LP-UNA coalition talks still onBy Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Efforts are under way to resurrect the proposed coalition between the Liberal Party (LP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to come up with a unified senatorial ticket in next year’s elections.
A senior political leader privy to the discussions said former President Joseph Estrada, a member of UNA’s “Big 3,” remained in contact with Malacañang through Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas on the proposal.
Estrada said he had been personally told by Llamas that President Aquino, standard-bearer of the LP, has not rejected the proposal.
Estrada shares the UNA leadership with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“I think it’s still alive,” said Estrada, referring to the proposed coalition. Estrada told the Inquirer in Filipino that the last time he discussed the matter with Llamas was during the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23.
“We saw each other during the Sona. He said the President had not turned it down, that the matter was not yet closed.”
The proposed LP-UNA coalition remained “alive and is still under consideration,” said another Inquirer informant, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to discuss the matter in public.
But he said that one possible stumbling block was the presence of personalities identified with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in UNA’s senatorial lineup: Ex-Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Zambales Rep. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay.
“I think the LP cannot stomach Mitos and Migz, but especially Mitos because of her attacks against the President,” the source said in Filipino.
The source said that part of the proposal to unite the LP and UNA was to evenly divide (6-6) the slots for the 12-man senatorial slate.
One known objector to this proposal is Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, a senior member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He has said that an LP-UNA coalition would effectively “disenfranchise” other prospective senatorial candidates. The NPC is also in talks with the LP on a possible coalition.
According to Estrada, he told Llamas that his proposal for a coalition was “done in good faith” and that it would be “a big boost for P-Noy because it would be a first in the history of Philippine politics.”
Estrada said that having a unified slate would save campaign money for both LP and UNA candidates and would provide the President with a Senate “he can control.” He said the alliance could also be limited to the 2013 elections.
When it comes to the 2016 elections, “laban-laban na (it’s a free for all),” he said.
UNA is expected to field Vice President Binay as its standard-bearer in 2016.
Pending the President’s signal on the proposed coalition, Estrada said UNA would go on to complete its senatorial slate. So far, he said eight slots had been filled with the entry of former Sen. Richard Gordon.
First posted 7:27 pm | Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Tags: Big 3 , Elections , Liberal Party , LP , News , Political Parties , Politics , Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas , Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile , UNA , United Nationalist Alliance , Vice President Jejomar Binay