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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Asia

Binay, Obama share family stories at Palace dinner

Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN | Thursday, May 1, 2014

Philippine's Vice President Binay gestures as he welcomes U.S. President Obama upon his arrival at an airport in Manila

MANILA, Philippines - What happens when the man who wants to become the Philippines' "first black President" sits for dinner with the first African-American President of the United States?

Vice President Jejomar Binay, called "Jojobama" in jokes comparing him to US President Barack Obama because of his dark complexion, exchanged personal stories with the visiting American leader on Monday night as they shared a table at the state dinner in Malacañang thrown by the Aquino administration in Obama's honour.

"[He is] a good listener. You can see his sincerity and genuine interest," Binay said in a statement released just before he left for a speaking engagement in Washington on Tuesday night, 11 hours after Obama flew home from the Philippines aboard Air Force One.

Binay was first called "Jojobama" in 2008 after the inspiring Obama was elected president of the United States. He was then mayor of Makati City but that early he declared his intent to eventually run for President.

He would be elected vice president less than two years later.

Childhood dream

Now he is preparing for the biggest campaign of his political career-a bid for the presidency in 2016 to fulfil a "childhood dream."

At dinner with Obama, Binay talked about family and law, both he and Obama being lawyers. He came to the state dinner with his wife, Elenita, but she was assigned a seat at a different table.

"During the state dinner, Vice President Binay and Obama were seatmates and they talked mainly about their parents and family.

Obama talked about his father, the Vice President about losing his mother (Lourdes) when he was 9 years old," Binay's spokesman Joey Salgado said.

Binay's mother died of pulmonary disease.

"He also talked about growing up alone and how he adores his 13 grandchildren," Salgado said.

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