Villanueva, Hagedorn, Casiño open to forming own teamBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Evangelist Eddie Villanueva and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn on Tuesday both welcomed the idea of joining forces with Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño and forming an “alternative team” to boost their chances of winning in May’s senatorial elections.
Villanueva, the lone senatorial candidate of the Bangon Pilipinas party, on Tuesday told the Inquirer that, “personally, I have no problem with both of them.”
“There’s been a suggestion from our common friends for us to meet along that line,” he said. He was on his way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch a flight to Naga City, where he had a scheduled campaign sortie.
For his part, Hagedorn said in a text message, “Yup! No problem.”
When contacted, Casiño welcomed the idea, saying “it is something that we are all thinking about.”
The left-leaning legislator, however, said they “have yet to discuss it among ourselves.”
“The three of us will probably have coffee to see what we can come up with,” he added.
According to Casiño, “the other independents have also broached the idea of a united front.”
“Our problem is the very limited time and energy we all have to form a coalition, given the very tight schedules we now face in the campaign homestretch,” he said.
Villanueva and Hagedorn, who are “longtime friends,” forged an “unwritten covenant” to support each other’s senatorial bid during the former’s recent visit to the Palawan capital.
On Easter Sunday, they led a 40-vehicle motorcade that went around several towns in Bulacan, the hometown of the Jesus is Lord church leader.
From Meycauayan City, they proceeded to the municipalities of Plaridel, Pulilan, Baliuag, San Rafael, San Ildefonso and San Miguel. They are set to conduct another joint sortie in Davao City and other parts of Mindanao.
In a statement, Villanueva said they were “happy to see throngs of Bulakeños come out to see our motorcade.”
“This is a good way to jumpstart the campaign coming from the Holy Week break, and as we start the last 45 days of the campaign,” he said.
“This joint sortie came after Mayor Hagedorn and I made a commitment to back each other’s candidacy as part of an unwritten covenant.”
“As I said before, Mayor Hagedorn shares in principle my belief that no one should be left out of the country’s economic growth, which sits at the core of my advocacy of new politics that aims to address the needs of the saguiguilid, or the country’s marginalized sectors,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva was scheduled to campaign in Iriga City and other parts of Camarines Sur on Tuesday.
Hagedorn has been pushing his advocacies on environmental protection, good governance and bigger income shares for local government units, among other things.
The opposition United Nationalist Alliance had earlier considered naming Villanueva, Hagedorn and Casiño “guest senatorial candidates” after it dropped Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero and ex-MTRCB head Grace Poe from its lineup.
Two weeks ago, boxing idol and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao endorsed both Villanueva and Hagedorn during an UNA rally in General Santos City.