Binay seeks Aquino endorsement for 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay admitted he is seeking the endorsement of President Benigno Aquino III for the 2016 presidential elections.

"Yes. I think it's a legitmate hope, di ba (isn't it)? Every vote counts sa isang politiko (for us politicians). Kung ma-endorse ka, plus one ka – the President no less. (If you get endorsed, that is plus one [vote] for you – from the President no less)," Binay told journalist Lynda Jumilla in a one-on-one interview aired on ANC Tuesday night, October 21.

Binay said it was his childhood dream to become the president of the Philippines. The former mayor of Makati City planned to run in the 2010 presidential elections, but he gave way to then Senator Benigno Aquino III. 

Binay and the Aquino family are longtime allies but the relationship has been constantly challenged because Binay belongs to the opposition camp. In 2010, however, some people in the Aquino camp – reportedly including his relatives – reportedly campaigned for a "Noy-Bi" ticket, referring to Aquino and Binay.

Binay defeated Aquino's running mate in the 2010 elections, Manuel Roxas II, now Liberal Party's president-on-leave and Aquino's interior secretary. Roxas accused Binay of cheating to win the elections. His electoral protest is pending with the Supreme Court. 

Binay and Roxas are again expected to face each other in the 2016 presidential polls and they will fight for Aquino's endorsement. In the same ANC interview, the Vice President has identified Roxas to be behind the witnesses who have come out to accuse the Binays of earning from anomalous contracts and having undeclared wealth.

Last week, on October 14, Binay met with Aquino privately. Binay refused to discuss what he discussed with the President, but Aquino said they did talk about the ongoing probe of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee into Binay's wealth and Makati City transactions.

"Usapang magkaibigan. It was a private conversation. It's not for public consumption," Binay told Jumilla.

Binay highlighted in the ANC interview the strong ties between him and the Aquino family. "That was a night para sa magkaibigang magkaibigan. Taya ang buhay dito, ha? Lahat ng coup ako ang kasama," Binay recalled. (That was the night for really good friends. I put my life on the line. I was with them in all the coup attempts [against them].)

The late President Corazon Aquino, mother of the current president, appointed Binay, after Martial Law, as the officer-in-charge of Makati. He and his family members have been elected as Makati mayor in succession since then.

The Aquino sisters earlier expressed their openness to endorsing Binay in the 2016 polls. (READ: 'Why not?' Aquino sisters open to endorsing Binay)

The October 14 meeting strenghtened their friendship, said Binay. "Pagkatapos ng usapan, lalong tumibay ang aming pagkakaibigan (After we talked, our friendship became stronger," Binay said. (READ: Binay 'begged' Aquino to stop probe– Rappler.com