UNA’s ‘3 kings’ to fill in for absent common candidatesBy Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The nominally opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will hold its proclamation rally in Cebu City on Feb. 12 with the likelihood that the three candidates that it has in common with the administration’s Team PNoy will not be attending.
Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, the UNA’s campaign manager, seemed resigned to the idea that Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero, and Grace Poe-Llamanzares would be no-shows at the UNA kick-off rally next week.
“My feeling is that they would go (to the Team PNoy rally) instead,” he said. The administration’s Liberal Party-led coalition will be holding its proclamation rally at Plaza Miranda on the same night.
But Tiangco said the UNA has its own “Three Kings”—Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and deposed President Joseph Estrada—will climb the stage in Cebu and raise the hands of the candidates.
“The Big 3 will all be there,” he said.
Rep. Mel Sarmiento, the LP secretary general, said that all 12 administration senatorial candidates would be attending the Team PNoy proclamation rally next Tuesday.
This all but ruled out the possibility that the “common” candidates would make it to the UNA rally in Cebu City even if they would want to.
Sarmiento said that the three “common” candidates were not being prevented from joining UNA.
“(But) if you’re a candidate, your mindset is you would always want to ensure that the team that’s carrying you will really carry you, that you won’t offend anybody from the team,” he said.
Estrada said he was still holding on to the “commitment” that Legarda made to him last year that she would join the UNA campaign, not any other ticket’s. But the supposed promise was apparently made before Legarda’s Nationalist People’s Coalition party coalesced with the LP and she was formally drafted to the administration ticket.
According to Tiangco, in recent conversations with Legarda, the senator has been “floating ideas on what would be acceptable” to both UNA and Team PNoy with regard to her participation in both campaigns.
He said the UNA would have no problem if the common bets would join the Team PNoy proclamation rally but so long as they would also show up at UNA’s.
“But that would be impossible because one will be in Cebu and the other one will be in Manila. Another possibility is they won’t attend both proclamation rallies,” he said.
Despite UNA’s tug-of-war with Team PNoy, he said the Cebu sortie would focus on a “happy” theme, one that would move away from political mudslinging.
“Personally, I want a happy campaign where the focus is on issues and platforms,” he said.
“That’s why I could understood the President when he said there should be no mudslinging yet we were the first to be hit,” he said.
In the administration ticket’s inaugural TV commercial, the President warned voters against those “pretending” to support his “daang matuwid” (righteous path) campaign.
Tiangco said the UNA sortie would deliver the collective message on how its senatorial ticket would “make life better for Filipinos.”