Mar on Binay-Roxas tandem: Mum’s the word
MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has remained evasive to the idea of a possible tie-up with his 2010 rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay, in the 2016 national elections.
Interviewed by reporters after the 113th anniversary of the Philippine National Police, where he was one of the guests, Roxas deftly parried off questions on the Binay-Roxas tandem.
Roxas was asked twice on the issue, but opted not to comment.
Roxas is the president-on-leave of the Liberal Party (LP), but he has remained mum on his plans for the 2016 presidential elections.
On the other hand, Binay has been vocal about his plans to run for president in 2016. He won over Roxas in the 2010 vice-presidential race.
Instead of answering the reporters’ question, Roxas chose to thank those who attended the PNP anniversary and then extolled the virtues of his party.
Reporters tried again to get him to speak on rumors that Binay might join the LP, but failed to elicit an answer.
Roxas said it might be better to ask the source of the Binay-Roxas rumors, saying many politicians want to join the Liberal Party because of its good standing.
Early this week, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Roxas is the Liberal Party’s standard bearer should the interior secretary decides to run for president in 2016.
Aquino in a bind
Rumors on the possible Binay-Roxas tandem gained credence after President Benigno Aquino III’s sisters virtually endorsed Binay instead of Roxas, who is still lagging in recent poll surveys.
Sen. JV Ejercito said Friday that the endorsement had put President Aquino in a bind.
Ejercito acknowledged that the presidential sisters’ endorsement of Binay would play a “big part” in the President’s anointment of his successor, but only to a certain point.
After all, the President values his party mates, most of whom prefer Roxas to run as standard-bearer of the ruling coalition in the May 2016 presidential vote, said Ejercito, a member of the United Nationalist
“He will be caught in between. Of course, the endorsement of the sisters will be very influential on P-Noy and it will pay a big part,” Ejercito told reporters in a phone-patch interview.
“But knowing the President, he also values his party mates and allies. He will be caught in the middle,” he added.
Binay issued a statement Thursday thanking the President’s sisters for their support, and saying the ties between their families “transcended politics.”
TV host Kris Aquino declared her and her sisters’ support for Binay as a potential successor of Mr. Aquino who steps down in June 2016.
“My sisters and I have been talking about it (LP adopting Binay) and we say that if this can bring about unity as… we’re not enemies… and if he continues what Noy has started, why not?” she said in her TV show.
Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, the eldest of the Aquino children, said in a TV interview: “If he wants to continue what Noy has started, the better.”
Ejercito could not say if the Aquino sisters’ endorsement of Binay was as good as an endorsement from Mr. Aquino.
“That we have to wait because we know the sisters are very influential. I also think the President listens a lot to his partymates, especially his very close allies who are pure LP,” he said.
Ejercito, however, doubted the ruling coalition would adopt Binay as its candidate in 2016.
“I’m very confident that will not happen. The probability of him being adopted is very difficult. LP has its own political agenda of extending beyond 2016. That means President Aquino or his anointed ally,” he said, referring to the proposal floated by Roxas that Mr. Aquino seek another term despite the constitutional prohibition.
Ejercito said his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, was “almost sure” that Binay would stay with the opposition.
But if by a strange turn of events LP adopts Binay, Ejercito said UNA would field its own presidential candidate.
“That’s the essence of democracy. We can’t have one candidate, one party… As fiscalizer, it will be a good thing to have our own candidate to present an alternative government to the present administration,” he said.
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