Makati battle lines drawn

Jojo’s heart on his sleeve Former Vice President Jojo Binay throws his support behind daughter and reelectionist Makati Mayor Abigail Binay (left) and her vice mayoral running mate Monique Lagdameo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

All smiles in sharp contrast to her teary-eyed television appearance days back, Makati Mayor Abigail “Abby” Binay yesterday basked in the glory of the all-out support given her reelection bid by her father, former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.

Abby filed her certificate of candidacy (CoC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros, Manila, alongside Jojo who did the same in gunning for a congressional seat as representative of the 1st District of Makati.

Father and daughter are running in next year’s mid-term elections under the party which the elder Binay established no less — the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

The party’s vaunted machinery which perpetuated the Binays to power in Makati will remain behind Abby in what she herself termed as a “divisive” clash with her younger brother Junjun.

While the former vice president earlier said he will keep a hands-off stance as his daughter and son and namesake dispute the mayoralty of the country’s premier business district, he obviously changed his mind with action and words that will not be lost on the people of Makati as the family drama worthy of a TV soap unfolded.

At the Comelec, Jojo gave his seal of approval to Abby by taking her hand and that of her vice mayoral running mate Monique Lagdameo — and then raising their arms high for all to see.

Asked by reporters who, between Abby and Junjun, he will support, Jojo said in Filipino, “let’s just say I am supporting her.”

Hearing that, Abby replied also in the vernacular: “I’m surprised. It’s hard to raise expectations, but I’m happy my father is here with me.”

She then thanked her father for supporting her ticket.

Last Tuesday, Junjun filed his own CoC last Tuesday in a bid to regain the top post in Makati he held from 2010 to 2015.

The accused in pending cases of graft and corruption, Junjun would have cut a lonely figure at the Comelec had eldest sister, the reelectionist Sen. Nancy Binay, not repaid his own gesture of accompanying her during her own filing Monday.

In the Binay versus Binay clash, the battle lines had seemingly been drawn: On one side are Jojo and Abby of UNA and on the opposite are Nancy and Junjun, with the latter running under the local party Una ang Makati.

Legal challenge

Still, Junjun may face a legal question on his qualification to run following his dismissal from service by the Ombudsman in 2015 for graft and corruption in relation to questioned building projects.
In that television interview, Abby tearfully recounted how their father tried to convince Junjun to run instead for Congress in the 1st District so as to avert a Binay-Binay clash.

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