Bongbong, Sara, Arroyo alliance gets Erap camp
MANILA, Philippines — It is now a Marcos-Duterte-Arroyo-Estrada “grand coalition” supporting the tandem of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Marcos Jr.’s Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), the political party of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on Thursday signed their “UniTeam alliance agreement” along with the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
The alliance was described as a “grand coalition of national and regional parties” intended to ensure the victory of Marcos Jr. and Duterte as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, in the May 2022 elections.
“The UniTeam Alliance, we pray, is just the beginning. We dream of a grand coalition of national and regional parties with local alliances that share our vision of a better future for this generation and the next,” said House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the Lakas-CMD president.
“Only through unity can we hurdle the challenges that we face today as a nation. Healing and moving forward will make us all stronger. If we are to survive, and thrive, as a people, there is no other way but work together,” Romualdez added.
The agreement was signed by Romualdez for Lakas-CMD, South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. for PFP, Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista for HNP, and former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada for PMP.
In a speech, Marcos Jr. said the alliance of the country’s “most significant political parties signifies unity that would heal and bring peace to a country” long polarized by “murky politics.”
“We have come together on the basis of unity. And it is these unifying forces that I believe will bring the stability back first to the political arena, and secondly, to the country,” he said.
Duterte, who delivered her message in a prerecorded speech, said the UniTeam had managed to “forge a partnership as one organization, setting aside political rivalries and differences, to become strong partners of the people and the nation.”
“Our alliance is built on friendship, trust, and the commitment to serve the Filipinos and the country,” she said.
“To PFP, Lakas-CMD, PMP, and HNP—there is no turning back,” the President’s daughter said, days after she was sworn back in as HNP chair following her resignation on Nov. 11.
Under the agreement, parties are allowed to field one senatorial candidate in the UniTeam lineup, to be announced “on or before Dec. 1.”
Duterte previously resigned from HNP and joined Lakas-CMD, a move that enabled her to file a certificate of candidacy (COC) as the Lakas-CMD substitute bet for vice president. A few days later, she accepted the offer to take over as Lakas-CMD chair from Sen. Bong Revilla. She then rejoined HNP, the regional party that she founded, after getting the consent of Lakas-CMD.
President Duterte had expressed disappointment with his daughter’s decision to run for vice president instead of president despite her dominance in recent surveys. Later in a speaking engagement, he took a swipe at Marcos Jr., calling him a “weak leader.”
Mr. Duterte had also accused a male presidential aspirant from a “wealthy family” and with a prominent father, of using cocaine. While the description was closest to the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the former senator maintained that he did not feel alluded to by the President’s remarks.
The President is instead campaigning for his longtime aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who is running for president, and for his daughter for vice president. Go earlier filed a COC for vice president but substituted for president to avoid running against Sara Duterte. The President, meanwhile, is running for senator.
While the Davao City mayor has become the Lakas-CMD chair and vice presidential candidate, there has been no public statement from Arroyo, the party’s chair emeritus, about these developments. Arroyo is seeking to return to the House as Pampanga congresswoman.
There was also no statement from the elder Estrada, 84, during Thursday’s signing ceremony. The former president, who was impeached and ousted from Malacañang in 2001, and later convicted for plunder but pardoned by Arroyo in 2007, was represented by his son Jinggoy.
Jinggoy Estrada and his half-brother JV Ejercito are both seeking a Senate comeback as candidates under Sara Duterte’s ticket.
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