Binay pays Pacquiao visit; sparks running mate talk
MANILA, Philippines–From opposition senatorial bet to the 2016 presidential frontrunner’s running mate.
Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced that boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao would be included in his senatorial slate in 2016.
Now, he may be the presidential aspirant’s potential running mate.
The Vice President flew to General Santos City on Monday to oversee housing projects in the boxing champ’s hometown when the question about a possible Binay-Pacquiao tandem in 2016 surfaced.
Pacquiao, who met Binay at the airport, was asked by reporters: Is he supporting Binay despite the latter being implicated in corruption allegations?
“Being a congressman—a representative of Sarangani province—it’s my duty to welcome the second top official of the Philippines to our place. It’s an honor for us that he did not only visit us but also gave us a housing project here,” Pacquaio said in an interview at the airport, a transcript of which was released to the media in Manila.
In a radio interview in General Santos City, Pacquiao was asked what he thought Binay could do for the province in the event he became president in 2016.
Pacquiao said Binay’s visit and the housing project under his leadership showed what the Vice President could do for the province. He also said that coming from a poor family, Binay would better understand the plight of the poor.
“That’s why I believe that if he becomes president, he would be a big help to the province,” Pacquiao said.
Interviewed separately in Lagao, Binay said he and the boxing champ came from poor families and this shaped the way they serve in government.
On the question of whether he was asking people to convince Pacquiao to be his running mate, Binay said: “That was what was being asked of me in Luzon. You can see that this person is very helpful and has shown he knows how to govern and, more importantly, he is pro-God and pro-country.”
The Vice President said he had not decided who his running mate in 2016 would be.
Binay brushed off criticism that he was campaigning a year too early. He said he was just doing his job.
Binay said there were more people who did not believe the corruption allegations against him.
“The smear campaign will not last if it’s not true,” he said.