Estrada: Roxas against LP-UNA coalitionBy Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“It’s complicated, and the idea is fading,” former President Joseph Estrada, one of the prime movers of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that is seeking a coalition with the Liberal Party (LP), said in Filipino in a telephone interview. “Many people on the side of the Liberal (Party) are against it.”
Estrada said he had received information that LP stalwarts led by Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II were cool to the idea of a coalition with the UNA.
“I was told Mar was against it,” he said, but declined to say how he got the information.
Roxas opposes coalition
Roxas on Friday said a coalition with the UNA was not possible, as the UNA had already stated that it was not open to alliances with other parties for next year’s midterm elections.
“I think it was the UNA (that) said they had their own slate and direction,” Roxas said. “They even said that they would not entertain alliances, so we’re just following what they themselves announced,” he said.
Estrada said the opposition by the Liberals to a coalition had to do with the presidential election in 2016.
“(The) 2016 (presidential election) is a factor,” he said. “Many Liberals already have their eyes (on the presidential election).”
Told that UNA leaders, particularly Vice President Jejomar Binay, were also eyeing the presidential election this early, Estrada said: “Of course, but (the Liberals) have no contender (yet to pit against Binay).”
Earlier this year, Binay said he would run for the presidency in 2016. In preparation for his presidential run, he combined his Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Party with Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) to form the alliance now called the UNA.
Binay defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential race, but Roxas is contesting Binay’s victory.
Boost for Binay
Estrada said some Liberals were probably afraid that a coalition with the UNA might boost Binay’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential race. But an alliance would benefit President Aquino’s administration for the rest of his term, Estrada said.
“It will be an advantage for P-Noy during his term because he will have a lot of allies,” he said. “He will be able to combine two major parties. He will be able to save on (campaign) money and so would we.”
Roxas does not think a coalition between the LP and the UNA would bolster Binay’s presidential chances. “These are all speculation,” he said. “Let’s leave that to them.”
Talk with Llamas
Mr. Aquino’s political adviser, Ronald Llamas, paid a quiet visit to Estrada on Thursday night for a discussion of the proposed coalition. But they were unable to talk about the coalition because other people came to see Estrada. The two men agreed to meet again next week.
Roxas sees that meeting as unrelated to the LP. “Secretary Llamas is a member of Akbayan (party-list), so they can discuss Akbayan,” he said.
Estrada said another issue that needs to be resolved is the likelihood that a common LP-UNA senatorial ticket will leave out other potential candidates.
Both groups are trying to get electable candidates to contest next year’s race for 12 seats in the Senate.
“Both of us will have to sacrifice,” Estrada said, pointing out that the UNA already had eight “sure” candidates. “We’ll do this for love of country.”
Estrada said he had consulted the UNA’s executive committee on the matter and was told that “they have no objection” provided the common senatorial ticket would be equally divided between the two groups—six UNA and six LP candidates.
The administration party is also conducting separate coalition talks with the Nacionalista Party (NP) of Sen. Manuel Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
President Aquino said he was optimistic that the coalition with the NP and the NPC would be concluded soon.
Estrada said he was open to a coalition with the LP even if the administration party joined forces with the NPC and the NP. Both Estrada and Mr. Aquino clashed with Villar during the 2010 presidential election.
‘Their slots, not ours’
Estrada said a coalition between the UNA and the NP would be “nonnegotiable.” But he said he would accept NP senatorial candidates provided they were among the LP’s six slots on the common ticket.
“If (the Liberals) want to get (Nacionalista candidates), they should put them in their slots, not in ours,” he said. With a report from Philip C. Tubeza
First posted 10:25 pm | Saturday, August 4th, 2012