Unlike rival party, UNA won’t bash ArroyoBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Liberal Party’s top honcho may be fond of criticizing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but members of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) think there are better things to discuss in campaign sorties.
The UNA members are resuming their group sorties this week with their first stop in Pampanga, the bailiwick of the detained former president, but don’t expect UNA to attack her.
During the proclamation of Team PNoy candidates at Plaza Miranda last week, President Aquino again enumerated the controversies that hounded his predecessor, and said that her minions were still in power.
UNA senatorial candidate JV Estrada said there was no need to keep harping against Arroyo. It would be better if campaigns were issue-based, he said.
“We focus on issues. GMA [the former President’s initials) is a nonfactor. What I’m saying is she’s a nonfactor in what’s happening in our country,” Estrada said in a phone interview.
But he said he believed that Arroyo should be prosecuted posthaste along with her cohorts, although he noted that the cases filed against her by the present administration were being dismissed.
Arroyo replaced Estrada’s father, deposed President Joseph Estrada, after the latter fled Malacañang after a people power revolt cut short his administration.
3 years under Aquino
Another UNA senatorial candidate, Mitos Magsaysay, on Monday said people would rather hear about how officials could help in their day-to-day problems, and resolve issues plaguing the country.
“How will it help people if you keep on hitting GMA? We’re three years into the Aquino administration,” Magsaysay, who used to be Arroyo’s party mate in Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, said in a phone inteview.
Magsaysay also noted an earlier statement by UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco, who said that Arroyo’s former allies were with the LP now.
In an earlier interview, Magsaysay said the LP’s constant criticism of the former president could backfire. She pointed out that many local government officials now aligned with Aquino used to be with Arroyo.
“GMA gave a lot of assistance, support and goodwill to them to develop their municipalities and provinces. How about the Liberal Party? What kind of help has it given to the LGUs and to the provinces?” she said.
She also said UNA’s leaders, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, had developed plenty of goodwill with local officials due to their long years of public service.