AGOO, La Union, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay showed up Friday before a capacity crowd at the Eriguel compound here to endorse senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance, most especially his eldest daughter Nancy.
But not finding the younger Binay on stage, the Vice President quipped: “Di na kita makita. Nangitim ka na talaga (I can’t see you. You must have really become darker).”
For the Binays and the rest of the UNA candidates, the self-deprecating humor is a badge of honor, the mark of hard work. It’s unlike administration candidates, they say, who have supposedly remained fresh and kept their complexion fair on the campaign trail.
“We accept that in terms of facilities, in terms of advantages, the other side has the upper hand,” he said in Filipino in a speech before some 5,000 people during the UNA rally here. “Our only weapon is our dedication, the sincerity in our campaigns.”
For Binay, Team PNoy candidates may have been ruling the airwaves lately, but their UNA counterparts have been getting all the big crowds in the campaign trail.
Binay cited one administration sortie when President Aquino no less showed up to campaign for his senatorial candidates. But of the 12 members of the ticket, only ex-Sen. Jamby Madrigal turned up.
“Can you imagine that the President attends a rally, a provincial rally, and who is with him? Only one candidate. What kind of group is that? Where’s the unity? Where’s the oneness?” he said.
UNA’s Richard Gordon, a former senator, said administration candidates were relying on TV advertisements.
“That’s why were all getting dark. We’re now as black as Vice President Binay because we’re always out in the field,” he told reporters.
Gordon challenged Team PNoy candidates to more debates to allow the public to better scrutinize all of them and how they intend to addresses issues.
“Every time we clash in debates, it seems the other side is at a disadvantage. They cannot answer well. That’s the observation of many,” he said.
Binay joined UNA candidates in the second half of a grueling, five-day campaign in vote-rich Northern Luzon.
The leg seemed so important that he skipped the 76th birthday celebration of former President Joseph Estrada, a senior UNA leader.
After campaigning for two days in Pangasinan, UNA candidates held a motorcade in La Union then a grand rally at the San Fernando plaza in the evening. Next stop would be Ilocos Sur then Ilocos Norte Sunday.
Binay noted that he and two other UNA leaders, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and ex-Sen. Ernesto Maceda, all hail from provinces in Northern Luzon.
“Perhaps, this would be the basis of our confidence that we would get a lot of votes here,” he said.