Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today welcomed the statement of former president Joseph Estrada that he is willing to sit down with Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Binay had been proposing the talks after Aquino announced his plan to run for president in 2010 under the Liberal Party (LP). The Makati mayor had said he hopes that talks between Estrada and Aquino would lead to a possible unification of the opposition.

“I am very happy that former president Estrada is willing to meet with Senator Aquino. It is a welcome development,” he said.

Estrada said in an interview with ANC’s Ricky Carandang Tuesday night he was willing to meet with Aquino to discuss unifying the opposition. ANC reported that Estrada said more than anything else, his concern now is to unite opposition and that Mayor Binay has yet to arrange the meeting.

Alrhough no date has been set for the Erap-Noynoy talks, Binay said the meeting “will be between friends.”

“The former president and Senator Aquino go way back. There will be no preconditions and no expectations for this meeting. It will be just two friends sitting down to talk,” he said.

Binay is considered a close family friend of the Aquinos. He was the first local official appointed by former President Corazon Aquino in February 1986 under the revolutionary government, and took part in defending the Aquino government from several coup attempts.

On the other hand, he was chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) during the Estrada administration, and remained allied with Estrada even after the later was removed from power in 2001. The PDP-Laban, which Binay heads as national president, is allied with Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).


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