Binay on Erap's endorsement of Poe: 'We're still friends'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Tuesday, March 29, that he has no hard feelings towards former president and now reelectionist Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada for endorsing the presidential candidacy of his rival, Senator Grace Poe.
Asked if he felt bad that Estrada chose Poe over him, Binay told reporters in Cebu City: "Wala. Ako on my part, we remain friends. After all, ako ay kinuha niyang vice president noon. I cannot forget that."
(No. On my part, we remain friends. After all, he got me as his vice president before. I cannot forget that.)
"Respetuhin natin. Kanya-kanya tayong desisyon (Let's respect him. We make our own decisions)," Binay said.
A day before, Estrada formally endorsed the presidential bid of his "goddaughter" Poe, the daughter of Estrada's best friend, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr.
The younger Poe's candidacy was earlier rocked by citizenship and residency issues until the Supreme Court ruled that she is qualified to run for president.
Asked if he was surprised by Estrada's decision, Binay said, "I was already busy for the proclamation ng anak ko (of my child)," referring to Makati mayoral candidate Abby Binay.
He said he would just have to work harder at campaigning directly to the people to win the presidency.
When asked, Binay said he's not taking Estrada's endorsement of Poe personally.
"Pagkatapos ng eleksyon, parang walang nangyari. Pulitika lang yan. Walang personalan (After the elections, it's as if nothing happened. It's only politics. Nothing personal)," he said.
Abby Binay said the relationship between the Estradas and Binays would likely remain intact.
"So sa tingin naman namin na sa laki, sa tagal ng pinagsamahan namin ng pamilyang Estrada, hindi ito magiging rason para hindi kami maging magkaibigan uli," said Abby, who held her proclamation rally for Makati mayor on the same night as Estrada's.
(We think that with the long time we've spent together with the Estrada family, this will not be a reason for us to stop being friends again.)
For his part, UNA president and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco said Estrada's decision did not come as a surprise.
"It was expected because he said he will be for GP if she is not disqualified. But if she is disqualified, he will go for Binay....We wish him luck in his campaign for mayor" Tiangco told Rappler on Tuesday, March 29.
Estrada's endorsement finally ended months-long speculation on his presidential candidate. Prior to Poe's entry in the presidential race, it was believed that Estrada would support Binay, his running mate in the 2010 elections.
Estrada was considered a part of UNA's triumvirate, together with Binay and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Binay's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan joined forces to form UNA for the 2013 elections. It was relaunched as a political party in 2015, an event where Estrada was noticeably absent.
Estrada's family remains divided on their favored presidential candidates. While Senator JV Ejercito is also supporting Poe, his mother, reelectionist San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, is backing administration party standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.
Estrada's legal wife, former senator Loi Estrada, hosted lunch for Binay and UNA during their sortie in Iba, Zambales, her hometown. This was taken by some as her indirect endorsement of the Vice President, though she did not say so. – Rappler.com
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