LP: Senate bets from other parties have to make a choice
The administration-led coalition has taken a firm stand on the inclusion of “common” and “guest canddiates” for its 2013 Senate slate and will not be “sharing” any candidates with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for the 2013 mid-term elections, a Liberal Party (LP) stalwart bared yesterday.
Presumably, this position also applies to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)’s senatorial candidates as well as the Nacionalista Party (NP) candidates.
This being the position of the administration Liberal Party, Sen. Loren Legarda, who is said to be the frontrunner in the UNA senatorial slate, will likely be made to choose on whether to align with the coalition formed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada or agree to the decision of her party, the NPC to coalesce with the LP and run exclusively under the LP administration ticket.
Sen. Franklin Drilon yesterday made clear that the LP coalition with the NPC of former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. has set a condition that they will not be fielding any common candidates with UNA in the coming senatorial elections.
The same “condition” is likely to be imposed on the NP of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. that is said to complete the LP-led coalition.
The senator doused cold water on the recommendation made by his colleague, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, to include in the ticket Legarda, along with two other reelectionists, Senators Gregorio Honasan and Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
All three reelectionist-senators have been assured slots in UNA’s senatorial slate although they are neither aligned with the PDP-Laban of Binay nor the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of Estrada.
Both Escudero and Honasan have tagged themselves as “independent” senators, while Legarda is with the NPC. Sotto said Escudero is a returning NPC senator.
Escudero resigned from the NPC in 2010 when he decided to be partyless as he eyed the presidency then, saying he would rather be a president of and by the people.
In the end, Escudero announced that he was no longer running for the presidency.
Drilon said in an interview over at dwIZ that those on the “official list” of UNA, insofar as the Senate race is concerned, will have to decide which, between UNA and LP-led coalition, they would be identified with eventually the moment the alliance will have been sealed
“We will not allow our candidates to appear on both (LP and UNA) stages (during the campaign period) because their (inclusion in the ticket) is already an indication of their support to the administration, the policies of the administration, our platforms – daang matuwid is our platform . That is our policy. So there will be no common candidates (with UNA).
“I will reiterate, there will be no common candidates (with UNA). If the candidates of UNA will only be identified with them then whoever will be the candidates of the adminitration will be the candidates of the LP coalition,” he said.
“In our coalition, the LP is aligned with NPC. I’m not aware of the NPC being in a coalition with UNA,” Drilon added.
The NPC, as a party, generally does not bar its members from being aligned with the opposition or the administration.
In 2010, Loren Legarda, an NPC senator, ran as the vice presidential candidate of Sen. Manuel Villar,
Before Aquino became president, then Congressman Chiz Escudero, an NPC member, was in the opposition, while other NPC members in the House were aligned with the Arroyo administration.
In the case of the NP, the party president had earlier announced that NP will be fielding its own candidates for the 2013 polls. At this time, the NP names bruited about by the Palace were at least four bets from the NP, among whom are Senators Allan Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and former congressman Barbers. Four, if Senator Trillanes is now an NP member.
This would mean that there would be at least eight candidates not from LP, counting PDP-Laban Sen. Koko Pimentel—should the NP bets, and all NPC bets, Legarda, Escudero and Sen. Honasan join the administration coalition, plus Pimentel.
This would leave only four LP candidates to be fielded by the administration.
Drilon would not categorically state what would become of the status of Legarda, merely saying that the issue would eventually narrow down to the two coalitions with which the candidates want to share party platforms.
While earlier on Drilon admitted that the LP alone cannot come up with a complete senatorial line up for next year’s elections, the senator said the administration party has now more than enough potential candidates to fill in the 12 slots.
“If the poll exercise will require the elections of 34 (new senators) we can muster that number. That’s how many (prospective candidates) we have right now,” he said.
Drilon echoed Sotto’s claims that the LP-NPC tie-up is almost a done deal.
“There are only few remaining issues being clarified. We have no date yet as to when to launch the coalition, all I can say is that the talks are continuing,” he said.
Meanwhile observers said the LP alliance that would showcase a virtual merger between 2010 political rivals, could best be likened to “perishable commodities” which has an expiration date.
As such, Aquino’s LP, seen as having been behind the demolition job that portrayed Aquino’s rival in the 2010 presidential election as a “trapo” (traditional politician), would be teaming up with the very person whom they claimed was corrupt and a secret candidate of then President Gloria Arroyo, branding him a Villarroyo.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the alliance was formed based on criteria laid down by the both political parties, led by national leaders mature enough to realize that bickering in the past would not do any good for a prospect for tomorrow.
“Campaigning is campaigning. There were words that were exchanged during that time but we move on for the sake of the country”, says Lacierda who failed to give categorical answers on whether it is acceptable for President Aquino to work with Senator Villar.
It was Aquino himself who branded Villar in the past as corrupt.
“If I remember it right, during the campaign, wasn’t there a resolution that was brought by the Senate and and did not pass on the the C-5, I think. It was Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who initiated and also voted on that matter and I think it was not approved. The resolution was not carried. But he has been supportive—Senator Villar has been supportive, I think—again, correct me if I’m wrong—of some of the administration’s measures in the Senate. They recognize what is important for the country; they recognize what is good for the countrymen and so they will rise above political differences and see what’s good for all of us. And we believe that, again… Wait a minute, I’m going ahead. We have to confirm first that—Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Butch Abad will be in a better position to say that. I nearly got caught...” an admittedly rattled Lacierda said.
Earlier, the President himself said that the talks were “very, very successful” while speaking of coming up with a common platform of government.
However doubts have been raised as to how the administration party could come up with a common platform of government with someone whom they regarded as not in line with the “daang matuwid” platform of the President.
“We have not… Again, the campaign… That was the campaign… Again, let me refer you back to the Senate resolution on the C-5—on the C-5 thing. It was not carried; there was no… Despite the investigation made by then Senate President Enrile and you could please refer to the records of the Senate, it was not approved by the Senate as a whole. So I am not...I’m not sure of what… I cannot say that. I don’t know the… I am not fully aware of the discussions and talks with the party matters. You’re looking at the party itself. You’re looking at the Nacionalista Party and who will be there; you’re looking at Alan Cayetano, who stood for good governance. So we’re looking at party principles and that transcends individual differences,” Lacierda said.
Asked whether the coalition between LP and NP has something to do with Villar’s guilty vote on former Chief Justice Renato Corona, he said that each of the 20 senators who opted to cast a vote eventually convicting the former CJ, was done in accordance with evidence and judgment call as imposed by their conscience.
”I’m certain that the impeachment vote of each senator was done based on their individual deliberation and conscience. So we cannot use that as a basis”.