NP in no hurry to merge with LP, says VillarBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – The Nacionalista Party (NP) is in no hurry to coalesce with President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) for the upcoming 2013 elections, according to Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., the NP chair.
“We believe that it’s too early. It feels like we’re being forced to start early in politics,” said Villar of possible coalition talks with the ruling party.
“The elections are still far. We’re not in a hurry to come up with a final decision,” he said.
Villar said the NP was studying all options and was prepared to hold talks with LP or other parties, but otherwise the party was prepared to go it alone and “stand on its own.”
“We don’t need anybody. We have the resources and manpower to campaign,” he said.
The NP is reportedly fielding the senator’s wife, former Rep. Cynthia Villar, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and former Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Ace Barbers in the 2013 senatorial race.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Barbers earlier announced that a coalition between the LP and the NP was in the works. Some observers saw this as an administration move to get more senators’ votes for the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Villar ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Aquino in the 2010 presidential elections.
The United Nationalist Alliance (Una), a merger of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban and deposed President and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, has closed the doors to a coalition with any party, but is open to accepting individual candidates.
Villar has denied reports that his wife was on the Una senatorial slate.
“My wife is a member of the Nacionalista Party and she’s running with the Nacionalista Party,” he said.
He also doused speculations that the LP’s proposal to coalesce with the NP had something to do with the administration’s desire to muster 16 votes for Corona’s conviction.
“I’m not affected by that,” Villar said.