MANILA, Philippines — Senator Loren Legarda arrived Monday afternoon at the Commission on Elections’ main office in Intramuros, Manila, to file her certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2013 senatorial elections.
Legarda said that she planned to file her COC at exactly 3:50 in the afternoon, saying that this would bring her good luck.
She is a guest candidate of both the United Nationalist Alliance and the Liberal Party coalition.
Earlier Monday, senatorial candidates of UNA filed their COCs at the Comelec main office.
UNA leaders Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile accompanied their candidates as they filed their COCs at around 1 p.m.
UNA is a merger of Binay’s PDP-Laban party and Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
Among those in UNA’s senatorial slate who filed their COCs at the Comelec were reelectionist Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Representatives JV Ejercito, Jackie Ponce Enrile and Milagros Magsaysay; former senators Ernesto Maceda, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon; and former Tarlac Governor Margarita “Tingting’’ Cojuangco.
Ejercito is the son of Estrada while Enrile is the son of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile. Cojuangco is the wife of Jose “Peping’’ Cojuangco, uncle of President Benigno Aquino III.
Joey de Venecia, who was supposed to be a senatorial bet of UNA, earlier withdrew his candidacy.
Legarda confirmed that she had also officially joined the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party (LP).
Asked whether she was threatened about the announcement of the LP that they would not allow their guest candidates to campaign for UNA and Binay’s earlier comment that he wanted the guest candidates to exercise fair judgement and give to UNA what they would give to LP, Legarda said that she had been transparent to both parties and that she had high respects for the parties’ leaders.
Legarda explained that Binay knew very well that President Benigno Aquino III had invited her personally, and that Aquino, in turn, was well informed that she had earlier agreed to join UNA as a guest candidate.
When asked by Legarda to give an explanation, Valenzuela Representative Rex Gatchalian, spokesperson of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said that the partnership between the LP, NPC, and the Nacionalista Party (NP) would not hinder the NPC from supporting all their candidates and standing by their decisions.
Like Legarda, Jackie Ponce Enrile, also from NPC, is running under UNA.
Legarda clarified that she never asked for the two parties two adopt her as a guest candidate, and that being a common candidate for both parties “reflects on the winnability of the candidate.”
“Being a common candidate is a happy situation…although it is also delicate. We have to go with the NPC,” she said.
She added that she was very appreciative of the personal invitation of Aquino, Binay, Enrile, and Estrada, the top leaders of the emerging rival parties.
“How can you say no to them?” Legarda told reporters.
Battle lines not clearly drawn, UNA supports Aquino
Legarda said that the upcoming elections were different from the 2007 elections, when she said the lines were clearly drawn between the administration and the opposing party.
“This time it’s a new game…rivals will no longer be fighting each other,” she said.
“UNA is supporting Aquino, not the opposition,” she said.
“That’s why it would be difficult for us,” she added, referring to the other common candidates of the two parties – Escudero and Llamanzares,
But when asked with which party she would join during the campaign, she just said, “I will campaign with the Filipino people.”
Mounting green campaign
Legarda emphasized that she would be mounting a green campaign, saying that as this was her last political campaign, she would want to leave something that would be really helpful to the Filipinos.
“I want to be the least cause of dirt in the campaign,” she added.
She vowed that her campaign would limit the use of tarps and posters, saying that at the back of each tarp, there would be a sign saying “please recycle.”