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President Benigno Aquino III's outspoken sister, showbiz personality Kris Aquino, has welcomed the idea of opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay running in the 2016 elections as the ruling Liberal Party's guest presidential candidate, a report on GMA News' "24 Oras" said on Wednesday.
“Parang may value naman ang opinion ko diyan, pero kung totoo, e di bongga!" Kris Aquino emphatically told reporters when asked about Binay's information that the administration party was eyeing him as its standard bearer two years from now.
"I don't make a secret of the fact that one of my closest friends is his (Binay's) daughter Anne, and we pray together,” she added.
Another presidential sister, Bally Aquino-Cruz, also posed no objection to Binay's scenario.
“You know, he never said anything bad about my family at pati na rin sa ibang partido, kaya ako ay natutuwa na ganoon ang pakiramdam niya. Kung yun din naman ang kanyang hangarin, na maipagpatuloy ang mga nasimulan ni Noy [President Aquino's nickname], e di magaling,” Cruz said.
While Binay heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, he remains a member of President Aquino's Cabinet as housing czar and adviser on migrant workers' affairs.
Binay is a longtime friend of the Aquino family. He has repeatedly said that he owed his government and political career to the late former President Corazon Aquino, who first appointed him officer-in-charge of Makati in 1986.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of LP, had earlier denied that the administration party was eyeing Binay to be its standard bearer.
Drilon added said that if Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II decided to run for president, he would be the official bet of LP.
Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, meanwhile, kept himself from making a categorical comment on whether he was willing to be the presidential bet of the opposition in the wake of the report that Binay was also being eyed by the LP as its presidential bet.
The former President ran as the UNA's standard bearer in 2010. Binay ran as his running mate then.
Estrada finished second behind President Aquino while Binay came from behind to snatch the vice presidency from LP candidate, then Senator Roxas.
“Hindi pwedeng isa lang ang kandidato ng administration at opposition dahil hindi na demokrasya yun,” Estrada said.
Asked whether he was willing to be the strandard bearer of UNA, Estrada just laughed and replied: “Sa ngayon, I'm too much concentrated on the problems of Manila, wala pa akong iniisip na ganun.”
In earlier interview with GMA News, Estrada hinted that he might be forced to run again as president in 2016 if UNA would have no standard bearer.
On Monday, Binay said he received information that LP was considering adopting him to be its standard bearer in the 2016 elections. He, however, added that the information was still “raw” and there had been no discussions with the LP leaders yet as regards the scenario.
House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales, a member of the LP, admitted that Estrada still had a strong chance of winning if he decides to run for president.
“If the last election was to be any indication, who would have thought na mag number 2 siya. Marami parin talaga ang following niya, yung 'Erap Para sa Mahirap' is a slogan na talagang yung mahihirap nakadikit dun e,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said LP leaders called for a meeting with some of the members on Monday, but he said issue of a possible merger with UNA nor adopting Binay as guest candidate has not been discussed. —Elizabeth Marcelo/NB, GMA News