UNA not giving up on ‘guest’ candidates
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nationalist Alliance is trying to work things out with the three candidates it has in common with the Team PNoy coalition and find a way to have them join UNA’s sorties, according to campaign manager Toby Tiangco.
But as of late Tuesday, Tiangco said that not one of the three—Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero and former censors board chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares—had committed to attend UNA’s sortie to Pampanga on Wednesday or subsequent events. After Pampanga, UNA is heading to Zambales and Bataan.
Tiangco said he met separately with Legarda, Escudero and Poe after the UNA rallies in Cebu and Bohol last week.
He declined to divulge details of the meetings but said he informed them about UNA’s next campaign rally in Pampanga and formally sent each one a letter detailing the itinerary. The three candidates received the letters Monday.
Tiangco said he was trying to find ways to have the common candidates join UNA events.
“We’re still trying to find a solution,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Asked if UNA would drop the three after its sorties in Luzon, Tiangco replied: “We’ll see.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier said UNA might let the common candidates go if they continued to snub its campaign.
This was after the UNA proclamation rally in Cebu City from which the three were absent, although Legarda and Poe sent their father and son, respectively, to speak for them. Escudero did not send anyone to represent him.
No more proxies
Following that rally, Tiangco said proxies would no longer be allowed at succeeding rallies and appealed to the three to decide once and for all if they would join UNA’s sorties.
He also asked the three not to leave the alliance hanging, especially since it had made concessions to accommodate them after they accepted UNA’s invitation to join it as common candidates.
Nevertheless, Tiangco said, UNA’s rallies would have a positive tone and avoid mudslinging.
At its rallies, he said, UNA would reinforce its message that its senatorial candidates would “make life better for Filipinos.”
Tiangco also blasted the Team PNoy coalition for accusing him of bringing down the level of political debate by focusing on personality-oriented attacks.
Tiangco said it was the Team PNoy coalition led by President Aquino that first resorted to making “crabby personal attacks” against UNA.
“UNA has always been issues-oriented. Our TV ad raised a valid issue. While the country may have posted economic growth, we still have the glaring issues of poverty, hunger and unemployment which our candidates will tackle based on their advocacies and programs,” he said.
Tiangco said Team PNoy spokesman Rep. Miro Quimbo, was obscuring the issue of graft and corruption by blaming UNA for starting the mudslinging.
“The LP should not start what they can’t finish. They fired the first shot by hurling a malicious and false accusation against Vice President Jejomar Binay who is not even a candidate. But when they are asked to account for their government record, they cry black propaganda,” he said.
Quimbo had complained that Tiangco had accused him of involvement in the issuance of fraudulent loans when he was the head of the Pag-Ibig Fund. He denied being a party to any wrongdoing, saying the questionable loans were made after he had left the agency.
But according to Tiangco, “graft is a legitimate issue.”
“Miro Quimbo is a friend but he is evading the issue. The fact is that the DOJ recommended the filing of charges against him and other Pag-Ibig officials to the Ombudsman. What happened to the recommendation? Is the case dormant at the Ombudsman because he is an ally?” he said.