Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We do not need UNA — Gonzales

We do not need UNA — Gonzales

We do not need UNA — Gonzales

By Maricel Cruz | Posted on July 18, 2012 | 12:01am | 0 Comments

A MEMBER of the ruling Liberal Party on Tuesday ruled out a “super coalition” with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, saying the party did not need UNA for next year’s mid-term elections.
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said the Liberal Party had already sealed an alliance with the Nacionalista Party of Senator Manny Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition of businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
“We’re okay. It would look awkward if LP and UNA joined forces,” Gonzales said in response to Binay’s statement that he was open to a coalition.
UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco slammed Gonzales’ “arrogance,” but said the alliance between Binay and ousted President Joseph Estrada would accept the ruling party’s decision.
Tiangco, who left the Liberal Party earlier this year, said a coalition with President Benigno Aquino III’s party “would not be that easy.”
This was echoed by San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito, who first broached the idea of a super coalition.
Ejercito, who is aspiring for a Senate seat in the 2013 elections, said he was speaking of “an ideal” situation for the President, but that such a coalition would be very difficult to forge given the competing political interests involved.
The senatorial candidates who were earlier reported to be running under the UNA banner are now believed to be running under the LP, including Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino Pimentel III, Loren Legarda and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Sources earlier said that Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, might also run under the LP instead of UNA, while Senator Gregorio Honasan, who was named one of Binay’s senatorial candidates, expressed willingness to be adopted as a common candidate of both sides.
Reports indicate that the LP is determined to field Technical and Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Joel Villanueva, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, former Las Piñas City Rep. Cynthia Villar, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., and President Aquino’s cousin Paolo Benigno Aquino IV in next year’s senatorial race.
Gonzales said the UNA had earlier declared that it had completed its senatorial slate and would therefore need no coalition with other parties.
He added, however, that he would submit to the wisdom of his party leaders on the issue.
Another Liberal Party member, Senator Francis Pangilinan, said a coalition with UNA would be difficult because many of the alliance’s candidates were outspoken critics of President Aquino.
“I don’t know how these personalities can be included in a unity ticket. We should unite on the basis of a common vision of genuine reforms for the nation and not simply because of a common desire to win,” Pangilinan said.
Senator Franklin Drilon, another LP leader, recalled Estrada’s pronouncements that there would be no “guest candidates.”
“I agree with former President Erap. It’s hard to stand on two platforms,” he said.
A source told the Manila Standard on Tuesday that the Liberal Party was looking for a 13th candidate to take the place of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who might resign to accept a position in the International Criminal Court.
Former Surigao del Norte governor Robert Ace Barbers, Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada, and former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares were being considered for the slot, the source said.With Macon Ramos-Araneta
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