Philippines' presidential candidate Jejomar Binay was the first to announce his bid

Vice-President Jejomar Binay waves during his "miting de avance" in Makati city, south of Manila, Philippines on May 7, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

MANILA - Vice-President Jejomar 'Jojo' Binay, 73, is a natural campaigner who grew up in poverty but rose to become one of the nation's most powerful politicians. He heads the main opposition party- but has had to endure graft allegations.

Made his intention to run early

Mr Binay made his intention to run for the presidency as early as 2010, after being elected Vice-President. He is running on an anti-poverty platform, and has promised to provide free and quality social services.

Swamped by charges of corruption

Mr Binay had long been the favourite but his poll numbers tanked last year when allegations emerged that he and his son, both former mayors of the Makati financial district, had taken huge kickbacks in the construction of a city-owned car park building.

Mr Binay, who leads the main opposition alliance, denies the corruption allegations against him and members of his family.

He was a human rights lawyer before entering politics

A human rights lawyer during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Senior during the early 1980s, Mr Binay's star shone during the administration of President Corazon Aquino III.

He ran in elections for mayor of Makati City and was repeatedly elected for several terms, alternating with his physician wife Elenita Binay.

Family of politicians

In fact, his family has ruled Makati since 1986, endearing its members to the masses with unparallelled benefits such as free college education, medicine, movies and birthday cakes.

Mr Binay capitalised on this populist theme to propel himself to the country's second-highest post in 2010 and fortify a political dynasty that includes two of the vice-president's daughters - Nancy Binay and Abigail Binay - elected to parliament.

As Mr Binay was elected vice president in 2010, his son Jejomar Erwin Binay was also voted to the post of Makati City mayor.

The presence of several Binays in the elected leadership prompted critics to accuse them of securing their hold on power.

The younger Mr Binay stepped down last year on graft allegations.

He too was adopted like Senator Grace Poe

Last year, one of Mr Binay's lawyers suggested that as a "foundling", Ms Grace Poe was technically "stateless" and may not even be Filipino. That totally backfired on Mr Binay.

Mr Binay then came out to say that he has nothing against foundlings because he himself was adopted.

"I, Jojo Binay, would mock her? That's not a trait of Jojo Binay. I was also adopted by my uncle," he was quoted as saying by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

According to a published biography, Mr Binay was orphaned at the age of 9. His uncle Ponciano took him under his care in Makati City.

Among Binay's tasks at his uncle's household were to collect slop for his uncle's piggery, clean the front yard in the morning and look after his uncle's fighting cocks.


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