Binay unfazed: No turning back

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday said he will not back out from the presidential race in 2016 despite persistent reports of alleged corruption against him and his family which he branded as mere “political black propaganda.”

“All negative reports and lies being spread against me and my family will not deter me from running,” Binay said during the National Conference of Employers held at the Marriott Hotel, Pasay City.

“The fight will go on. Inumpisahan niya, tatapusin ko,” he added.

Binay also said that he will respect the decision of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to support Senator Grace Poe should she decides to seek the highest post in the 2016 elections.

Binay made the statement even as a Palace official admitted that President Benigno Aquino III has had meetings with Poe and presumptive Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II.

“We should respect their decision. There is no need to interfere on the decision of Estrada. If he wants to support Poe, then so be it. Let’s respect it,” Binay said.

Poe is the daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr, Estrada’s best friend.

Estrada’s political party Partido ng Masang Pilipino, is part of the opposition’s United Nationalist Alliance – Binay’s political party.

The Vice President said, however, that UNA is still considering Poe to be his running mate.

Still, Binay did not give a direct answer when asked whether he is ready if Poe decides to run under the administration’s Liberal Party.

Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte, who admitted that Poe has been meeting with the president, said that Poe and Roxas has an ongoing separate discussion with Roxas.

“Well you know, we’ve seen that it is an on going discussion as Senator Grace Poe met with Secretary Mar Roxas earlier, and then met with the President along with Secretary Mar Roxas,” Valte said in a radio interview.

She added that it comes as no surprise if Poe would seek guidance from the President since the lady Senator, an independent candidate, ran on the Liberal Party’s ticket during the last midterm elections in 2013.

She also disclosed that Poe will have another meeting with Aquino in the coming weeks.

“I do know that there is supposed to be another meeting as the President mentioned, if I’m not mistaken, but I don’t know when the schedule is going to be,” she admitted.

On Friday, Poe admitted that she would seek Aquino’s guidance in whatever role she may find herself in,

Aquino met with Poe before he left for a four-day visit to the United States and Canada.

While Aquino did not directly tell Poe that the LP wanted her to be either its standard bearer or its vice presidential candidate in next year’s election, the senator said the President told her the LP needs an alternative candidate.

She added that Aquino also made it clear to her the alternative candidate need not be an LP member, but someone who has the chance of winning the elections and who can carry out the current reforms of the present administration and its fight against corruption.

On Thursday, the President said he believes Poe would be among those who can continue the reforms that he said his administration has started.

He added that as of this time, his party has yet to finalize everything, including its campaigning strategies.

The President has earlier assured the public that he will endorse the LP’s standard bearer in June, but added that he would still need to consulting with several sectors, including the non-government organizations, the civil society organizations, among others, on who the administration should choose to represent them in the next presidential polls.          

The president also said he is open on getting an independent candidate to represent the LP in the elections.

“I get everybody’s inputs eh, not just the established political parties but also, di ba, yung again the NGOs (non-government organizations), the civil society organizations, peoples organizations, other support,” Aquino said.

Based on the previous Social Weather Survey result, Poe retained her position as the top vice presidential bet for the May 2016, while also trailing Binay on a separate survey for Filipinos’ choice for the next president.

Roxas, on the other hand, landed at 7th place as the Filipinos’ choice for president.

Following the survey, Aquino admitted that he was worried with the performance of Roxas in surveys.

“Parang yung pangamba ng bayan aspect ay talagang kailangang pakinggan ko, lahat ng boses ng bawat isang sangay, ng bawat sanga nitong samahan na ito, at ma-preserve nga yon,” Aquino said.

“Kapag na-preserve natin yon, talagang lalakas ang tulak ng pangangampanya ng kung sino man ang mapili ng buong samahan,” he added.

Last month, during the general assembly of 1,490 municipality mayors, Aquino has listed the criteria that he was  looking for from his successor.

He said that he was not only looking for a presidential candidate who can continue his program of “straight path” but someone who has “integrity, honesty, and confidence” in running the Philippines.

The President, whose term would end in May 2016 also added that the Philippine economy will remain robust if his successor will continue the reforms that he has started since 2010.

“Kung ngayon pa lang, halos limang taon matapos manumbalik ang pag-asa ng ating mga Boss, ay napakalayo na ng ating narating, gaano pa kaya katayog ang mga pangarap na maabot natin kung magtutuloy at dadami pa ang mga repormang ipapatupad ng susunod na magiging pinuno? (We’ve gone this far, nearly five years after hope was restored to our bosses. We can go even higher if reforms are pursued by the next president) ,” the President added.

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