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Sen. Estrada slams door on alliance with Arroyo parties

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Thursday slammed the door on two political parties identified with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over a possible coalition with the newly formed United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for next year’s midterm elections.

Estrada said he was against accepting prospective candidates affiliated with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and more so, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), a party formed and headed by Arroyo.

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As president of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Joseph Estrada, the senator signed a “covenant” with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to form the UNA coalition.

The younger Estrada said accepting Lakas members would be “too much of a liability” for UNA.

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“They’re identified with FVR (former President Fidel V. Ramos) and with GMA (Arroyo),” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

Dead party

Estrada was even more emphatic when asked about the possibility of admitting Kampi members to the coalition. “It’s a dead party whose leader is now in jail.”

Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, is detained on a charge of electoral sabotage and a separate case of graft over the scuttled $329-million National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

Estrada “commended” Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., a close friend of his, for sticking it out with Lakas where he is the party president. “I admire him for not leaving his party mates,” he said.

Force to reckon with

Last Tuesday, Revilla issued a press statement saying Lakas remained “a force to reckon with.”

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“The next elections are still over a year away and while there are already feelers being sent seeking the party’s support, we do not want to focus our efforts there this early,” he said.

“Instead of following what other political parties are doing now, our party, through our members who are incumbent officials, would rather spend our energies serving the constituency and addressing their more immediate concerns.”

Grassroots membership

Revilla said the strength of Lakas lay in its “grassroots membership, the quality of its incumbent members on the ground, coupled with the support of recognized leaders and senior statesmen.”

“Ultimately, the party that has the biggest number of performing incumbent officials is the strongest political party,” he said, noting that the party continued to enjoy the support of the presidents and officials of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Vice Mayors League of the Philippines, the Philippine Councilors League, and the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas.

“Lakas is not CGMA (Congresswoman Arroyo) alone. There is more to the party. We are a principled political party with Christian-Muslim Democratic ideals,” Revilla said.

“We enjoy the full support of former President Fidel V. Ramos and the party’s founding members, coupled with a substantial number of congressmen, governors, board members, mayors and councilors.”

Like his father, Estrada said he was willing to accept politicians identified with Arroyo in UNA’s senatorial lineup for 2013. But he said such prospects should not have been involved in any anomaly during the Arroyo regime.

Estrada mentioned as possible UNA senatorial candidates former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Zambales Representative Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, two of Arroyo’s closest allies.

Originally posted at 010:32 pm | Thursday, April 12,  2012

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TAGS: 2013 elections, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Jinggoy Estrada, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), Politics, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Senate, UNA, UNA coalition, United Nationalist Alliance
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