Estrada says talk on 2016 prematureBy Cathy C. Yamsuan, Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada dismissed talks that he would be Vice President Jejomar Binay’s running mate in the 2016 elections.
“This is too premature. Besides, we are now concentrating on the midterm elections of 2013 to have time to discuss 2016 at all,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a call from Hong Kong.
Estrada, president of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), insisted that the focus at this point is on his party’s coalition with Binay’s PDP-Laban called United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
It was widely expected that Binay would field Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero as his running mate in the 2016 elections.
This after Escudero openly declared his preference for Binay as vice president over Manuel Roxas of the Liberal Party in 2010.
Escudero at that time said Roxas had “maninipis na palad (thin palm),” an allusion to either elitist roots or lack of experience.
Escudero was also among those credited for Binay’s hairline victory over Roxas who ruled the vice presidential surveys for the most part of the 2010 campaign period.
There are talks, however, that Binay is having second thoughts about Escudero since the senator has no tangible political base or support except for Netizens who follow him on the Internet. (Escudero nevertheless leads senatorial candidates in national surveys.)
Estrada, meanwhile, can rely on the support of his father’s followers.
He refused to comment about Binay and Escudero.
“I might be misinterpreted. People think I am behind what’s being reported. Chiz and I are OK. I haven’t talked to him since we adjourned (in early June) but before we did, we were on good terms,” the Senate pro tempore said.
“These are all speculations. People should not get ahead of us. I will flatly deny any report that I have talked to the Vice President about this because we really have not discussed this at all,” he added.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte denied that a Roxas-Escudero tandem for 2016 was in the works.
“I am not aware that there have been (negotiations) between Secretary Roxas and Senator Escudero on any political plan (or) affiliation,” said Valte at a press briefing.
Sought for comment, Escudero denied an Inquirer story that claimed Estrada had already dislodged him from being Binay’s running mate come 2016.
“Not really,” was all the senator could say, but refused to elaborate.