Binay, UNA team woo Kapampangan voters

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Members of the Nationalist People's Coalition in Arayat, Pampanga endorse Jejomar Binay and Gregorio Honasan II for president and vice president, respectively. The tandem is running under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Arayat, Pampanga (CNN Philippines) — Presidential candidate Jejomar Binay hopes his fortunes will change among Kapampangan voters, after allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attended his sortie in the province on Sunday (March 6).

In 2010, Binay lost to Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II in Pampanga by almost 200,000 votes, according to figures from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Former Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay and former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo were among Arroyo's allies who attended Binay's sortie.

The unopposed Arroyo is seeking reelection as a second district representative of the province, which has more than 1.2 million voters.

Magsaysay claimed members of Arroyo's party Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) in Central Luzon are supporting Binay.

But is the former president herself backing Binay?

"Hindi naman yung si Binay is a candidate of GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ). Pero nakita ko lang as independent observer dito sa Pampanga, na karamihan ng Kapampangan nakita nila na more or less baka ipagpatuloy ni VP (Vice President) Binay yung mga proyekto na nabinbin na sana nagbenefit ang Central Luzon," explained Magsaysay.

[Translation: "It's not that Binay is a candidate of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But as an independent observer, I have seen that a lot of Kapampangans see that Vice President Binay will continue projects that have been held up, to the benefit of Central Luzon."]

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) refused to respond to the statement.

"Yung secret candidate o hindi, mas maganda po kung sila ang sasagot. Basta po tayo hayagan na nandito sa probinsya ng Pampanga sinusuyod po ang ating mga kabalen," said Rico Quicho, spokesperson for the vice president.

[Translation: "It's best that they answer whether or not the vice president is a secret candidate.]

In the 2010 vice presidential race, Roxas received 413,016 votes compared to Binay's 220,357.

President Benigno Aquino also won in Pampanga in 2010 by a more than 40,000-vote-margin to then-Lakas standard bearer Gilbert Teodoro. Aquino received 327,666 votes compared to Teodoro's 280,462.

But Binay is not giving up on the Kapampangan support.

The vice president asked voters: "Nang lumubog ang Minalin, nang lumubog ang Pampanga, si Jojo Binay, kasama niyo ho dito kahit anong oras, di ba? Natalo ho ako dito ha? Pero ang tanong ko naman sa inyo, ang ipinanalo nyo ho dito e nakita nyo ba?"

[Trabslation: "When Minalin was flooded, when Pampanga was flooded, wasn't it Jojo Binay who accompanied you at all times? Didn't I lose here (in 2010)? My question to you is, did you see the person you voted for (during the flood)?"]

Quicho said Binay will work hard to get the Kapampangan vote this time.

For his part, Pelayo is confident Binay will win by a landslide in Pampanga. He said 21 mayors in the province are supporting Binay's candidacy.

In Arayat town, the local Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) slate is endorsing Binay and running mate Gringo Honasan, even as the NPC national leadership is declaring support for Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero.

"Kami po ay NPC din ay taus-pusong sumusuporta sa inyong partido, sa inyong buong team, ang ating bise presidente at ating presidente Jejomar Binay," said Chito Espino, who is running for Mayor of Arayat under the NPC.

[Translation: "We are also part NPC and we whole-heartedly support your party, your whole team, and our vice president and (future) president Jejomar Binay."]

UNA is not confirming nor denying its alliance with Pampanga's local ruling party Kambilan. An Arroyo ally, Governor Lilia Pineda heads Kambilan.