Due to recent developments, Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday announced that she was taking a leave of absence effective Oct. 18, Thursday, as President of the United Nationalist Alliance.
“With my absence, I will be focusing more on my job as a Senator and put all my efforts in advancing pending legislation in the 17th Congress,” she said in a letter to the party’s secretary-general, lawyer JV Bautista.
However, as an official senatorial candidate of UNA in next year’s elections, Binay vowed to continue to advance the party’s core agenda of competence and the Binay brand of service.
Binay said she expects the party to handle her leave appropriately in accordance with their rules and charter.
“It is my wish that the secretary -general grants my request in good faith,” said the reelectionist senator.
Bautista said the party’s Executive Committee, chaired by former vice president Jejomar Binay, who is seeking a congressional seat in Makati, will meet to decide on the senator’s successor.
Senator Binay could not be reached for comment to expound on the recent developments that prompted her to take a leave of absence, but some observers surmised that this could be due to the existing feud between her two siblings who are both running for mayor of Makati City.
Incumbent Mayor Abby Binay-Campos and her younger brother, former Mayor Junjun Binay, had filed their respective certificate of candidacy as both of them stood their ground to run for mayor of Makati.
Abby had appealed to Junjun to drop his mayoralty bid amid a publicized rift that has left the political family divided.
“This will divide our family even after the elections. You know my brother...through all the joy and the sorrow I have been with him. In all the crises that he has been through, personally and politically, I was with him,” said Abby.
“I was with him at the Senate, I was with him in city hall. I was standing up for him. Ate (older sister) ako e, di ‘ba. I wish he would give me a chance,” said Binay.
Abby said her brother “will have his turn...and he had his turn,” and it was “inconceivable” for them to be rivals.
But Junjun, unfazed by the appeal of his older sister, proceeded in filing his COC. He was accompanied by Nancy, the eldest of the Binay children, and his mother, former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay.
But the senator had clarified that joining her brother in the filing of his COC did not mean that she was taking sides.
The senator added that she will not meddle in the feud between her two siblings, as she also to focus on her fight to keep her seat in the Senate.
“At this point, I also have a fight so I first need to focus on this (re-election,” the senator said.
While the senator admitted that she is closer to Junjun since they had spent more tie together, she was non-committal when asked if she would help campaign for her brother.
“I still do not know. I don’t want to think about it. Perhaps, I must attend first to my (senate) run since this is more difficult because it involved the whole Philippines,” the senator said.
“Let’s see. But at this time, let us avoid first. Anyway, our house is just near Manila, so it would be easier to cross,” she added.
She said that their father, who is seeking a congressional seat in Makati, had acceded to the desire of both Abby and Junjun to slug it out in Makati’s political arena but reminded both to stick to their platform and avoid saying “hurting words.”
She reiterated the elder Binay’s statement that it was not for him to decide on the political fate of his two children, but the Makati electorate.
The senator recalled that when she first ran as senator in 2013, her father never told her to run, but had repeatedly asked she was sure to run or if that was really her decision.
“So he’s just like that among his siblings. It will always be up to our decision.”
Asked whether there is a chance that either of her two siblings might lose to another mayoralty bet, the senator said she was not aware if there is another candidate vying for the top local post in the city.
But she admitted that the clash between Junjun and Abby would divide their family, saying the resulting dynamics would not be easy. She added that the family’s priority at the moment is to isolate the siblings’ children in the upcoming political fight.
Describing their family situation as complicated, the senator said they try to avoid to talk about the situation.
The senator said the Binay’s sibling rivalry in politics could deeply affect their parents.
“I know and I understand the dilemma of our parents right now.”
She also admitted that she is worried about landing a place in the next Senate since there are many prominent personalities who are running for senator.
She recalled her father’s advice when she joined the senatorial race in 2013 that she should always be running scared all the time. “So I guess it’s still the same.”
Despite being a re-electionist, Binay said she is still not confident about her chances of winning in the midterm elections although she’s doing well in all surveys on senatorial candidates preferred by the voters.