LP-led coalition bets may be endorsed by UNA but not join rival’s sortiesBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Official senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party (LP)-led alliance may be adopted by other coalitions provided they do not join their campaign sorties, according to members of the ruling party.
“It would be improper for them to endorse their rivals,” said House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II of President Benigno Aquino III’s coalition.
The LP is finalizing its senatorial lineup after exploratory talks of a merger with the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
NPC members Sen. Loren Legarda and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, however, are reportedly being eyed by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is fielding its own senatorial candidates. The UNA joins the forces of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and deposed President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
LP secretary general and Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya said the LP-NP-NPC alliance has been considering 15 to 16 individuals for its 12-member lineup, narrowing down the LP’s own bets for the slate.
Abaya said the candidates of the coalition would benefit from the high trust ratings the President has been enjoying. Aquino’s endorsement would be “very powerful,” he said.
He added that the coalition would mount a successful campaign based on the “tuwid na daan” or straight path policy, which has been its championed by the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Abaya said the LP would push Sen. Franklin Drilon’s suggestion that the Commission on Elections allow voters to choose 13 senators to allow a replacement for Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago who has been set to assume her post as judge of the International Criminal Court.
“We welcome that because it’s not partisan. Otherwise, you are left with a blank seat for the next three years,” he said.