MANILA, Philippines – Jejomar Binay will be seeking advice from previous vice presidents as he prepares to assume the second highest elective post in the country on Wednesday, his spokesman said.
On Monday, lawyer JV Bautista told ABS-CBN News that Binay will reach out to former vice presidents Teofisto Guingona, Noli de Castro, and former President Joseph Estrada.
“If he has available time, he will consult with previous vice presidents including Guingona, Noli [de Castro] who is a friend of Mayor Binay, and President Estrada,” he said.
Binay, who will be replaced by his son as Makati City Mayor, was the running mate of Estrada under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino party in the May 10 polls. Estrada was a vice president before he was elected to the top post in 1998.
Bautista said Binay will be seeking these former vice presidents’ advice on various issues, including the following:
1. Since vice presidents usually assume a Cabinet post, what should he do during the period that he is waiting for his formal assumption of the Cabinet post?
2. What are the best ways to help the elected president?
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party is set to be proclaimed as president, together with Binay as his vice president, on June 9 as the congressional tally draws to a close.
No need for Arroyo tips
Bautista said Binay will definitely not consult President Arroyo, who was herself a former vice president.
“The only former vice president that he will not consult is Mrs. Arroyo. For our party, she did not have a good record since [as a vice president] she snatched the presidency away from Estrada,” Bautista explained.
President Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001 after street protests following an impeachment proceeding against President Estrada forced him to leave Malacañang. Arroyo served the remaining term of President Estrada and won in her presidential bid in 2004.
On June 30, she will turn over the presidency to Aquino and will assume her seat in Congress.
Estrada, Binay in good terms
Bautista also belied reports that former President Estrada and vice president Binay had a misunderstanding due to the results of the polls.
He said the two are together almost every week attending various occasions and celebrations.
The spokesman cited the June 2 birthday party of former Sen. Loi Ejercito, the wife of President Estrada, at the party’s headquarters.
“Binay and Dra. Elenita Binay (his wife) were there. He and President Estrada have a good relationship. They even joked around,” Bautista shared.
When President Estrada had the chance to address the audience, Bautista narrated that the former president noted the similarities that he and Binay share.
Both apparently married doctors who played crucial roles in their husbands’ political careers. Dra. Binay took over the Makati mayoralty post from the vice president-apparent when he had completed the 3-term limit.
On the other hand, Dra. Ejercito ran for and won a senate in the 2001. Her victory was considered a vindication for her husband’s fall from power in that same year.
Bautista said Estrada also noted that both he and Binay became mayors of their respective cities (Estrada in San Juan and Binay in Makati) before they assumed the vice presidency.
“President Estrada said these are the reasons why he foresees that Binay will be the country’s first black president,” the spokesman said. Estrada was obviously referring to Barack Obama who is dubbed as America’s first black president.
“These belie rumors that they had a misunderstanding. In fact, President Estrada ibilin sa akin ni President Estrada na ‘alalayan’ si Binay sa canvass (in Congress),” he shared.
Not in coat-and-tie
For his proclamation as the winning vice presidential candidate on June 9, Binay will not likely to wear a coat-and-tie, Bautista said.
“I really don’t see him in coat-and-tie. He will certainly wear a jusi barong as it befits the image of Mayor Binay. He’s a very simple dresser, even when he was Makati mayor. He’ll just wear a nice jusi barong that will fit his new role as vice president,” the spokesman shared.
Aquino will also be wearing a barong Tagalog during the proclamation ceremonies.
Bautista said Binay, in keeping with his vow to stay mum while the Congressional canvass was going on, will “give his first public statement as vice president-elect the moment he is proclaimed by Congress.”