Binay wary of ‘guest’ candidates
Vice President Jejomar Binay has said he will have to apply the lessons learned in the 2013 elections if his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party will adopt “guest” candidates for its senatorial lineup.
In an interview at the sidelines of the 22nd National Public Relations Congress in Makati City on Friday, Binay said UNA would adopt only candidates who really wanted to be part of his slate.
The Vice President seemed to imply that he did not want a repeat of the past senatorial elections when three of UNA’s guest candidates—Grace Poe, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda—dropped out after refusing to appear in the party’s campaign sorties.
The three eventually ran under the Liberal Party-led Team PNoy administration coalition.
Coincidentally, Poe is now Binay’s closest rival in the 2016 presidential race, with the two at the top of the preference polls.
Poe topped the latest Pulse Asia survey with 27 percent, while Binay ranked second with 21 percent.
“Siguro kung magagawi kami sa pag-adopt, mag-aadopt kami dun sa mag-a-apply, hindi kami mag-a-adopt dun sa i-o-offer sa kanila. Iba yung sa gusto dun sa inaakit mo,” Binay said.
Binay, however, said this did not mean the party would implement stricter guidelines on guest candidates.
“Hindi naman mahigpit. Palagay ko ang pinakatama ay kung kami ay madako sa pagkakaroon ng guest candidates, ito yung mga nag-a-apply at ginusto sumama sa amin … Basta, pipilitin naming makabuo,” he said.
Binay remains secretive about his senatorial lineup, raising suspicions from Liberal Party political affairs officer Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice that other parties, including UNA, were having a difficult time completing their slate.
So far, the only openly declared senatorial candidates under UNA were actress and Parañaque Councilor Alma Moreno and Sulu princess Jacel Kiram, whose father Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led a failed attack to claim Sabah in an independence bid.
Meanwhile, an exodus of politicians is expected to join the banner of Senators Poe and Escudero, who have declared themselves as independents under a party called Partido Pilipinas.
Expected to be Poe-Escudero’s senatorial bets are Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano, and lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who has served as lawyer for accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, the Makabayan bloc, and a number of party-list groups such as An Waray and Ako Bicol are expected to align themselves with the Poe-Escudero camp in 2016. The alliance is expected to eclipse that of the size of the ruling LP.
Liberal Party is said to have a deep bench of senatorial aspirants numbering 16, among them Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, internal revenue chief Kim Henares, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, Las Pinas Rep. Mark Villar, and Mark Lapid, son of Sen. Lito Lapid.
The rest of the list includes senatorial reelectionists Senate President Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and TG Guingona, and former Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
Boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is said to be courted by all camps. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/RC
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