Aquino, UNA should work together to fight poverty – HonasanBy Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Gregorio Honasan said the United Nationalist Alliance has not been and would not be the bad guy in President Benigno Aquino III’s campaign for good governance on the so-called tuwid na daan (straight path).
But he said Aquino’s self-righteous supporters could be.
Honasan, UNA’s only reelectionist exclusively in its fold, said President Aquino and their coalition’s have been facing common enemies in “poverty, hunger, ignorance and, in this case, too much partisan politics.”
“I am convinced that the UNA is not the enemy of the President,” Honasan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview.
“The permanent enemy of the President and the UNA, including the administration coalition … is poverty, hunger, ignorance and, if I may add in light of the recent developments, too much partisan politics,” Honasan added.
Honasan said that with President Aquino and UNA’s leaders—Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada—all enjoying high trust ratings, they could do much more to rally the country to economic growth even beyond 2016.
Honasan was reacting to President Aquino’s remarks during his proclamation of the senatorial candidates of the administration coalition.
Aquino said that if the members of the Liberal Party-led coalition were on the right path, how could those running against them—in apparent reference to the UNA slate members—also be on the right way.
Honasan expressed belief that President Aquino didn’t mean to disparage the members of the UNA coalition but made the remark only in the context of promoting the LP slate.
“I’m not referring to the President but there are those who pass themselves off as competent, all-knowing and clean but who are not and who are talking too much.
“To me, no one really cares what they think,” Honasan said.
“What’s important is President Aquino, Vice President Binay, Senate President Enrile and former President Estrada must combine and take a long term view.
“These elections would end and we will have to buckle down to work…. UNA is a critical ingredient in pursuing the President’s programs,” Honasan added.
Honasan said no set of national officials, whether elected or appointed, could match the combined trust ratings of the four officials.
Asked what alternative UNA could present to the people if it’s not the enemy of President Aquino, Honasan said, “Then we’ll move into high political ground.”
“If the people below the President would insist on a position of self-righteousness—as what I’ve said passing themselves off as competent, knowledgeable and clean, even when they’re not—then UNA is diametrically opposed to that,” Honasan said.
Honasan said the fact that UNA has in its fold supporters of former President Joseph Estrada, stalwarts of the Arroyo administration and independents shows the alliance’s long-term view of national unity.
“If the people below the President, the President’s subordinates take a different view, then UNA will be diametrically opposed to that because it’s in the way of political unity and economic development, economic prosperity and social cohesion, which are the desires of national security,” Honasan said.
Honasan, however, wouldn’t ascribe any ill-motive to Sen. Franklin Drilon’s statement on common candidates of the LP and UNA being discouraged from joining UNA rallies.
“I am not in a position to pass judgment on Senator Drilon’s statements,” Honasan said, adverting to the tradition of senators not questioning the motives of other senators.
Sen. Francis Escudero, Sen. Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares are common candidates of the LP coalition and the UNA.