MANILA – According to unnamed sources from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II has been chosen by the party to become Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s running mate in the coming national elections.
UNA leaders scouted for their viable vice-presidential candidate for months, finally reaching a decision over the weekend, according to one of the sources.
Binay has already been informed of the political party’s choice – Honasan over another possible vice presidential bid, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“The media focused on Senator Bongbong. Between the two, the talks with Honasan were faring much better… It’s clear that Honasan is committed to the VP’s platform – a pro-poor, healing and unifying presidency,” a source said in a Philippine Star report.
Marcos has also already been informed of UNA’s decision. The senator has yet to disclose his political plans for next year’s elections, while Binay and Honasan will officially declare their tandem soon.
Aside from Honasan and Marcos, the Vice President also eyed former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Senator Grace Poe, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Davao Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte as his possible running mates. All, however, rejected his informal offer.
Negotiations still ongoing
Despite reports, Senator Vicente “Tito” Soto III, close ally of Honasan, clarified that there was no formal acceptance of the political party’s offer yet and that a final decision will be rallied in tomorrow’s meeting.
Having concerns, including his family, Honasan was not interested in joining the vice-presidential race. But with UNA wanting him as their vice-presidential candidate, the senator considered the offer.
“I think the problem is his political party wants him to run… That’s why he’s seeking my advice and help. They are asking him to run so that’s his situation. I have to leave it up to him, he has to decide,” Sotto said in a Rappler report.
Although Honasan has already turned down earlier offers, his partymates believed that he would still change his mind and that he would make an effective ‘anti-crime czar.’
“Senator Honasan is very easy to talk to because he is a party member. It just takes some negotiation. In the case of Senator Bongbong, it’s more complicated because he is a member of the Nacionalista Party,” UNA Secretary-General JV Bautista said in the same report.
“Our country is nearing anarchy… You need an anti-crime czar and that person can be Honasan who was a baron of the Philippine Military Academy, disciplined, a ranger. I told the Vice President to announce Greg as his partner,” UNA member Danilo Suarez said.