Nancy Binay: The accidental candidate

By David Dizon,

Posted at Feb 08 2013 02:34 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2013 03:52 AM

She's against reproductive health law and divorce

MANILA - "Accidental candidate" Nancy Binay admitted Friday that her father, Vice-President Jejomar Binay, did not want her to run in the May 2013 senatorial election.

She said she was only included in the United Nationalist Alliance slate after her father was outvoted by his fellow UNA leaders, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Binay, 39, said her father had always rejected any suggestion to include her in the UNA slate despite her strong showing in the early pre-election surveys. She said she was working for her dad as his personal assistant as well as deputy campaign manager of UNA.

"Ever since the beginning, When we had the first execom meeting, my name was always in the surveys. But my dad would say 'Alisin niyo na yung pangalan ng anak ko dahil hindi yan tatakbo,'" she said in an interview with Pinky Webb on Mornings@ANC.

Things changed, however, when potential candidate Joey de Venecia backed out of the senatorial race, leaving one slot open in the UNA lineup. It was then that UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco started asking the younger Binay to join the senatorial slate.

"Ang sabi pangit daw yung 11 kasi 'ma-onse', so may ganung connotation. Toby was given the task to look for a replacement. He asked Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, but the mayor did not want it because he was not doing well in the surveys. Parang suntok daw sa buwan yun if he runs. he was being practical.'

"E sa survey, ako yung pumapasok 12 -13 so he said 'Bakit pa ako lalayo?' So he talked to me and ayoko talaga. I am not used to being in the limelight. Feeling ko I work best behind the scene. Tinanong niya ako so finally sige."

Binay said she had to ask her family first about her plan to run for the Senate.

She said that after her father turned down the proposal to include her in the line-up, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada approached her and called her "Senadora."

"I said, 'Don't call me that. My dad doesn't want me to run.' But Jinggoy said: "E bakit? Isang boto lang naman ang daddy mo e. Nandiyan si Erap and Enrile.' The VP was outvoted. Yun yung desisyon process ng UNA," she said.

Binay: Nothing wrong with dynasties

Binay said one possible reason why her father did not want her to join the senatorial race is because he would lose an assistant. "Feeling ko, he is going to miss me," she said.

The eldest of the 5 Binay children, Nancy has not held any elective office, preferring instead to assist her father and mother. Two of her siblings, Makati Mayor Jun Binay and Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, hold public office.

Nancy served as personal assistant of her mother, Elenita Binay, when she served as Makati mayor from 1998 to 2001. She also assists her father by serving as liaison between the VP’s office and shelter agencies under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

In the interview, Nancy denied that her father did not want her to run because it would be perceived that they were starting a political dynasty.

"For me kasi, I think there's nothing wrong with political dynasty kasi at the end of the day it is the people who will vote, di ba? They want our brand of service and we are willing to work for them," she said.

She admitted that her father's popularity is boosting her chances of winning but also sets a challenge for her to do well. Binay is currently ranked 4th in the latest Pulse Asia pre-election survey.

"For me, it is more of a challenge kasi yung standard na sinet ko for myself is 100% more sa brand of service na binibigay ng daddy ko. I have to dahil ganun ang training naming magkakapatid," she said.

Nancy admitted that she has not occupied any public office but said people appreciate that she works behind the scenes. She said that during her father's trips, she gets to interact with regular people who tell her their needs.

"I help my family do their public service and that is my contribution. All around nga e. What's nice is when I go around with my dad, siya nasa stage and I stay on the sidelines. I don't like to introduce myself. Para akong normal na staff. I get to talk to people at dahil hindi ako nagpapakila nakakarating yung gusto nilang iparating," she said.

She also added that public office "was not in her career path."

Nancy talks about Senate cash gifts

The vice-president's daughter also defended his father from allegations that he is corrupt.

"It's not true. Kahit ano itapon nila sa amin, hindi nagsi-stick. If it was an issue, hindi aabot yung service namin. You know, my father was mayor for 20 years and then my mom and now it's my brother. If it was true, wala kami ngayon," she said.

Binay also gave her own take on the controversy over the Senate "cash gifts" after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile admitted singling out 4 senators not to receive additional funds.

"Ako, I will not complain. Kasi I am always with Congresswoman (and UNA senatorial candidate) Mitos Magsaysay and as you know, she belongs with the minority in Congress. So wala siyang nakukuhang [priority development assistance funds]. She is not getting anything. E ganun talaga," she said.

She admitted that she is now close to fellow UNA bets Magsaysay and Tingting Cojuangco because they are the 3 females in the senatorial slate.

Binay said her father is serious about pursuing the presidency in 2016. "Being a vice-president is not enough. Lalo na at the beginning, yung budget niya e mas malaki pa yung budget ng barangay sa Makati than the budget of the vice-president," he said.

Free medicine for seniors in Mercury Drug

If elected, Binay said she wants to expand the "education for employment" program in Makati that helps fresh graduates match their skill sets with job openings in the private sector. She also wants more daycare and feeding centers to lower the malnutrition rate nationwide.

She said she also wants more benefits given to senior citizens including a subsidy program for essential medicines that can be taken in regular drugstores. She noted that in Makati, senior citizens can get certain medicines from Mercury Drug outlets for free.

"It used to be they get it from health centers but the medicines were either out of stock or expired so there's wastage. So my brother bidded it out and Mercury Drug won. They just need a doctor's prescription to get the medicines," she said.

Binay said she is not for the reproductive health bill, noting that she was able to do birth spacing using natural family planning method. She said the P3 billion alloted for contraceptives would be better spent on expanding the government's immunization program.

She said she is against the passage of a divorce law. "I think government should strengthen the family, not break it up. Besides, we already have annulment and then there's legal separation," she said.

She also shared her father's advice to win the election. "Work hard and no free moments for me except when I text," she said.