LP to new allies: Welcome but don’t expect poll fundsBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The party in power attracts allies but don’t expect it to fund their candidacies.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a close adviser of President Benigno Aquino III and a Liberal Party stalwart, on Saturday denied former President Joseph Estrada’s accusation the administration was pirating the senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
“That is farthest from the truth,” Abad told the Inquirer when asked about Estrada’s tirade against the administration which is working out a potential powerhouse slate made up of members of the LP, Nacionalista Party and Nationalist People’s Coalition.
“The administration is not pirating candidates and has no need to do so. Historically and by political logic, in a midterm election, the administration in power naturally attracts candidates. More so the Aquino administration which is enjoying unprecedented approval and support,” he said in a text message.
Abad vowed that no government resource would be used for the campaign of administration candidates.
“The President made it clear to the aspirants not to expect the administration to use government resources for the campaign. He has been emphatic about that policy,” Abad said.
On Friday, Estrada said the way the LP was prying senatorial candidates away from UNA showed a weakness in the ruling party.
“They’re pirating. That shows they cannot complete their lineup,” Estrada was quoted as saying.
Estrada was reacting to indications that reelectionists Senators Loren Legarda and Gregorio Honasan were being considered for inclusion in the senatorial ticket of an administration coalition made up of the LP, NP and NPC.
UNA had first announced its preference for Legarda, a member of the NPC, and Honasan for its Senate slate.
Estrada warned that the move could backfire against the LP. “Just like what happened to [NP president Sen. Manuel] Villar. He pirated, he lost just the same,” Estrada said referring to Villar’s loss in the 2010 presidential election.
President Aquino has also indicated his support for the senatorial bids of three candidates from other political groups. They are Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara of Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva and former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel.