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Zubiri, Magsaysay, Garcia named to UNA slate; Will Pimentel leave alliance?



05:56 PM June 11th, 2012

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri

Former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Monday announced the formal acceptance of Senator Miguel Zubiri as part of its senatorial slate.

Representatives Gwendolyn Garcia and Mitos Magsaysay have also been drafted as senatorial candidates of UNA.

Lawyer JV Bautista, spokesman of UNA, said Zubiri was formally endorsed by former president Joseph Estrada during the alliance’s meeting Monday at the Coconut Palace.

Bautista said that they are leaving it to Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who objected to the endorsement of Zubiri, to decide whether he will leave UNA, saying he has to respect the alliance’s “covenant of unity” to which he agreed to follow.

“The covenant clearly indicated that a member of a political party, meaning either PDP Laban or PMP, endorsed by said party shall automatically become a candidate for the position for which he or she has been endorsed,” Bautista said.

Bautista said that they were respecting Pimentel’s personal sentiments and feelings but the alliance needed to safeguard its unity and integrity.

Not letting him go

“We are not letting him go. That is not for us to decide. As far as we are concerned, both Pimentel and Zubiri are parts of the slate,” Nancy Binay, deputy secretary general of UNA said in response to questions from media.

In a statement later Monday, Zubiri thanked the leadership of UNA “for the trust and confidence they have given me by allowing me to formally join the senatorial line-up of the alliance.”

Zubiri said he will continue to reach out to Senator Koko Pimentel to have a united stand on issues concerning Visayas and Mindanao.

“I am hoping that Senator Koko will see it in his heart to accept the decision of UNA so that we may close this particular chapter of our lives,” he said.

“Once again, I would like to thank former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and the rrest of the leaders of the PMP and PDP-Laban. I will do  my best not to let my partymates down, and will jooin them in our fight against poverty, injustice and environmental degradation,” he added.
Bautista said Pimentel was invited to the meeting but they received “no communication” from him.

“We call upon him to exercise better judgment and remain in UNA,” Bautista added.

Bautista said they were careful in handling reelectionists and would be proactive in keeping all communication lines open.

UNA now accepts candidates for local levels

Meanwhile, UNA is now open and ready for the acceptance of all candidates in the local level, Bautista said at a press briefing at Coconut Palace later Monday.

Bautista said all prospective local candidates could either join PDP Laban or PMP if they are not yet members, or if they are affiliated with other local political parties, these parties may join up with or come under the alliance of UNA.

“All members of PDP-Laban and PMP are automatically UNA candidates,” he added.

The National Executive Committee of UNA held a meeting at the Coconut Palace. Present at the meeting were Binay, Estrada, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Gregorio Honasan, former congressman Rodolfo Plaza, former congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, former congressman Mong Garcia, Nancy Binay, and Bautista.

Originally posted at 03:06 pm | Monday, June 11,  2012

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