BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte can easily beat Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2016, said Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Pimentel, at the 33rd anniversary celebration of the PDP-Laban held in Intramuros in Manila on February 21, confirmed an earlier report that PDP-Laban is considering Duterte as the party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
Binay is the candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Pimentel said he was confident Duterte can beat other possible presidential candidates, including Binay. The administration Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino is fielding Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
Binay, a long-time member and former chair of PDP-Laban, has left the party to join UNA.
Binay’s presidential bid is buffeted by allegations of anomalies committed during his term as Makati City mayor.
Binay and his wife former mayor Dr. Elenita Binay and son incumbent Mayor Junjun Binay are being investigated for alleged massive corruption by the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee.
Ironically, Pimentel chairs the committee probing allegations against the Binays involving, among others, commissions fleeced from contractors of Makati City government projects, undeclared properties and bank accounts.
Asked by media on Duterte’s chances in the 2016 derby, Pimentel said PDP-Laban’s battle cry is to make its candidate win.
Nobody files a candidacy just to lose, said Pimentel. We will exert effort to make our candidate win, he said.
Pimentel said however that while Duterte is PDP-Laban’s top choice as standard bearer, his selection would go through a process.
Duterte enjoys strong support from the membership but his selection has to go through a process, said Pimentel.
A PDP-Laban insider earlier said the matter of Duterte as standard bearer would be in the agenda of the party’s national convention to be held in June.
PDP-Laban’s choice of Duterte as standard bearer would be tackled in the convention, said Pimentel, son of PDP-Laban founder former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel.
Pimentel said Duterte being Bisaya enjoys strong following in the Visayan regions and Mindanao.
He said the PDP-Laban machinery could get the votes for Duterte in Luzon.
PDP-Laban is strong in Luzon. We are in Ilocos, Bicol, Region 4 and Metro Manila, said Pimentel.
PDP-Laban’s nationwide machinery was proven in the 2010 elections when Binay then the party chair, coalesced PDP-Laban with the opposition UNA.
Binay resigned from the party in 2014 over differences with Pimentel.