Binay to announce VP in 'next few days'

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Jejomar Binay will announce his running mate soon as the October 16 deadline for the filing of candidacies draws near.

Binay's opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said its vice presidential bet will be known “in the next few days.”

“Talks are ongoing with all the prospective running mates, not just with one,” said UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan on Wednesday, September 30.

“At the end of the day, the decision will be based on [the] commitment to the party platform and who can be the best partner of the VP in implementing his pro-poor agenda and unifying the nation,” Ilagan added.

September 30 is the deadline UNA had initially set to finalize Binay's running mate and senatorial slate.

Binay has been trying to convince Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr to become his running mate but Rappler learned that the senator has not responded to the offer as of Tuesday, September 29.

Marcos has yet to decide on his plans for 2016 but admitted that he is in talks with both Binay's intermediaries and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to be a vice presidential bet.

Still, Binay said he will continue to wait for his "plan A," referring to Marcos. 

"Why discuss a plan B when plan A is not yet finished. When we finish plan A, that's when we should talk about a plan B," Binay said on Wednesday.

The Vice President would not say until when he is willing to wait for Marcos before moving on to other possible candidates. 

A re-electionist, Marcos can run for president, vice president, or senator. Unlike his colleagues who are seeking higher office, he will lose his Senate post if he runs for president or vice president and fails.

UNA's announcement comes a day after Marcos' partymate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, declared his vice presidential bid in Davao City. Cayetano, Marcos, and vice presidential bet Senator Antonio Trillanes IV are all members of the Nacionalista Party of former Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. 

Cayetano is also vying to be the running mate of Duterte, and sought to get the mayor's support in a dinner Tuesday night in Davao City with his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano, and wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano.

Binay has been having difficulty finding a vice presidential candidate since he lost his front-runner status in surveys.

Until June, the former Makati mayor ranked first in polls but neophyte Senator Grace Poe overtook him as corruption allegations and a yearlong Senate inquiry brought down his popularity. Binay refused to face the investigations and dismissed the process as political persecution.

Marcos waiting for Duterte

Binay considers Marcos his first choice for running mate despite the political baggage that a possible tandem will bring.

The opposition leader was a human rights lawyer who was detained during the presidency of Marcos' father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. Binay fought the Marcos regime, and allied with Marcos' rival, former president Corazon Aquino.

On Monday, Marcos said he will also announce his political plans “soon” but admitted that Duterte's decision on a presidential bid is among the developments he is awaiting before the senator finalizes his own bid. Duterte has been flip-flopping on whether he wants to run for president or not.

“Yes, I'm talking to my friend, the Mayor, and we're trying to determine what is the plan, what does he really want to do. As of now, he has not decided. So that's another undetermined variable,” Marcos said.

Aside from Marcos, Binay is considering UNA vice president Senator Gregorio Honasan II as another possible running mate.

The senator has said that he prefers to continue his Senate term but UNA secretary-general JV Bautista and Binay ally former Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez said Honasan can still be convinced to run for vice president for the sake of the party.

Bautista also said that Binay is considering former Senator Panfilo Lacson as another partner. Lacson has also been mentioned as a possible senatorial candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

Marcos said he can decide as late as October 16 on his plans. –