For UNA bets, to be dark like the Binays a badge of honorBy Christian V. Esguerra |Philippine Daily Inquirer
AGOO, La Union—Vice President Jejomar Binay showed up before a capacity crowd at the Eriguel compound here on Friday to personally endorse the senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), especially his eldest daughter Nancy.
But not immediately finding Nancy on stage, the Vice President said in Filipino: “I can no longer see you. You are so sun burned.”
For the Binays and the rest of the UNA candidates, being sunburned is a badge of honor, the mark of hard work.
UNA candidate Richard Gordon, a former senator, said administration candidates were relying on TV ads.
“That’s why we’re all getting sunburned. We’re now as dark as Vice President Binay because we’re always out in the field,” Gordon told reporters.
In contrast, the candidates on the administration’s senatorial team always look fresh, with their skin remaining fair despite the heat on the campaign trail.
“We admit that in facilities, in advantages, the other side has the upper hand,” Binay said in his endorsement speech to the 5,000 people who came to the UNA rally. “Our only weapon is our dedication, our sincerity.”
Binay acknowledged that Team PNoy candidates are ruling the airwaves, but claimed the UNA candidates are drawing the bigger crowds at their campaign rallies.
Binay cited one Team PNoy rally where President Aquino showed up to endorse his administration’s senatorial candidates. But of the 12 candidates on the team, only former 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 solidarity?” he said.
Gordon challenged Team PNoy candidates to debates to enable the public to better scrutinize all of them and see how they intended to deal with the country’s problems.
“Every time we clash in debates, the other side seems to be 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.
He considered this leg of the campaign so important that he skipped the 76th birthday celebration in Manila of former President Joseph Estrada, a senior UNA leader.
Next: Ilocos provinces
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. Their next stops would be Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte on Sunday.
Binay noted that he and two other UNA leaders, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, are from provinces in northern Luzon.
“Perhaps, this is the basis of our confidence that we will get a lot of votes here,” he said.