VP bet shrugs off issue as black propaganda
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice presidential bet Jejomar Binay has admitted to having an extra-marital affair that almost caused his marriage to Dr. Elenita Binay to crumble.
He told journalists covering a campaign sortie in San Fernando, Pampanga that the affair has long been over.
He stressed the issue is just being raised as a black propaganda days before the May 10 polls when his survey ratings have dramatically improved.
He stressed, too, that his wife and family have already forgiven him. He said he's not perfect and also commits mistakes.
"Ah, nangyari po yon, 'di ko tinatanggi yon. Ito ho e, humingi ho ako ng tawad sa asawa ko. Tao rin naman ho ako, nagkakaroon din ako ng kasalanan," he said.
"I made a mistake and I was sorry for that. I already atoned for my sin," he would later tell ANC's The Rundown on Friday evening.
Binay described the bringing up of the issue as "pinaka-black na propaganda."
Pictures of Binay and his alleged mistress have been circulating in the Internet, including the popular online social media Facebook.
Neighbors of the unnamed woman confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Binay had a relationship with her. They said she is currently abroad.
Meantime, in an interview with ABS-CBN's Ces Drilon, Binay’s children, Junjun and Abby, shrugged off the online rumors about the illicit affair of the father. They said it is politically motivated.
The 2 Binay kids also confirmed that their father had an extra-marital relationship in the past, but stressed that the family has long known about it, and that their mother has forgiven the vice presidential aspirant.
"My dad took some time off to be with my mother," Abby told ABS-CBN News in an interview. Junjun added that the Binay couple went on a cruise. "They went to Europe."
"Nakita naman naming na my father made it a point to make [it] up to my mother (We saw how my father tried hard to make it up to my mother)," Junjun said. "He exerted efforts na maipakita na hindi lamang sa mother ko, pero [pati] sa aming magkakapatid, na bawiin kung ano man ang pagkukulang nya sa nagawa nya (He also tried to make it up to us, his children)."
Abby stressed that "If there was any marital infidelity, it was between my Mom and my Dad."
Junjun and Abby are respectively in the mayoralty and congressional races in Makati City where Binay family members have ruled since 1986. Junjun is up against former ally and current Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado who has since joined the rival Nacionalista Party.
Pictures of Binay and his former mistress were displayed on the video wall during the Friday evening campaign rally of Mercado in Makati. Mercado challenged Binay to explain the affair, a report of Channel 2's Bandila showed Friday late evening.
Binay is the running mate of PMP standard-bearer Joseph Estrada, a former president.
In a Friday evening interview on ANC's The Rundown, Estrada said he didn't know of Binay's illicit affair, which apparently occured when Estrada was still president in the late 1990's. "He didn't tell me!"
He went on to defend Binay. "He's just human. He makes mistakes. It's been settled already. Who is a perfect husband?"
During his reign as president, Estrada’s extra-marital affairs—and the children he had fathered—were public knowledge.
Extra-marital affairs are said to be common among politicians in the Philippines, but these are generally kept from the public since the powerful Catholic Church frowns against it.
Extra-marital relationships of politicians are generally considered private affairs, except in the case of Estrada. The impeachment case against Estrada in 2000 considered the former president’s relationships as a public issue since public funds may have been used to benefit Estrada’s many families.
Personal conduct of public officials and employees are enshrined in the Republic Act No. 6713, also called the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Section 4 specifies that public officials "shall at all times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs..."
Binay told The Rundown that the issue of his indiscretion has a lot to do with his improving ranking in the pre-election surveys.
"I was already expecting that the higher I rank in the surveys, the more the candidates who are insecure will hurl issues against me," he noted.
Binay has overtaken Nacionalista Party vice presidential bet Loren Legarda in the Pulse Asia survey conducted last April 23-25.
The survey showed that the Makati mayor is now only 9 percentage points away from the survey frontrunner, Manuel “Mar” Roxas II of the Liberal Party.
"I was always No. 3 [in the surveys]. In fact, I came from -1%," noted Binay. He now has the second spot in the Pulse survey.
Binay also shrugged off opinions that his extra-marital affair is a reflection of his character as a public official.
Instead, he said this is all just politics, and that the issue is just part of the efforts of his opponents' paid demolition squad. "The moment one enters politics, everything is public. We have to be prepared."
When Estrada was asked if the extra-marital affair will hurt Binay's chances in the May 10 polls, Estrada told The Rundown, "I dont think so. It's part of the mudslinging." -- with a report from Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News