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Binay, Marcos near deal on 2016 teamup

VICE President Jejomar Binay and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong”  Marcos Jr. have supposedly reached a “very significant breakthrough” in their ongoing talks to team up for the 2016 national elections, Binay’s camp said on Saturday.

“It’s almost a done deal,” Binay himself said in a radio interview as lawyer Jose Virgilio Bautista, secretary-general of the United Nationalist Alliance, lauded the development as “a very significant breakthrough.”

Marcos

Bautista said Binay and Marcos talked directly with each other for the first time on Friday and discussed political matters, including UNA’s search for Binay’s running mate.

“Those two haven’t spoken directly. They always had an intermediary. And I think that is a very significant breakthrough because they have never spoken personally with each other,” Bautista said.

“Yes. I had a talk with him over the phone for the first time last night,” Binay himself told journalists in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, after UNA’s induction of new members in Mindanao.

Binay declined to give a detailed account of his conversation with Marcos, but he did say that “The conversation was good,” Binay said, but he declined to elaborate, saying only “we have personal issues that need to be addressed.”

Binay declined to say when he  will reveal details of his conversation with Marcos, except to say “it’s very near.”

Through unidentified intermediaries, Binay has been trying to persuade Marcos to become his running mate apparently because of the senator’s strong base of supporters in Luzon, particularly Ilocano voters who remain loyal to his deceased father, former President Ferdinand Marcos.

But Marcos, who has also gained a following in Mindanao because of his work on the controversial bill on the basic law for the Bangsamoro autonomous region, is also in talks with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is also aspiring to run for President.

Moreover, Marcos is also a member of the Nacionalista Party, although Bautista said Marcos does not need to leave the NP if he decides to run with Binay.

“UNA can make Marcos a guest candidate or enter into a coalition with the NP, which is currently in a coalition with the administration Liberal Party, so that the Nacionalista Party can declare Bongbong as their official candidate,” Bautista said.

Binay, on the other hand, has been having difficulties finding a vice presidential candidate presumably because of his slipping approval and trust ratings in recent voter preference polls.

Binay has also announced earlier that UNA is also considering Senator Gregorio Honasan and former senator Panfilo Lacson as possible running mates.

Binay, however, remains optimistic of his chances and told reporters on Saturday he will announce his running mate “very soon.”

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said its Election Watch Desk has identified Binay and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago as the most “likeable” presidential candidates in the 2016 national elections.

“If Facebook ‘likes’ were votes, and the presidential elections were held today, Senator Santiago would be the sure winner, followed by Vice President as runner-up, in the 2016 elections,” the TUCP watch desk said.

“Among FB users, there’s no question that Senator Santiago and Vice President Binay are the two most liked presidential hopefuls,” the TUCP said in a statement.

The TUCP desk performs a public service by monitoring, aggregating and reporting pre-election trends, including social media developments related to the 2016 presidential polls. It also plans to hold presidential as well as senatorial debates on labor issues.

Santiago’s official FB page had a total of 3,123,357 likes as of Sept. 30, 2015, followed by Binay’s page with 1,758,688 likes.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s official FB page ranked third with 1,049,681 likes; resigned Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’s page-fourth with 1,029,216; Senator Grace Poe’s page fifth with 553,571; and former President and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada’s page-sixth with 506,004.

“We’re not surprised by Senator Santiago’s exceptionally strong fan base among FB users. Her feistiness tends to attract young and avid internet users,” the TUCP desk said.

“Many of her FB fans say that Senator Santiago is the true champion of the real ‘Tuwid na Daan,’ and that many of the country’s elected officials, regardless of their political parties, would likely end up in jail for corruption, once the go-getting senator is elected president,” it added.

The TUCP desk, however, stressed that the labor group itself, led by former Sen. Ernesto Herrera, is still searching for a presidential aspirant to endorse.

TUCP is the nation’s largest democratic labor confederation. It has 1.2 million union members grouped under 40 national labor federations across all sectors and industries, from agriculture to manufacturing to services.

 

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