Binay stands by UNA slate for 2013 midterm pollsBy Anselmo Roque, Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ—Vice President Jejomar Binay is taking a “wait-and-see” attitude on a possible coalition between the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which he leads, and the ruling Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino III.
Asked about the President’s recent pronouncement that a political alliance may be possible, Binay said: “Tingnan natin (Let’s see).” But Binay said he would not give up UNA’s current lineup for the 2013 midterm elections.
“That scenario would be difficult to enforce. It may come to a point that they offer a candidate we won’t like or we have a candidate they won’t like,” he said.
Binay was the guest at the “Ugnayan at Talakayan” program of dairy farmers at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) here on Thursday.
Joey de Venecia
He was accompanied by businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia III and Zambales Representative Ma. Milagros Magsaysay, who are among those on the list of UNA’s possible senatorial candidates.
Magsaysay and De Venecia were introduced as future senators to the 700 dairy farmers who gathered at the PCC hall.
De Venecia, who blew the whistle on alleged anomalies in the government’s National Broadband Network deal with Chinese firm ZTE during the Arroyo administration, ran and lost in the 2010 senatorial elections. Magsaysay is a staunch ally of Arroyo.
‘Music to my ears’
Binay was introduced by the program’s host as the future president of the Philippines.
“That’s already becoming music to my ears… Hayaan ninyo at darating din tayo diyan (We will soon reach that goal),” he said.
Not conventional opposition
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the forum, Binay again stressed that UNA was not the conventional opposition party.
“The real opposition party is not being negative but constructive—always correcting their mistakes and giving advice on what must be done. In other countries, it is even called, ‘Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition,’” Binay said.
Binay was in Nueva Ecija for a two-day visit. On Wednesday, he met with military officers and soldiers at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City.
Binay’s group also held separate consultations with Gov. Aurelio Umali and former Governor Tomas Joson III, who leads the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane).
De Venecia, a member of UNA’s executive committee, said the group had yet to finalize its ticket. “We will finally know who will make up our senatorial slate in May,” he said.
Asked about her political plans, Magsaysay said “I think my presence here will already speak for itself.”
“I hope LP members will respect the Vice President’s decisions,” Magsaysay said.
In Manila, Undersecretary Abigail Valte, President Aquino’s deputy presidential spokesperson, said the Palace would rather that the LP talk about its plans for the 2013 elections.
“Let us leave it to the Liberal Party to reveal its candidates for 2013,” Valte said in a text message to reporters. “Meanwhile, the government will focus on its antipoverty and anticorruption programs.”
Valte was asked about the prospect of a Senate dominated by a coalition other than the one led by the ruling party.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch ally of Mr. Aquino, has warned of an opposition Senate after the 2013 elections because of the early preparations made by Binay.
Binay recently announced the formation of UNA by his party, PDP-Laban, and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. With a report from Norman Bordadora