MANILA - Senator Nancy Binay said she was taking a leave of absence as president of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), amid a sibling rivalry in the Binay family that created the party.
The party, formed by former vice president Jejomar Binay, was divided after two of the Binay children, incumbent Makati mayor Abigail Binay and former Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay Jr., bickered over who should run as Makati mayor in the upcoming 2019 polls.
"In light of recent developments within the party, I am taking a leave of absence effective today as President of UNA," Senator Binay said in a statement.
"With my absence, I will be focusing more on my job as a Senator and put all my efforts in advancing pending legislation in the 17th Congress," she said.
Senator Binay's resignation, effective October 18, was made a day after her sister Mayor Binay filed her certificate of candidacy as the UNA's official candidate.
In an interview with ANC earlier this week, Abby had said Nancy was closer to Junjun.
Binay Jr. joined Senator Binay when she filed her certificate of candidacy for reelection earlier this week.
Binay Jr. also filed election documents to run for Makati mayor under the local party "Una sa Makati."
He vowed to keep the "Binay brand of service" that Abby had allegedly abandoned.
Senator Binay echoed her brother's promise in her resignation statement: "As an official senatorial candidate of UNA in the 2019 National Elections, I will still continue to advance UNA’s core agenda of competence and the Binay brand of service."
The Binay patriarch, who supported Abby's filing of candidacy, earlier said the family would let Makati voters decide.
"Hindi ako ang magpapasya kung sino sa kanila ang karapat-dapat na maging punong-lungsod. Ang magpapasya niyan ay ang mga mamamayan ng Makati,” he said.
(Abby and Junjun are both my children. I respect their decision to run for mayor of Makati. I cannot decide who between them deserves to be the mayor. The people of Makati would choose.)