VICE President Jejomar Binay said on Friday he may asked former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to be his running mate in 2016 in a reversal of roles during the 2010 presidential election.
“It is no longer Erap-Binay, it is now Binay-Erap,” Binay said in a radio interview in Naval, Biliran. “We call that BEST. Do you know what BEST means? Binay-Estrada.”
Binay said he met with Estrada and had a one-hour closed-door meeting at the Manila city hall last week, but both denied that their meeting was in preparation for the 2016 elections.
The Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), headed by Estrada, and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), headed by Binay, signed a coalition agreement on April 4, 2012 for the 2013 elections, forming the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Binay is now considered the official standard bearer of UNA and he said there is a search committee that is considering a number of possible running mates.
“The elections are still far away and we still have to discuss the mechanism for choosing our candidates,” Binay said.
The Binay camp had earlier indicated that it was hoping Senator Grace Poe would run as the Vice President’s running mate, but the senator declined the offer even as she considers running for president herself.
Binay’s spokespersons later denied the they offered Poe the spot on the slate. “There was never an offer. It was a reply to questions from media if (Grace Poe) was being considered. Of course, the polite answer of the VP is yes,” said UNA interim president and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco.
Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesperson for media affairs, said Poe was only one of several personalities being considered to be the UNA’s vice presidential candidate next year, but “no offer was made formally or informally.”
Estrada and Binay are known to be close to the Poe family since the senator’s deceased father Fernando Poe Jr. was known to be a close friend of Estrada while Binay served as his campaign manager when the actor ran for president in 2004.
But their relationships appear to be souring recently, especially after Poe signed a Senate document recommending the filing of corruption charges against Binay.
The Binay camp later challenged Poe’s eligibility to run for president after she herself indicated in her certificate of candidacy in 2010 that her residency in the Philippines would not suffice to meet the 10-year requirement in the Constitution.
In an apparent bid to mend fences, Binay’s daughter, Makati Rep. Mar-len Abigail Binay called for a ceasefire in the word war with Poe and lamented that the question on Poe’s residency was being used to fuel a “personal war” between her father and the senator.
The congresswoman said the issue can only be resolved in court and lamented the verbal joust among lawyers who have various opinions.
“That will lead to nothing, except fuel the rift between my father and Senator Poe,” Abigail said.
The congresswoman also clarified that his father has nothing to do with Tiangco’s revelation of the supposed residency issues. .
Poe also said she does not have any personal quarrels with the Binay family although they have been hurling hurtful allegations against her.
“I merely answered the accusations hurled against me by their spokesperson because people have a right to know who I am. I don’t hide anything from them,” said Poe.
Poe insisted she has not forgotten the relationship between the Binay and Poe families and reiterated that she has not even decided with finality whether to run for higher office in 2016.
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