MANILA - Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, a close ally of the late President Corazon Aquino, said Wednesday that there is a strong possibility that former President Joseph Estrada will give way to Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's presidential bid in 2010.
"If we follow what President Estrada has been saying in the past, that he will try his best to unify the opposition to assure victory [for] the opposition," Binay told ANC, when asked about the possibility of Estrada giving way to Aquino.
Binay, president of the United Opposition (UNO), said that with Aquino's declaration on Wednesday morning, he sees "no hindrance for President Erap and Senator Aquino to sit down and discuss how we can unify the opposition in the coming 2010 elections."
He said he will convince Estrada and Aquino to meet and probably come up with an agreement that could pave the way for a unified opposition slate in 2010.
"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will finally be able to resolve putting up one candidate, or only one president and only one for the vice presidency," said Binay, who is also gearing for a higher position in 2010.
"I will get in contact now with President Erap. Hopefully, I can [also] see Senator Noynoy and present to them the possibility of them meeting for purposes of unifying the [opposition] slate," he added.
He said the meeting might also include other presidential aspirants from the opposition. He, however, said that they would have to identify "real" opposionists before counting them in.
Maceda: Masa still for Erap
Meanwhile, former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, who is supporting former President Estrada, said they see Aquino as just another member of the opposition with a presidential aspiration.
Maceda said he cannot say if Estrada would give way to Aquino's bid in 2010. He said he does not see other opposition presidential aspirants giving way to Aquino.
"President Estrada is always open and willing to talk with anybody. Remember that President Estrada did helped a lot in making Noynoy Aquino senator," he said.
He added that it was the late former President Cory Aquino who approached Estrada and asked him to include his son in the opposition's senatorial slate in the 2007 elections.
He said the effect of Aquino's presidential declaration would become clearer in the next survey result.
"We'll have to see how the survey will show," he said.
Maceda predicted that Aquino's declaration would not affect the poor's preference for Estrada.
He said his "gut feeling" tells him that Aquino's declaration will affect the survey standings of Senators Manny Villar, Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda, and Vice President Noli de Castro, who are favorite candidates among the "intelligent voters'" class.
"But President Erap has remained steady in getting the masa vote," he added.