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Feeling close? Nene Pimentel says Cory didn’t know Binay much

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Vice President Jejomar Binay usually harks back to his supposed closeness with the late president Cory Aquino during his days as Makati City mayor, but a former colleague claims this is all baloney.

According to ex-Senate President Nene Pimentel, Binay was only appointed as mayor of Makati by then-president Aquino in February 1986 because of his own prodding.

Pimentel said that at that time, he and Binay were part of the famed group of human rights lawyers and nationalists called “MABINI”, which actually had name recall for Aquino.

“I don’t think kilala siya ni Cory in the beginning. Mas lalong nakilala siguro dahil kasama namin sa asosasyon ng mga abogado,” Pimentel said of Binay, whose current party the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is positioning itself as the leading opposition force in the country today.

The former Senate leader recalled that the choice of Binay as Makati chief executive (replacing Mayor Nemesio Yabut, who died in office during the 1986 EDSA Revolution) wasn’t very popular.

“Nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na maging mayor si Jojo (Binay) nung panahon ni Cory; appoint ko siya bilang mayor ng Makati. Samantalang maraming tumutol noon, sila Doy Laurel mayroong gusto itulak.”

But Pimentel said he got into president Aquino’s ear and vouched for Binay, whom he said was a close friend and colleague back in the day. “Ininsist ko si Jojo dahil number one ang kanyang pinanggalingan, kasama namin sa MABINI.”

The rest as they say is history, and Binay would lord it over in Makati for the better part of the next 24 years.

Asked if he ever regretted helping put Binay in a position of power, Pimentel said he had no way of knowing what the future held for his fellow lawyer.

“Hindi ko naman akalain na ganito ang kahihinatnan. Hindi naman, ano naman ang malay ko kung ano ang magyayari sa kinabukasan, kung ano ang mangyayari sa bansa. Hindi ko na kasalanan yun,” he said, referring to the various issues of corruption hounding the Vice President. (Samantha A. Giron)

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