Makati mayor to run for VP instead
MANILA - Makati Mayor Jejomar C. Binay announced on Wednesday that he would no longer vie for the presidency and would instead run for vice-president in 2010.
In an official statement issued by the United Opposition (UNO), of which he is the president, Binay said he hoped that his "move would help unify the political opposition."
Binay is the third presidential aspirant to give way to Aquino and the fourth to withdraw from the presidential race.
The first two who gave way to Aquino are Liberal Party President Mar Roxas and Pampanga Gov. 'Among' Ed Panlilio.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier withdrew his presidential bid citing lack of funds.
Binay made the announcement after Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III declared Wednesday morning that he would run for the presidency under the Liberal Party.
Hoping for unity
“I have always said that if my bid for the presidency will be an obstacle in achieving unity within the opposition, I am willing to give way,” Binay said.
“After consulting with the other leaders of the PDP-Laban, the party has decided to support my bid for the vice presidency. It is a decision that I accept. I hope that this will pave the way to uniting the opposition,” he added.
Binay has long been a close ally of the Aquino family. In the 1986 presidential elections, the late Cory Aquino ran under Binay's party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
After the 1986 people power revolt, then President Aquino replaced all incumbent local officials, paving the way for Binay's rule in Makati.
Binay said the entry of Noynoy in the presidential contest should prompt "the different opposition parties to consider forming a coalition for the 2010 polls."
He also offered to mediate unity talks between Aquino and former President Joseph Estrada.
“There is all the more reason to pursue negotiations among the parties identified with the opposition for a possible coalition. As president of the United Opposition (UNO), this is an obligation that I am taking on. As a first step, I intend to mediate talks between former president Joseph Estrada and Sen. Aquino at the soonest possible time,” he said.