Binay eldest daughter UNA’s 12th Senate betBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is fielding Vice President Jejomar Binay’s eldest daughter as its 12th senatorial candidate in next year’s midterm elections.
Nancy Binay, the eldest of Binay’s five children, is a newcomer to politics. She is replacing businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia III, who backed off at the last minute on Monday.
UNA announced Binay’s candidacy Thursday, beating the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by one day.
Former Sen. Jamby Madrigal also beat the deadline, filing her COC to run again for a seat in the Senate as a candidate on the Liberal Party-led administration coalition.
The 39-year-old Nancy Binay, a tourism graduate of the University of the Philippines, served as her father’s personal assistant throughout his three terms as Makati City mayor. She is currently her father’s assistant in housing matters (the Vice President heads the government’s housing program).
UNA announced the choice at around 4 p.m. Thursday, hours after Vice President Binay told reporters that the coalition was still deciding who its 12th candidate would be.
UNA leaders’ kids
Nancy Binay’s landing the UNA slate gives each of the coalition’s three leaders representation by blood on the coalition’s ticket.
Senate President Juan Ponce’s son, Rep. Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr., and former President Joseph Estrada’s son, Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, are running for Senate seats as UNA candidates.
UNA insiders said the Vice President did not want his daughter to run but was “outvoted” by Estrada and Enrile. The Vice President could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The coalition had been choosing between Nancy Binay and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn to fill the slot vacated by De Venecia.
Hagedorn, a veteran politician, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) as an independent senatorial candidate on Wednesday.
Nancy Binay had never before sought an elective office, unlike her siblings, reelectionist Rep. Abigail Binay and reelectionist Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay.
High in surveys
UNA, however, said Binay had placed high in election surveys.
“We are encouraged by Nancy’s consistently strong performance in the surveys. She has always landed in the winning circle in both Pulse Asia and SWS [Social Weather Stations] with the least effort,” UNA Secretary General Tobias Tiangco said in a statement.
He said supporters, including sectoral and nongovernment organizations, had been lobbying for Binay’s candidacy.
“There has also been a ground swell of support for her candidacy coming from sectoral groups and nongovernmental organizations nationwide. We cannot ignore these voices and their commitment to help Nancy and the entire senatorial slate of UNA,” said Tiangco, who is also Navotas City representative.
Meanwhile, Madrigal said there was “nothing personal” in her alleged rift with her fellow senatorial candidates on the administration ticket, former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar and reelectionist Alan Peter Cayetano.
Madrigal was among those who accused Cynthia Villar’s husband, Sen. Manuel Villar, of irregularity in the funding of the C-5 road extension project months before the 2010 presidential election.
Cayetano, a member of Villar’s Nacionalista Party, then asked the Comelec to disqualify Madrigal from the presidential race.
“There’s nothing personal in our dispute,” Madrigal told reporters after filing her COC. “We can see that in the Senate records so it’s up to the people to judge.”
She said she did not feel uncomfortable running with Cayetano on the same ticket.
“We are solid in spirit. We don’t need to be in a circus because we follow a straight path,” Madrigal said, making a reference to the administration’s campaign theme of good government.
Also on Thursday, a 60-year-old corporate executive and social activist filed a COC to join the race for the Senate as an independent candidate.
Ricardo L. Penson, president and chief executive officer of Ausphil Tollways Corp., proponent of the Katipunan (C-5)-La Mesa-San Jose del Monte-Norzagaray Tollway project, said he represented only people who were clamoring for “real change” and who believed that many apolitical leaders could very well fill the remaining slots on both the administration and the opposition tickets.
Penson noted that the senatorial tickets of the administration and of UNA had common or guest candidates, a sharing that he said put premium on political alliances rather than on the merits of candidates.
What the Philippines needs, he said, is not candidates with the right political connections, but candidates who can truly push for reform-driven national development initiatives.
“We are not a nation broke in talents, skills, dreams and aspirations,” Penson said.
“Aspiring for an elective position is every citizen’s right, and should not be treated as the birthright of special families,” he said. With a report from Tina G. Santos