MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay has begun scouting for his possible running mate in the 2016 presidential elections and aims to register his new party with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) before the end of the month, his allies in the House of Representatives said yesterday.
Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said people often ask Binay whom he will pick as his running mate but the Vice President always ask them back saying “who do you think can help our country?”
“He’s (Binay) still looking for his vice presidential candidate but there are no names yet,” Tiangco told reporters. “He’s always consultative. He always listens to opinions of people.”
The lawmaker also said the UNA is also inviting possible senatorial candidates regardless of the party affiliation and have a proven track record of integrity and competence in their respective fields.
Among the possible senatorial candidates being eyed to under the UNA are world boxing idol and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Sen. Vicente Sotto III, and former senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon.
Romualdez expressed gratitude for the offer but said he was focused on rebuilding his province after it was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Earlier, sources said Binay is looking at fielding former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and incumbent Rep. Joseph Violago as opposition bets for governor and vice governor in the province in 2016.
If the tandem pushes through, they will be pitted against Nueva Ecija Rep. Cherry Umali of the third district and incumbent Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos. Umali is reportedly being groomed to be the Liberal Party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2016 to succeed her husband, Gov. Aurelio Umali.
Antonino’s daughter, Magnolia Rosa Antonino-Nadress is currently representative of the province’s fourth district under the pro-administration National Unity Party.
Violago on the other hand is on his third term and is believed to be planning to have his wife Micaela or his brother Lito to succeed him in 2016.
Tiangco also said the Vice President is scheduled to ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) this month to allow the registration of his new political party.
Binay has parted ways from his original party, the PDP Laban, shortly after the 2013 elections when one of its leaders, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III objected to the inclusion of Zubiri in the UNA’s senatorial slate at that time.
Tiangco maintained that UNA would remain as the mother party for the 2016 presidential polls of parties that would enter into a coalition with it, including the Partido ng Masang Pilipino of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
He declined to disclose the name of the new political party until after its official registration.