Binay dodges questions on his rumoured running mate in 2016By Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay played coy when peppered Thursday with questions about his rumoured vice presidential bet in the 2016 presidential race.
“Wala po (none yet),” Binay said when asked if he has chosen his running mate.
The buzz in Manila’s political circles is that the long-time friends have been jockeying for Binay’s choice of No. 2 in 2016, and that Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has edged out Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero. The vice president declined to comment on this.
Estrada belonged to the newly formed United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) between Binay’s PDP-Laban Party and former President Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, while Escudero was said to be instrumental to the Vice President’s victory in the 2010 elections.
The two parties teamed up to dominate the congressional and local races next year, but it is widely believed that Binay will use UNA as a springboard for the 2016 presidential contest and that the deal between him and Estrada was the choice of the younger Estrada as his running mate.
But Escudero, the buzz goes, wants that spot as a reward for supporting Binay in the 2010 elections. His endorsement of a “Noy-Bi” vote as the 2010 campaign hit the homestretch cost then Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas the vice presidential election and gave then Senator Benigno Aquino III, the eventual presidential winner, a vice president from a rival party.
Relations between Aquino and Binay have been good so far, but relations between the President and Escudero may be severely tested when the senator comes knocking for shelter in the Liberal Party.
Escudero can no longer return to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco that he deserted in 2010 because it could not bankroll his run for Malacañang.
Asked if he was considering Senator Estrada for the position, Binay said, “Wala akong kinokonsidera kasi ayokong pag-usapan (I’m not considering anyone for the slot because I don’t want to talk about this).”