MANILA, Philippines—Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday warned of an “opposition” Senate in 2013 if President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) fails to match the senatorial line up of the United Alliance or UNA.
UNA is the newly-formed group of Vice President Jejomar Binay and former president Joseph Estrada.
As early as last year, Trillanes said he already advised the LP to form an alliance to ensure a “friendly” Senate in 2013.
“It’s the LP which is very slow in forging alliances kaya naunahan na sila ni VP Binay,” the senator said in a text message.
“Last year ko pa ni-raise sa kanila iyon. Kung seryoso sila to at least have a friendly Senate, at least not hostile, e trabahuhin nila nang mas maaga . Kasi nga ang kabilang partido nagtatrabaho na,” he further said in a separate phone interview.
But so far, Trillanes said he and three others—Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, deputy Customs deputy commissioner Danilo Lim and former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros— had been invited by the President to join the administration ticket.
Biazon, Lim and Hontiveros all ran but lost in the senatorial race in 2010.
“We can’t rule out the chances of the defeated candidates because the changes in election campaigns are being conducted particularly in the last elections. There are so many ways of informing people about your capability so everybody has a fair chance,” said Trillanes.
He pointed out the some incumbent senators like Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Ralph Recto also lost in the past elections but managed to recover and return to the Senate.
But with UNA’s emerging senatorial ticket, Trillanes admitted that the Aquino administration would be up against a strong contender to keep its hold in the Senate.
“Malakas talaga kasi lahat ng mga nangunguna sa survey nandoon,” he said.
Among those reportedly included in the UNA line up were Senators Loren Legarda, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Aquilino Koko” Pimentel III, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, among others.
While Binay is still considered an ally of the Aquino administration, Trillanes said the situation might change after 2013 specially when UNA gets the majority seats in the Senate.
Trillanes said the new opposition, once elected in the Senate, would start investigating the administration, its budget and implementation of its projects.
“Ang kanilang marketing – friendly ticket kami, allies pa rin kami. Pero we all know that after the elections in 2013, they will start drawing the line.”
Asked if he thinks Binay could do it to the Aquino administration, the senator said, “Alam niyo, iba kasi iyan kapag pinag-usapan ang pagka presidente. I won’t rule that out but kumbaga it’s not going to be out of character for these people to do that.”
Trillanes then urged the LP to immediately fill up its slate for 2013 so that its candidates can catch up with their opponents.
“Unless they’re planning to lose this election,” he further said.