UNA: Polls a fight between David and Goliath
It’s victory or bust, for the administration Liberal Party (LP), the consequence of which is the dumping of its own senatorial bets in favor of senatorial reelectionists and “winnables” from other political parties which include the pirating of several senatorial bets the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) had lined up earlier.
Ironically, the LP is now coming up with same campaign slogan of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo on her 12-0 cry during the 2007 elections; a slogan which President Aquino and his allies caused the filing of electoral sabotage against her by the Commission on Elections chairman, Sixto Brillantes Jr., and Justice Chief Leila de Lima, which has placed Arroyo under detention.
The LP is now reportedly junking its earlier announced candidates coming from the LP and allied partylisters, in favor of more “winnable” senatorial bets.
The administration party is said to be seriously considering doing away with the claimed condition of disallowing guest candidates in the looming alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). The LP’s latest strategy involves the outright raiding the senatorial slate of UNA to come up with a formidable senatorial lineup.
With the administration candidates for the 2013 mid-term elections definitely are on their way to enjoying the Aquino government’s huge machinery and vast resources, UNA Secretary General, Navitas Rep. Toby Tiangco yesterday likened UNA’s battle in next year’s poll to a showdown between David and Goliath, with UNA taking the role of David who slew the giant Philistine warrior with a slingshot.
Tiangco made the David vs Goliath statement in reaction to reports that some of the administration’s LP are belittling UNA’s chances after the administration party managed to raid the ranks of UNA, pirating some more of their candidates in the process.
“Its really David against Goliath, not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of resources, since government resources are at their disposal,” said Tiangco.
Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada had earlier criticized the administration for “pirating” UNA’s senatorial candidates, saying the administration’s moves only validates observations that it is weak
“They’re pirating. That shows they cannot complete their lineup,” Estrada was quoted saying in an print interview.
UNA is composed of Estrada’s PMP and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s PDP-Laban.
Emphasizing UNA’s priorities, Tiangco stressed that “all politics is local.”
“The local candidates will be the ones to deliver the votes for the national candidates. We will not sacrifice our local leaders and candidates just to achieve the perception of national strength through sheer numbers,” Tiangco said.
“UNA has made a concerted effort to avoid being arbitrary, that’s why it has limited itself to two National parties. We give a premium of loyalty to our local leaders. These two parties, PMP and PDP-Laban, have been partners in all elections since 2001. Even Senator (Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’) Marcos has already voiced his concerns, which surely is the sentiment of the local candidates,” Tiangco said.
“Finally, UNA will not be hurried, there are still those who will be unhappy at the arbitrariness of the LP-NP-NPC and they will be welcome to UNA, but in all cases we will always give priority to those who have worked hard for us in the past.”
But in the administration party’s effort to form a strong ticket, the LP may just end up placing NP party president, Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., in an awkward situation, following a reported recent decision to draft the lawmaker’s known nemesis, former Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, in the coalition’s ticket.
The move, sources added, could bring about not only added “tension” within the coalition but even weaken the partnership of the LP with NP as some of their respective members are allegedly not seeing eye-to-eye with each other.
Sources further revealed that the LP is indeed allotting only three slots to the NP. Similarly, only three from the NPC will be alloted to the administraion’s colaition’s the 12-man senatorial ticket.
Reports have claimed that Senators Loren Legarda and Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who had resigned from the NPC in 2010, will be in as an NPC bet in the LP coalition. A third that the LP is said to want in its slate is Rep. Jack Enrile, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, in its slate as an NPC coalition bet, although he has been listed as an UNA bet.
The LP is said to want to also include Sen. Gregorio Honasan in its line-up.
Aquino reportedly has started brokering a meeting between LP president Mar Roxas and re-electionist Escudero in a bid to form a tandem that could wield enough power to spoil Senator Marcos’ bid to become the next President.
However, Aquino’s top Palace aides don’t seem aware that the President has already sent invitations to both Roxas and Escudero, a tandem that the President wanted for LP presidential and vice-presidential bets in time for the 2016 elections, the same presidential election that Marcos considers joining as a presidential candidate.
In a press briefing, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte denied knowledge of the scheduled meeting.
“I am not aware that there have been any talks between Secretary Roxas and Senator Escudero on any planned political affiliation. From what I understand, Secretary Roxas has been focused on matters that concern the (Department of Transportation and Communications).”
Aquino’s 2010 chief political consultant and current LP Secretary general Butch Abad would neither confirm or deny on the supposed peace-making brokering of the President wanting to see Roxas and Escudero come to terms in anticipation of a partnership that would see them running side by side as LP bets for President and Vice President.
“In politics, four years is a very long time,” said Abad.
Escudero has been party-less since resigning in 2009 from the NPC in his bid to join the 2010 presidential elections, but dropped out soon enough.
Based on the ongoing thorough review of the LP of its original list of potential senatorial bets, the administration party is supposedly now prioritizing so-called “reelectionists” and has given serious thought to the continuing poor performance in the surveys of those initially mentioned as potential candidates from their ranks.
Aside from Madrigal and former Sen. Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr., also assured of seats are re-electionist Senators Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.
Those behind the screening of LP’s list are reportedly contemplating the ditching of the senatorial bids of Bureau of Customs (BoC) Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Joel Villanueva, House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada (4th District) and even presidential cousin, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.
Sources could not ascertain the “status” of former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, although she will probably be retained in the LP senatorial slate.
Allegedly, Sen. Richard Gordon, who is seen as having another go in the Senate in 2013, has attempted to join the ticket but was purportedly “rejected,” sources said.
It is likely that another reelectionist upper chamber member, Escudero, would now run under the LP-led coalition and not UNA, as efforts are supposedly being made to iron things out with those members of the LP bloc, the Bahay Puti bloc identified with Transportation Secretary Manel “Mar” Roxas, who is said to be disaproving of Escudero, who in 2010, while campaigning for then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino, campaigned for Jojo Binay’s candidacy for the vice presidency.
The assured seat for Trillanes would leave out in the cold another senatorial aspirant from the NP, the party’s spokesman, former Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, as the remaining slots will be filled in by former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar and re-electionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
A number of original and solid NP members are said to be “cold” to the idea of their party aligning with LP in the coming mid-term elections “because of what party did to them” during the 2010 campaign, sources said, referring to the mudslinging tactics of the administration against some of their candidates, particularly Senator Villar.
Senator Marcos, sources said, is just one of those NP members who is not convinced in allowing NP to align with the LP especially as he has already expressed concern over the problem of addressing the issue on the “Villaroyo” tag before their constituents.
Marcos said he is still trying to figure out whether the LP, in its decision to form an alliance with them, has backtracked from the LP’s previous charges they raised against Villar in the last elections, the reason they are now willing to engage them into a partnership of sorts for the 2013 mid-term polls. With Charlie V. Manalo and Fernan J. Angeles