Legarda has asked permission from NPC to join UNA – BinayBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday said that based on his knowledge Senator Loren Legarda has asked permission from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) to join the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
“All I knew was that NPC allowed Senator Legarda to join UNA,” Binay told INQUIRER.net after he attended the Tridev Stakeholders Conference at the UP-Ayala Land Techno Hub in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
Reports had it Monday that Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, were also in the short-list being drawn up by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) for its 2013 senatorial lineup.
UNA has also been reported to be wooing Escudero and Legarda.
“He’s a brilliant senador, a good leader… he’ll always be an asset,” Binay said when asked about how it was important for UNA to have Escudero in its line-up.
Meanwhile in a separate interview, vice-presidential daughter Nancy Binay, who is the deputy secretary general of UNA, said that not only were the two senators important for their “winnability” but also for their projects and the principles they share with UNA.
“Of course they’re very important because first of all, they can help the party in terms of their projects. We share the same principles,” Nancy Binay said.
When told that LP was also eyeing Escudero and Legarda, she said: “May the best man win. On our part, there are also efforts to get them.”
Meanwhile, Legarda told INQUIRER.net that she had been invited by the Vice President since last year to be a guest candidate of UNA. She also said she had been invited by former president Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“I am with the NPC and they are aware of this invitation and have been very supportive of me too. I will run under the NPC. The UNA leadership will make their announcement of their guest candidates soon,” she said in an e-mail to INQUIRER.net.
When pressed if she was going to run as a guest candidate for UNA, she said: “Let the leadership make that decision and the announcement at the appropriate time.”
On the UNA-LP merger, the Vice President said he had no knowledge about the reported talks between Estrada and Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas on the proposed super-coalition.
His daughter also said she had no information on the matter, stressing that the proposed coalition was not tackled in the last UNA executive committee meeting.
“[It was] not tackled in the execom level so perhaps former President [Estrada] has received feelers from LP,” she said.
She said anything can still happen between now and October but “as of the moment we already have seven candidates so if they propose to divide evenly the slots that would be impossible.”
She added that if LP wants the supercoalition to materialize it should settle for the five vacant slots.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Monday that based on an informant, part of the proposal to unite the LP and UNA was to evenly divide (6-6) the slots for the 12-man senatorial slate.