No common bets for LP, UNA–DrilonBy Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The two major political coalitions gearing up for next year’s midterm elections have made it clear that they would not have common candidates.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of President Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP), said Thursday the emerging administration coalition would apply the same policy against guest candidates, which was earlier adopted by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
While saying it was still “too early” to discuss guest candidates, Drilon noted that former President Joseph Estrada, one of the three senior UNA leaders, had made it clear that the UNA coalition would not accommodate such candidates.
“President Erap said he does not want guest candidates. That’s the policy they’ll adopt. We agree with that. No guest candidates,” Drilon told reporters after a congressional oversight committee hearing on the conditional cash transfer program.
It remains to be seen how the “no guest candidate” policy would affect the likes of Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero or Rep. Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who is a senior UNA leader.
Legarda and the younger Enrile are both affiliated with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which is still in talks for a possible coalition with the LP and the Nacionalista Party (NP).
Escudero left the NPC after he failed to solicit the support of NPC head Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco in the 2010 presidential election.
Drilon described the LP-NP-NPC coalition as still “a work in progress, but there is substantial progress.” He said part of the talks was how many slots each of the three parties would get out of the 12 senatorial positions.
So far, he said former Sen. Jamby Madrigal and Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada were in the “long list” of possible senatorial candidates.
But he declined to confirm whether the administration coalition was actually getting Legarda, Escudero, Enrile or even Sen. Gregorio Honasan—all of whom had been earlier considered in the UNA lineup.
Drilon also rejected Estrada’s accusation that the administration was “pirating” UNA candidates.
“No, no, we are talking about coalitions here… We are talking about alliances, party alliances. That (inclusion of Legarda et al) is a matter to be decided as we finalize the coalition,” he said.
In a separate interview, Honasan welcomed the possibility of getting support from the administration coalition, but said he would not abandon UNA.
“I will stick with the (UNA) coalition… I am already, almost officially part of UNA,” he said, noting that Vice President Jejomar Binay himself had invited him to the alliance. Honasan’s longtime former boss Enrile is also with UNA.
But if eventually drafted in the administration slate, Honasan said: “I have to tell them that I am with UNA already. But if they want just the same, then I will have no serious objection.”
Honasan welcomed the emergence of two major political coalitions for the 2013 elections, saying the situation should eventually lead to the establishment of a two-party system in the country.
“My worry is that after the elections, we might all go our separate ways,” he said.