From ‘super-coalition’ to ‘super-nothing’By Christian Esguerra, Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Actually, there was no proposal. Former President Joseph Estrada, head of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), half of UNA, said his son, Representative Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito of San Juan City, floated the idea without consulting the UNA leadership.
But the idea was “good” and, if considered a proposal, it was made “in good faith,” Estrada said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Monday that Ejercito spoke about the possibility of forming a “super senatorial slate” composed of LP and UNA candidates.
The report quoted Ejercito as saying this was “ideal” since there was no clear-cut line between the opposition and the administration unlike during the Arroyo administration.
Not his proposal
On Thursday, Ejercito said the super-coalition proposal did not come from him.
“I was just responding to a (reporter’s) question (about the proposal, which came from a business group),” Ejercito said. “What I really said was it’s only ideal and it’s easier said than done.”
The UNA is “already a formidable alliance” between the PDP-Laban and the PMP, UNA spokesperson Jose Virgilio Bautista told reporters Thursday. “We don’t need other political parties in the alliance.”
The “PDP-Laban and the PMP make UNA a complete alliance,” Bautista said, and that is why the electable senatorial candidates are “flocking to UNA.”
Not team to beat
Bautista talked with journalists after the UNA’s executive committee meeting at the Office of the Vice President. He said the UNA “didn’t say it’s the team to beat. That’s a description by the media.”
Estrada didn’t like the talk of a super-coalition, which, he said, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda appeared to have ridiculed.
“I thought UNA was the team to beat, so why are they asking for a coalition?” Estrada said.
He took Lacierda’s comments as “arrogant” and “insulting.”
“Is he talking on behalf of President Aquino or as a member of the Liberal Party?” Estrada asked. “Why will he immediately be very arrogant, as if he’s a veteran politician? It’s only during the time of President Aquino that I saw his face.”
So UNA is not the team to beat?
The UNA, Bautista said, is led by the top three political endorsers in the country today: Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“So if you combine these three leaders, then UNA indeed becomes a formidable alliance,” Bautista said. “We don’t have to say UNA is the team to beat. [I think it was only] Lacierda who said that,” he added.
Bautista asked: “Why does the administration Liberal Party need to import political parties that are independent? It’s possible they are really weak.”
Alliance of convenience
The UNA is “not an alliance of convenience,” he said. “It’s an alliance of principles and platforms.”
Apparently he was referring to the LP alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
“They will surely disintegrate after next year’s midterm elections,” he said.
But UNA “will remain a solid alliance all the way to 2016,” Bautista said.
Acceptable to Binay
Earlier, Binay, who heads PDP-Laban, welcomed the proposed super-coalition.
“Of course, we’re open to that. We might be accused of having a monopoly,” he said. There would be no conflict between the LP and the UNA if such a coalition would materialize, he said.