Most Senate reelectionists join Liberal Party slateBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Five of the six reelectionist members of the Senate are in the short list being drawn up by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) for the 2013 senatorial lineup, a Malacañang official confirmed Sunday.
Budget Secretary and LP stalwart Florencio Abad told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV were on the list, which now counts 17.
Reelectionist Senator Gregorio Honasan has officially cast his lot with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), an alliance formed by Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan and ousted President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
In a phone interview, Honasan said he was with the UNA coalition “but still partyless and independent with no political party affiliation/membership.”
The five reelectionist senators are all non-LP members: Pimentel (PDP-Laban); Escudero (independent); Legarda (Nationalist People’s Coalition), and Cayetano and Trillanes (Nacionalista Party).
Escudero and Legarda are also being wooed by UNA.
A close friend of President Benigno Aquino’s, Escudero is “leaning towards the LP,” said Inquirer sources privy to coalition talks.
Legarda, who has been identified with the opposition, seems bent on joining UNA’s senatorial slate, said the sources.
Abad said he found nothing strange about Senate Minority Leader Cayetano, who will deliver the “contra-Sona” Monday, eventually running under the administration banner.
The contra-Sona is the traditional speech delivered by the leader of the opposition in the Senate to critique the yearly State of the Nation Address of the President.
“I don’t see any problem,” said Abad. “It’s the peculiar nature of Philippine politics.”