DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines—Those eager to see Nancy Binay in a public debate would have to wait until after the May 13 senatorial elections.
If she wins, the daugher of Vice President Jejomar Binay said, she would be willing to go head-to-head with Team PNoy counterpart Risa Hontiveros on the Senate floor, assuming, of course, that the former Akbayan representative gets into the “Magic 12″ as well.
“I told her it’s okay. If both of us get elected to the Senate, the two of us would be able to debate every day in the Senate,” she told reporters during a campaign sortie here.
But in the meantime, Binay insisted that she would rather focus on the campaign trail with less than three weeks to go before elections.
“It seems there’s no more time for debates because there are still many provinces that I need to visit,” she said in Filipino.
More ground to cover
Binay said she still had more ground to cover because she joined the the senatorial race relatively late. She joined the United Nationalist Alliance ticket after businessman Joey De Venecia backed out.
“Most of [the candidates] had already prepared a year ago because they already had intentions of running,” she said.
Despite her purported reluctance to seek public office, Binay has performed well in surveys of voter preferences in the senatorial elections. She ranked third and fourth in the latest Social Weather Stations survey.
In contrast, Hontiveros, who has been challenging her to a debate, has consistently failed to get into the top 12 of all major surveys so far.
Still, Binay said she would not go easy on her campaign. She noted that in the 2010 vice presidential election, her father, then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, had been trailing frontrunner Mar Roxas. The elder Binay eventually won.
“What happened to my father’s opponent, I don’t want that to happen to me,” she said. “To me, surveys are not the true test of who would win or lose in the election.”
Binay added: “My mind-set is I’m not winning.”