CEBU CITY, Philippines – Dark-skinned and proud of it.
Amid criticism of the true political color of her party, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Nancy Binay chooses to take on those making jokes about the skin color of her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“I’m black and I’m proud to be black. Black is beautiful and I’m not offended at all,” Nancy said at a press conference here yesterday.
Nancy, who ranked fourth among possible senatorial winners in the recent survey of Pulse Asia, said the Binays are used to being the underdog.
“We have always been the underdog. We have been through many trials and we were able to surpass them,” Nancy said upon her arrival here yesterday.
UNA moved the venue of its proclamation rally today from Toledo City to Cebu City.
Nancy admitted that she was a hesitant senatorial candidate who was forced to throw her hat in the May election ring following the decision of businessmen Jose de Venecia III, son of former House speaker Jose de Venecia, to back out from the race.
“Joey told me to replace him and the executive committee of UNA, excluding my father, decided to take me in because without me declaring my intention to run for senator, I have been doing well in the surveys,” Nancy said.
“My father is against me running. But he can’t do anything about it,” Nancy said.
She said that the good performance of her father, who has been consistently topping surveys among government officials, contributed to her high rating.
Binay: We’re not pretenders
For his part, the Vice President said that the UNA is not a group of pretenders.
Binay issued the statement after deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over the weekend that there are those who pretend to be supportive of the Aquino government.
“But how can I become a pretender? I am a member of the Cabinet. I am doing all the tasks given to me by the President,” Binay said.
He said the term “pretender” used by Valte apparently referred to the “old and dirty politics.”
“During the Marcos regime, I was one of those categorized as subversive because I always criticized the government in public market. That is why we are now starting a new kind of politics,” Binay said.
“We will support him (Aquino) because we have the same objective and that is to alleviate the Filipino people. That is the same regardless if it is from the opposition or the administration. We cannot gain anything from intrigues,” Binay said.
He said he became the opposition only because he belongs to another party and not to the Liberal Party of the administration.
Nancy also said the detractors of her father and President Aquino cannot destroy their long and tested ties.
“They are wasting their time and energies. Why would you want the two highest leaders of our country – the President and the Vice President – to fight? It’s our country’s loss,” Nancy said.
“The Aquino and Binay families are too close. It goes beyond politics. There is mutual understanding between the two families,” Nancy added.
Nancy said President Aquino is not only the president of the LP, but of the whole country.
UNA secretary-general Toby Tiangco also appealed to the LP to stick to issues that need to be addressed and refrain from sowing intrigues between Binay and Aquino.
“If we want to see this nation move forward, we have to show political maturity and leave the intrigues behind. This year’s elections must not be seen as a proxy war for 2016 – this is not between ‘black’ and ‘white,’ or ‘yellow’ and the rest of the color spectrum. Our enemy here is poverty, unemployment and many others. The people are already tired of intrigues,” Tiangco said.
Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada will lead today the proclamation rally of the UNA, Tiangco said yesterday.
Tiangco said that UNA prepared for a powerhouse proclamation rally here today, the official start of the 90-day campaign period.
“It’s all systems go,” he said.
Tiangco said Binay, Enrile and Estrada will formally endorse UNA’s senatorial bets for the May elections to the more than 2.5 million Cebuano voters.
“The coalition is thankful for the overwhelming support the people of Cebu have given to the UNA senatorial slate led by Nancy Binay, Tingting Cojuangco, JV Ejercito, Jack Enrile, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay and Juan Miguel Zubiri. It is heartwarming and UNA is very honored and proud to have its first rally in the province of Cebu,” Tiangco said.
UNA also has three guest candidates – re-electionist senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Suspended Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and party officials will join UNA’s senatorial candidates in the proclamation rally.
From Cebu, UNA candidates will travel to Bohol tomorrow for the second leg of the coalition’s provincial sortie in the Central Visayas region.