Friends and foes to propel Binay's victory in Central Luzon?
BULACAN, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay takes his campaign to Pampanga, a province where he lost the vice presidency to rival Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party in the 2010 elections.
The United Nationalist Alliance standard-bearer is relying on his track record as a public servant and his local allies in the surrounding provinces to secure a win in Central Luzon.
Mara Cepeda reports.
MARA CEPEDA, REPORTING: Securing a win in Pampanga, a province of 1.31 million voters, for Vice President Jejomar Binay will be a challenge. Then-Liberal Party vice presidential bet Mar Roxas beat Binay here by 193,000 votes.
But in the May polls, two things can spell the difference for the United Nationalist Alliance standard-bearer not just in Pampanga but the rest of Central Luzon: Roxas’ supposed inefficiency as Interior secretary and the number of local leaders supporting incumbent Pampanga District 2 Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who are also allied with Binay.
Hundreds of supporters listen to Binay discredit Roxas in Pampanga.
JEJOMAR BINAY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Natalo ho rito pero ang tanong ko naman sa inyo, ‘yung ipinanalo niyo ho rito e nakita niyo ba? Naramdaman ba ninyo ‘yung kanyang mga ipinangako nung siya’y nagkandidato? E nasaan na pagkatapos ng halalan? Hindi ho ‘yun ang tamang namumuno. Ang tamang namumuno e [tumutupad] sa kanyang pangako.
(I lost here but my question is, where is the person you voted for now? Did you feel the things he promised you when he was running? Where was he after the elections? That’s not right leadership. A proper leader fulfills his promises.)
He then takes pride that Minalin is a sister city of Makati, where Binay was mayor for 21 years.
JEJOMAR BINAY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dito sa Minalin o nilalahat sa inyo sa Pampanga, ito hindi na ho kayo tumatawag. Basta’t pagkabasa, nakita namin sa TV na lumubog ang Pampanga, si Jojo Binay kasama niyo po rito kahit anong oras.
(Here in Minalin and even the whole of Pampanga, you don’t need to call me anymore. As long as I read in the newspaper or watch on TV that Pampanga is flooded again, Jojo Binay will come here to help you.)
Binay’s ally, former Candaba mayor Jerry Pelayo, says times have changed in Pampanga, and that the upcoming elections may work in Binay’s favor.
JERRY PELAYO, FORMER CANDABA MAYOR: Sapagkat dito sa Pampanga, yung mga incumbent at ‘yung mga dating mayor at magkakatunggali sa lokal dito, nagkaisa sila for Binay. Bahala sila sa lokal pero lahat ito well-represented by 22 municipalities and 3 cities. Lahat sila may delegation na nangangahulugan na lahat dito sa Pampanga, naging idol nila si Binay.
(Here in Pampanga, the incumbent and former mayors who are fighting each other in the elections all agreed they would support Binay. They can do whatever they want in the local elections, but all are well-represented here, including the 22 municipalities and 3 cities. They all sent a delegation in the motorcade which means in Pampanga, Binay is their idol.
It also helps that Binay is sympathetic of Arroyo, who is suffering from the weakening of the bones.
The Vice President, a human rights lawyer, says the government should give Arroyo more compassion and allow her appeal for treatment and house arrest. She is currently under hospital detention for plunder charges over the misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds while she was president.
While Binay used to be a critic of Arroyo, he now counts several of her allies as his supporters, including Pelayo, former Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, and ex-Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez.
Suarez explains that Binay’s sympathy led to Arroyo ordering her allies to help the Vice President campaign in Central Luzon.
DANILO SUAREZ, FORMER QUEZON REPRESENTATIVE: Nung pang day one nang na-detain si GMA, gumawa na ng position si VP na dapat bigyan ng pagkakataon magpagamot and that has been reverberating in the province… There is no formal proclamation yet, but minus the formal proclamation, the marching order of the former president is to help the Vice President.
(Since day one when GMA was detained, VP made the position that she should be given treatment. That left a lasting impression in the province.)
Magsaysay adds that local leaders’ programs for their constituents in Central Luzon are similar with the promises of Binay.
MITOS MAGSAYSAY, FORMER ZAMBALES REPRESENTATIVE: Bilang congressman, naging kilala ako bilang “Congresswoman Libre” dahil lahat ng serbisyong kalusugan at edukasyon, libre sa amin. And nakita niyo na si VP Binay is also giving that sa Makati at sinabi niya na kapag siyang naging pangulo, kung ano ang natitikman ng Makati na libreng edukasyon, libreng pagamutan, libreng doktor, yung mga benepisyo ng senior citizen, ngayon ay tatanggalin niya yung buwis ng kumikita ng P30,000 and below, yung po ang gustung-gusto ng constituents sa Zambales, kaya ang Zambales din, full support po sa kandidatura ni VP Binay.
(I was known as “Congresswoman Libre” because healthcare and education are free in our province. And you can see that VP Binay did that in Makati and he said that if he wins as president, there will be free education, healthcare, and benefits for senior citizens as well as the removal of the income tax for those earning P30,000 below. That’s what constituents in Zambales want, so they’re fully supporting VP Binay.)
With their warm reception, residents in Pampanga are convinced Binay can fulfill his promises too.
With two months left to campaign, Binay vows to work hard to achieve his childhood dream of becoming the next president.
His experience, capability, and a little help from his friends in Central Luzon might make this a reality for Jejomar Binay.
Mara Cepeda, Rappler, Pampanga. – Rappler.com
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