Binay asks home province: ‘Help me become first Batangueño president’

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) appealed to Batangueños for support in the upcoming presidential elections when he campaigned in his home province on Friday (February 12).

“Ako ho sa tulong ninyo, sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, meron isang Batangueñong magiging pangulo,” Binay said.

[Translation: “Through your help, I will be the first ever Batangueño president.”]

His father was born and raised in Batangas.

Batangueño vote

Batangas is the seventh most vote-rich province in the country with more than 1.5 million registered voters.

CNN Philippines talked with some of the residents and they admitted they want the next president to come from Batangas.

Jejomar_Binay_Batangas_CNNPH.jpg Hundreds of Batangueños warmly welcomed Binay, many scrambled to get free campaign shirts, candies and caps with Binay’s name.

Binay wooed the people with his campaign pitch.

“Yung sinasabi ko sa inyong kahirapan, maiaangat ko po ang buuhay ng tao dahil sa ako ay may pinagdaanan na, may karanasan po ako,” he said.

[Trnaslation: "When it comes to poverty, I can alleviate the lives of people because I have the experience."]

Unfazed by Liberal Party-led local gov’t officials

Not all signs point to a sure victory for Binay in Batangas.

UNA Spokesperson Atty. Rico Quicho admitted the camp lacks support from incumbent local government officials in Batangas who are mostly members of the Liberal Party (LP).

Also read: Cavite governor is Binay's SILG if he wins

Data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also showed Sen. Grace Poe placed first in Batangas with more than 600,000 in the 2013 senatorial elections.

But Quicho said the UNA is not worried that much.

“Nakita niyo naman po, napakaraming kababayan natin ang nagtitiwala at nagmamahal kay Vice President Binay,” Quicho said.

[Translation: “As you can see, many Filipinos trust and love Vice President Binay.”]

UNA believes Batangas is still one of Binay's strongholds.

Aside from being the hometown of his father, Batangas is also where Binay beat now LP presidential bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas II by about 175,000 votes during the 2010 vice presidential election.

Also read: UNA accuses administration of planning to rig polls

Hacienda Binay controversy

UNA also defended Binay on corruption allegations involving the so-called Hacienda Binay, a 350–hectare land in Rosario, Batangas.

It became the center of a corruption scandal against Binay and his family but they strongly denied the accusation.

“Maski yung secretary ng agrarian reform ang nagsabi na walang pagmamayari na lupa dito sa Batangas,” Quicho said.

[Translation: “Even the secretary of agrarian reform said Binay has no land here in Batangas.”]