UNA swears in Metro Manila candidates for 2013 electionsBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – Several Metro Manila candidates for the 2013 elections took their oath as new members of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Wednesday.
Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, Caloocan City Rep.Oscar “Oca” Malapitan, Councilor Dale Along Malapitan, Rita Crisologo, wife of Quezon City First district Congressman Vicente Crisologo, and Quezon City Rep. Mat Defensor, were among those who took their oaths before Vice President Jejomar Binay.
San Pedro will be seeking another term as Muntinlupa Mayor. Malapitan will be running for mayor of Caloocan, and his son, Along, will run for congressman of the city’s first district. Rita Crisologo will run for the position of Quezon City first district representative, while Defensor will be running for the position of the city’s third district representative.
UNA is the new coalition formed between Binay’s PDP-Laban and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
Binay, in an interview with reporters and in a speech during the oath-taking, boasted that UNA was the only accredited political coalition in the country.
Asked why he thought there were candidates from other parties who transferred to the coalition, UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco, also present during the oath-taking, noted the alliance’s high ratings in recent surveys, and the credentials and high ratings and endorsement powers of the party’s leaders.
“Perhaps they can see UNA’s stability,” Tiangco said.
Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile comprise UNA’s executive committee.
Tiangco also noted that two the members who were sworn into UNA came from the Nacionalista Party, while two others came from the Lakas-CMD, popularly known as Lakas.
He said Malapitan and Crisologo were from Nacionalista Party, while Defensor and San Pedro were from Lakas.
He maintained that UNA was a constructive opposition that would support the good programs of the present administration.
Meanwhile, Binay, in a speech, also encouraged the newly-sworn members to uphold their “moral obligation” to the coalition.
UNA senatorial slate complete
When pressed by reporters on whether his coalition’s senatorial slate was already complete, Binay just said “Mabuhay na lang tayo sa usapang kumpleto na kami sa ngayon ha.”
“We can tell you now that we will be filing our candidacy on October 1, at 1 p.m.,” Binay said.
During a press conference last Monday, UNA announced that Senator Loren Legarda had accepted the party’s invitation to run as a guest candidate for the senatorial slate.
Among those who earlier made it in the slate were Senators Gregorio Honasan, San Juan Representative JV Ejercito, Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce-Enrile Jr., former senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ernesto Maceda and Richard Gordon, Zambales Rep. Milagros “Mitos’ Magsaysay and businessman Joey de Venecia.
Binay and Estrada had also said that Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairman Grace Poe Llamanzares was already an “adopted candidate.”
Asked about the status of Llamanzares in the slate, Binay reiterated that she was an exception to the rule, and would still be included even if she opted to campaign with the Liberal Party.
Earlier reports also had it that that a spot in the UNA senatorial slate would go to Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, President Benigno Aquino III’s aunt.
Asked about this, Binay said “more or less ayos na rin yun. She’s included more or less muna kasi yung pagkakasabi sa akin eh 85 to 95 percent sure pero sabihin na natin.”
Binay noted that Tingting Cojuangco had impressive qualifications that would boost the slate.
Asked if Cojuangco’s inclusion would be an issue with President Aquino, Binay just said “it’s a freewheeling spirit and I don’t see this would be an issue…when we drafted Mitos Magsaysay they invited Jun Magsaysay.”
When pressed about Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s inclusion in the slate, Binay noted that Escudero had announced that he would run as an independent candidate but that the coalition would still have him.
Binay also said that he thought that it was too early for his daughter, Nancy Binay, to be running for this year’s elections despite the fact that it had been noted that she was also included to have good ratings in surveys.