UNA unsure of joining LP led majority

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05:35 AM June 8th, 2013

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Rep. Tobias Tiangco. SENATE POOL FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has yet to make up its mind whether or not it would join the Liberal Party-led majority coalition in the 16th Congress.

“The eight of us have yet to discuss the matter. As of now there is no decision yet,” Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Aside from Tiangco, UNA’s campaign manager in the mid-term elections, the UNA party members in the House of Representatives are Makati Representatives Abigail Binay and Monique Lagdameo, Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, Iloilo Rep. Hernan Biron Jr., and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

Tiangco said UNA would meet on July 4 or slightly over two weeks before Congress holds its first session day on July 22.

UNA has declined to be labeled an opposition party as one of its founders, Vice President Jejomar Binay, was a long-time ally and close family friend of President Aquino.

Another UNA founder, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, had been forced to resign the Senate presidency after the President’s LP allies had sounded off their plan to oust him and elect one of their own, Sen. Franklin Drilon. The LP coalition dominated the recent election with only three UNA members managing to get into the Magic 12—Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Gregorio Honasan.

Former Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said it was unlikely that UNA would detach itself from the majority this early.

“It’s too soon for UNA to cut its ties with the administration. They will probably join the opposition in the next one or two years in the build-up to the 2016 presidential elections,” said Suarez in a phone interview.

While Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. would remain as Speaker for a second straight term, Suarez expected Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez to succeed him as the next minority leader in the next Congress.

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