office. She was personal assistant to her father, Vice President Binay, and mother Dr Elenita Binay when she was mayor of Makati.
‘Not Roxas country this time’
Binay also expressed confidence that UNA candidates will win in Western Visayas, a traditional Liberal Party (LP) bailiwick. LP president-on-leave Mar Roxas hails from the region.
“I think the mere fact we have candidates for governor except in Negros shows UNA has a strong chance of getting votes here. Our candidates’ commitment is to deliver votes for UNA. It’s a good fight in spite of the fact that they are against incumbents and the LP machinery is double time here. They’re doing pretty well,” Binay said.
Asked if the region will still be considered Roxas country in May, Binay said, “Parang hindi na kasi nagpunta ako ng Bacolod and talagang sobrang warm ang pagtanggap sa akin. Parang maybe not this time.”
(Maybe not because when I went to Bacolod, the reception was so warm. Maybe not this time around.) – Rappler.com
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