Poe’s party: Escudero has no secret deal with Binay
MANILA, Philippines — A non-issue.
The Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) played down speculations, on Thursday, that its vice presidential aspirant, Sen. Francis Escudero, might have secretly forged an alliance with Vice President Jejomar Binay, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) presidential bet.
Ace Durano, the party’s campaign manager, said there has been “no doubt” about Escudero’s support for Sen. Grace Poe, the standard-bearer of the so-called third force in the May 2016 general elections.
Echoing Escudero’s explanation, he said the supposed meeting between the PGP vice presidential bet and Binay in Davao City a few days ago was just a “chance encounter.”
“(Escudero) is a very principled person. He knows who his president is,” Durano told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after the PGP officially announced its senatorial slate at the storied Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.
“There’s really nothing. It’s not an issue at all,” he stressed. “For us, it’s a non-issue.”
Escudero, who was credited for Binay’s victory in the 2010 national elections, seemed to quell questions regarding his loyalty when he introduced Poe at the PGP gathering.
“My President does not have a ‘B,’” Escudero said, apparently a play at a commercial he did during the 2010 campaign in support of Binay.
“My President has a ‘G’ and a ‘P.’ She has competence and her heart is in the right place… It’s a great honor to introduce to you… Sen. Grace Poe, the next president of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
A photo showing Binay and Escudero, who severed his ties with the Vice President before the 2013 senatorial race, sharing a table at a restaurant in Davao on Sunday, came out in the media, triggering rumors that Escudero might be plotting to abandon Poe.
But the senator said they were just invited by a common friend, former Davao del Norte Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo, over lunch last Sunday.
Poe herself expressed confidence that her running mate was not planning anything against her, but admitted she was surprised when she saw the photo.
Durano said candidates belonging to rival parties would usually see each other during the campaign.
“It happens all the time when you’re on a campaign trial… Just because you’re not an ally or not in the same ticket does not mean you can’t be friends,” he said. SFM