‘Binay vs Binay’ looms; Abby hits Junjun backers
Makati City Mayor Abby Binay has threatened to get back at councilors who she said are egging on her elder brother — former mayor Junjun — to challenge her in the 2019 polls so they can get away with the “nefarious activities” she recently uncovered.
A statement issued by the mayor on Wednesday was directed at her detractors, but it also brought out in the open the emerging sibling rivalry that has been fanning City Hall intrigue over the past few weeks.
Whether this rare sister-vs-brother faceoff would materialize remains to be seen as the weeklong period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) in the May 2019 midterm elections starts today.
“Binubuyo nila si Junjun na tumakbo para makabalik sila sa pwesto at magpakaligaya sa pangungurakot sa pera ng mga taga-Makati. (They are pushing Junjun to run so they could return to their position and feast on the money stolen from the people of Makati),” she said, adding:
“I still hope that Junjun will do what is best for Makati and our family and not run.”
In a phone interview on Wednesday night, Junjun did not give a direct answer when asked if he would run for mayor, saying he would wait for his father Jejomar and mother Elenita to return from their Vatican trip before making a decision.
“We will discuss matters as a family first, then that’s the time we will decide on my next step,” he said. “Personally I also want to look for ways for this issue to be properly resolved.”
Abby said she would soon be “endorsing” to the Office of the Ombudsman graft complaints to be filed against Councilors Ferdinand Eusebio and Divina Jacome.
Eusebio and Jacome were among the 13 councilors who are supporting Junjun’s bid to regain the city government’s top post. Eusebio confirmed the group’s decision to back Junjun in an Inquirer interview on Tuesday.
“Corruption is behind the decision of several councilors to break away,” Abby Binay said. “They learned that I have received credible information on their nefarious activities, so they opted to create political drama as a smokescreen.”
She said the councilors learned recently “that I had their ghost employees investigated.”
Eusebio earlier disclosed that 13 out of the 18 incumbent city councilors, as well as officials from 21 of the city’s 33 barangays, had called on Junjun to run against his sister.
He said the group had found the mayor’s policies to be “heartless” and “insensitive” to the needs of the city’s marginalized sectors, including senior citizens and street vendors.
Junjun said he was surprised by Abby’s allegations against the councilors, particularly Eusebio, who he said was “really close to me.”
“If she could not substantiate those claims, then they are just hearsay,” he said, adding he was confident Eusebio could answer them in the proper venue.
Aside from Eusebio and Jacome, other councilors who have urged Junjun to run for mayor are Marie Alethea Casal-Uy, Romeo Medina, Ma. Arlene Ortega, Rico Puno, Evelyn Delfina Villaflor, Grazielle Iony de Lara-Bes, Nelson Pasia, Mary Ruth Tolentino and King Yabut.
All of them ran under Binay’s party, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), in the 2016 polls. Councilors Leonardo Magpantay and Shirley Aspillaga, who ran under Liberal Party, also expressed support for Junjun.
Eusebio said there was “an overwhelming clamor” for Junjun to return to the City Hall.
The family patriarch, former Vice President and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, earlier announced he would run for congressman of the city’s first district under Abby’s ticket.
The councilors did not respond when the Inquirer called and sent them text messages for their comment on Abby’s statement.
Junjun’s term as mayor was cut short in June 2015 after he was suspended—and later dismissed—by the Office of the Ombudsman as it was investigating the alleged overpricing of the new Makati Science High School Building. Then Vice Mayor Kid Peña took over, and was defeated by Abby Binay in 2016.
In May, the Court of Appeals reversed the Ombudsman’s dismissal order on Junjun.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.