Una sets ground rules for Senate betsBy Christian Esguerra, Miko Morelos, Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has set the ground rules for its senatorial candidates who will be endorsed by another political party, according to its secretary-general.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, told Inquirer on Friday that the party’s executive committee had agreed to share its senatorial candidates in the 2013 national elections with other political parties, but under certain conditions.
He added these rules were adopted not to put UNA senatorial candidates in a disadvantage.
“We have come up with rules for UNA senatorial candidates who want to be included in the slate of another party in order not to put the other candidates in a disadvantage,” Tiangco said.
First, he said, UNA senatorial candidates who will be included in another party would not be called a common candidate, but only an adopted candidate.
No common bet
“There will be no common candidate, only adopted candidate, because as a common candidate, you could be required to endorse UNA’s opponents,” which is disadvantageous to the official party candidates,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said the rules were drawn by the UNA executive committee during its meeting on Thursday.
Under the UNA rules, no UNA candidate will join in the campaign of the party who adopted him or her, the adopted candidate will not endorse any senatorial candidate aside of UNA slate; and the adopted candidate should not endorse the local candidates of other parties.
He added these rules had not been formally relayed to the senatorial candidates.
“Some of them may have known about it, and we will make the official announcement, and as responsible party members, am sure, they will understand the situation,” Tiangco said.
UNA is in the process of choosing from among seven possible candidates to fill up the three vacant slots to complete its senatorial slate for 2013, he said.
He declined to name the seven aspirants, but confirmed that one of them is Motion and Television Review Committee Board Chair Grace Poe Llamanzares, daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe.
Tiangco said UNA officials were still weighing the credentials of the aspirants in its senatorial slate and would decide as soon as possible.
“Since the space is getting smaller, we have to be more careful… to be sensitive to the political implications and to the sensitivities of our allies,” he said. “There are two things here—the political implication and the personal sensitivity of those who want to join us,” he said.
The UNA has already named seven candidates who are members of the political parties of Binay and Estrada.
Binay’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) is fielding Jose “Joey” de Venecia, reelectionist Gringo Honasan, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay.
On the other hand, Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) has chosen San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, and resigned Sen. Miguel Zubiri.
Asked whether Sen. Francis Escudero—a key supporter of Vice President Binay—was among those being considered, Tiangco, Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza and UNA spokesperson JV Bautista each replied “no comment.”
Escudero is flirting with both the LP and the UNA for his reelection bid.
“Politics is unlike in love where you have to stick to one partner,” Escudero told reporters who quizzed him on the status of his talks with the LP and UNA.
Escudero admitted he was in touch with both President Aquino and Binay, who head the LP and UNA, respectively. He said it would be up to either camp if he would be accepted as a senatorial candidate.
Escudero supported Mr. Aquino and Binay in the 2010 presidential election after he failed to secure the support of the Nationalist People’s Coalition leader Eduardo Cojuangco for his own presidential bid. He ended up bolting the NPC.
“They are both close friends of mine, though I’m close to President Aquino in terms of generation. But in terms of experience, Vice President Binay and I have been through many battles,” he said.
Escudero acknowledged he might end running under both tickets—but it would all depend on the LP and UNA.
“It’s possible that you might be endorsed and supported by different parties and from the point of view of any candidate, it’s a big thing and we would be thankful for that,” he said.
But he said he was also preparing to campaign alone as an “independent.”