MANILA — Elders from the Aquino clan declared their support for Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential bid in 2016 during the commemoration of the 31st death anniversary of former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. last Thursday.
Agapito “Butz” Aquino, also a former senator of the Philippines and brother of the late Ninoy, endorsed Binay’s political ambition to run for president in front of all the Aquino loyalists, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and the Vice President himself during the ceremonies held at Ninoy Aquino International Airport 1 and 3.
“I heard the Aquino sisters are for you. I thought that’s right. Even the uncles, Uncle Peping and Uncle Paul,” Butz Aquino said referring to Peping Conjuangco, and Paul Aquino, father of Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.
Butz Aquino’s support came after the President’s sister television host Kris Aquino announcement that she and her sisters support Binay.
“My sisters and I have been talking about it (the Liberal Party adopting Binay as presidential candidate), and we say that if this can bring about unity as … we’re not enemies … and if he continues what Noy has started, why not?” Kris Aquino said during her evening TV show.
Meanwhile, Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, the eldest of the Aquino children, said about Binay in a television interview: “If he wants to continue what Noy has started, [so much] the better.”
However, when President Aquino called his sisters to clarify their statements regarding Binay, he was told that, “[The] media just forced us to say something.”
President Aquino added, “The gist of what they said is, ‘If [Binay] would continue what our brother has started, thank you,’ or ‘it would be good,’ which is not the same as, ‘You should continue [what he had started].”
In another interview, Butz Aquino clarified that the support of his family for Binay will depend on who will be his opponent.
“If it’s Bongbong (Ferdinand Marcos Jr.), of course, I am for Jojo,” he said, using Binay’s nickname.
He added that the family will still need to decide which presidential candidate to endorse in 2016.
“When the family meets, that will be discussed. Whoever the majority wants to support, everyone should support. Those opposed should just shut up,” he said.