Binay finalizing talks with Marcos Jr.

VICE President Jejomar Binay’s search committee is finalizing talks with Senator Ferdinand ‘‘Bongbong’’ Marcos Jr. and Senator Gregorio Honasan as his possible running mates in next year’s elections, an official said Wednesday.

“The United Nationalist Alliance party will announce Vice President Binay’s running mate within the next few days,” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said.

Keynote address. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers the keynote address at the University de Manila on Wednesday. Lino Santos

He made his statement even as the younger brother of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao said the boxing icon was almost sure to run for senator next year.

General Santos Councilor Rogelio “Ruel” Pacquiao said Manny would no longer seek a third term at the House of Representatives in next year’s elections.

He said their local political party, the People’s Champ Movement, had decided to field him as its official candidate for Sarangani’s lone congressional district seat following a series of consultations.

“The party leadership had a long discussion about this and made consultations with our members. It eventually decided I’m the party’s best bet for the post and congressman Manny’s replacement,” Rogelio told reporters.

He said he expected his brother to make an official announcement soon regarding his run for the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections on Wednesday assured Binay there would be no cheating in next year’s elections.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said his agency was committed to ensuring a credible presidential elections following Binay’s concerns there would be cheating.

“Our mantra is credible elections,” Bautista said.

On Tuesday, Binay said his biggest worry in the coming elections was the possibility of electoral fraud involving the Comelec’s vote-counting machines.

He warned he would not hesitate to call for a people power demonstration in case he was cheated.

Binay said UNA will decide on his running mate based on his commitment to the party platform.

“It’s going to be a Binay-Marcos tandem in the 2016 national elections. This is going to be a formidable team,” an UNA source said.

Marcos is a member of the Nationalista Party led by former Senate President Manuel Villar Jr.

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