MANILA - Why are the endorsements of relatives of President Aquino a plus for Vice-President Jejomar Binay?
According to United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary-general Toby Tiangco, the endorsements of the President's uncles and sisters only show that people who know Binay for a long time can vouch for the Vice-President's integrity.
Speaking to ANC, Tiangco said the recent endorsements run counter to the statements of some Liberal Party members who say Binay cannot be the LP standard-bearer.
Many of those new LP members, he said, are members of different political parties who jumped ship and joined the ruling party when Aquino became President.
"I think the most important thing here is yung mga nagsasabing ayaw nila kay VP Binay ay mga bagong kasama lang ni Presidente Aquino...Itong mga nagsasalita ngayon like [former] Senator Butz Aquino, these are people who were with the late Senator Ninoy Aquino during the hardest times and they know the real character and personality of VP Binay," he said.
He said the President's relatives know the hardships that Binay went through to help then Senator Ninoy Aquino against the Marcos dictatorship.
"Hindi lang sila kasama dun sa ginhawa. Yung talagang matagal nang nakakakilala kay VP Binay ay talagang sumusuporta sa kanya. It shows the true character of VP Binay, hindi katulad nung naninira sa kanya hindi talaga siya nakasama...Yung talagang nakakakilala sa kanya can vouch for his integrity, his qualification and his intent to uplift the lives of the poor," he added.
On Thursday, the President's uncle, former Senator Agapito "Butz" Aquino said many members of the Aquino clan support Binay's presidential bid.
He said those who support Binay include himself and his brother Paul, both brothers of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., and Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, brother of the late President Corazon Aquino.
Agapito's statement came after the President's sisters expressed openness to Binay running as the Liberal Party (LP) candidate in 2016.
"Balita ko suportado ka raw ng sisters. Hindi lang mga sisters, pati uncles. Uncle Peping, Paul, Butch," he said.
Binay, for his part, welcomed the endorsement of Aquino's uncles, saying he has long been friends with the President's family.
"Sa akin, mahalaga. Kasi mga kaibigan ko talaga iyon, kasama sa hirap at ginhawa. Iyon bang reiteration ng aming pinagsamahan," Binay said.
STILL UNA BET
In the interview, Tiangco said there has been no formal talks for a possible alliance between the United Nationalist Alliance and the LP.
He reiterated that when Binay does run for President in 2016, it will be under the UNA banner.
He also said that if President Aquino endorses Binay as his successor, LP members will have to make a decision whether or not to follow the President.
"Whatever happens, VP Binay will run under UNA...Yung endorsement is a plus and the support ng mga kamag-anak is a plus," he said.