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VP emerges as new ‘Mr. Palengke’ in sorties

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—Although he denies that he is now on a presidential campaign mode for the 2016 election, Vice President Jejomar Binay never fails to visit public markets in his provincial visits to meet and hobnob with the masa (common people).

At noon on Feb. 8, Binay shook hands and gamely posed for “selfies” with market vendors here as he toured the public market in the central part of the city.

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When asked if he intended to grab the “Mr. Palengke” tag from his perceived main rival in 2016, Liberal Party president and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the Vice President chuckled and said: “We will all see who truly knows how to do marketing.”

Binay said his market sorties brought back childhood memories. “When I was young, I did a lot of marketing,” he said.

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Roxas’ media ads in the run-up to the 2004 senatorial elections projected himself as “Mr. Palengke” or the champion of poor consumers.

The ads showed Roxas—a Wharton graduate who comes from the elite Araneta clan—in a wet market as he mingled with vendors and market goers.

Binay defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential race but Roxas is contesting Binay’s victory.

After his 40-minute market tour, Binay joined vendors, street children, police, Army soldiers and fellow Alpha Phi Omega fraternity members in a late lunch “boodle fight” at the side of the market.

Binay enjoyed the steaming rice, a local noodle dish called “chami,” steamed shrimps, broiled eggplants dipped in “bagoong,” pork adobo, sardines and assorted fruits spread over a long table covered with banana leaves.

The Vice President was overheard telling two street boys beside him to enjoy and finish the sumptuous food because they were courtesy of their kind host, the market vendors.

“Vice President Binay is really a  down-to-earth guy. From the way he used his hands in eating, we can feel his sincerity that he is really one of us,” said Minda, a vegetable vendor.

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An elderly market goer was overheard complaining to Binay about high prices of rice and other basic food items. The Vice President responded by saying that the government was doing its best to bring prices down.

Binay arrived here accompanied by Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian.

During his market tour, Binay was accompanied by his local political allies, former Lucena Mayor Ramon Talaga Jr. and the latter’s sons—former Quezon Board Member Romano Talaga and former Lucena City Councilor Ramil Talaga.

After his market visit, Binay spoke at the local Freemasons installation rites as a guest speaker.

Binay had already declared his intention to run for President in 2016. In preparation for his presidential run, he combined his Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party with Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino to form the United Nationalist Alliance.

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TAGS: Jejomar Binay, M. Palengke, News, Regions
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