MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay wants a cohesive party for his 2016 presidential bid, and that's why he's bolting his own Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Laban party (PDP-Laban).
In a television interview with TV5 Sunday, March 2, the 2016 presidential aspirant said he is forming a new political party and leaving the PDP-Laban due to factionalism.
"Meron kasing problema sa party, especially sa leadership. Ayaw ko mang mag-break up 'yung partido, sabi ko kailangan tanggapin na natin 'yung nangyayari. Dahil sa maraming pagkakataon na kami, 'yung mga leaders in particular, hiwa-hiwalay pa sa pagsabak sa halalan," Binay said. (There's a problem in the party, especially in the leadership. While I don't want the party to break up, I said we need to accept what is happening. Because in many instances, we and the leaders in particular were divided in strategizing for the elections.)
The former Makati mayor and now vice president said his new party, which is yet to be named, is open to anyone willing to join, especially PDP-Laban members.
Among those he named were Cebu 3rd District Representative Gwen Garcia and Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao.
On Saturday, Rappler reported that a staunch Binay critic, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, is also preparing to run for president in 2016. (READ: Cayetano eyes presidency in 2016)
At least two people close to him say Cayetano is looking to release ads as early as in the next few weeks to create buzz.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is believed to be LP's bet. He lost his 2010 vice-presidential bid to Binay.
Vilma for vice?
Asked about Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, Binay also admitted that he is considering her as a running mate in 2016.
But it's too early to tell, he added, noting that there are also others "worth considering."
"Malayo pa ang 2016. Marami pang mangyayari. Bakit naman magsasabi ka na agad ng magiging VP mo? Lahat ay kino-consider pa natin. Kung bibiglain mo, 'yung mga nag-aasam asam, hindi na magkakagusto sa iyo," he said. (2016 is still far from now. A lot of things can happen. Why would you say who you're VP is? We are considering everything. If you make a sudden announcement, those who are aspiring would no longer be interested in joining you.)
Santos-Recto and her husband, Senator Ralph Recto, are currently with the LP, the country's ruling party.
The senator told Rappler Sunday they have no plans of leaving LP.
The Philippines however is notorious for its political turncoats, with politicians often shifting parties over irreconcilable differences and as a matter of political strategy.
In the 2010 presidential race, there were PDP-Laban members who ran under the LP instead of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) – the coalition that catapulted Binay to the second highest executive position.
"Meron kasi PDP-Laban na sumama sa UNA. Meron naman kaming tumiwalag doon sa usapan, sumama sa ibang partido... Hindi na desisyon ng partido ang nasusunod," he explained. (There are PDP-Laban members who joined UNA. There are those who didn't follow the plan and joined another party... The decisions of the party are no longer being followed.)
As a result, Binay said, there are PDP-Laban senators who are currently part of the Senate majority and there are those in the minority.
This, he added, excacerbates the lack of unity that seems to hound PDP-Laban.
PDP-Laban is Binay's long-time political party, dating back to when he was a rookie in Philippine politics.
The party boasts of a colorful history. Former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr's PDP and the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr's Laban merged to form PDP-Laban. The two were prominent opposition members under the Marcos regime. Binay himself was a human rights lawyer and activist under Marcos.
Right before the 2013 elections, the party was even eyeing to become the country's ruling party by 2016.
It will celebrate its 32nd anniversary this 2014. - with a report from Buena Bernal/Rappler.com