Aquino, Villar meet to finalize LP-NP coalition-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
MANILA (Updated 4:25 p.m.) -- President Benigno Aquino III met with Senator Manuel Villar III to formally forge a coalition between the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP) for the upcoming polls.
Budget Secretary and LP secretary general Florencio Abad confirmed the meeting last week before President Aquino told the media that LP’s coalition talks with NP and Nacionalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has been “very successful.”
“Well, there has been a meeting between the President and Senator (Manny) Villar where the agreement in principle to coalesce was forged,” said Abad.
He noted that the next meeting would be more on “operational” matters.
“There will be a group of about two or three people from the Nacionalista Party and from the Liberal Party who will be meeting to discuss first the basis for the coalition as well as the discussions on the Senate slate, local coalitions, to the extent that they can be forged on the congressional as well as on the local government level,” he added.
Abad said Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas had been instrumental in forging the coalition between LP and NP. He noted that Gullas was one of the “intermediaries” who made the meeting possible.
Abad, meanwhile, said the LP will resume its coalition talks with NPC next week.
Abad admitted that the LP could not fill up a full senatorial slate, the reason it forges coalition with other political parties.
“We concede that we cannot fill up a full slate. At the end of the process of vetting candidates, we may have four or five legitimate Liberal Party members in the slate and so, given that reality, of course, it’s natural for any political party to try to put together a coalition of other political parties and individuals with like minds to be able, you know, to pursue its program of government,” he said.
“It is important to be able to build a broad coalition that has a good chance of succeeding beyond 2013 and on to 2016,” he added.
Abad, however, refused to confirm if the coalition will extend up to the 2016 presidential elections, saying things are fluid when it comes to politics.
“There are many things that can happen,” he said.
While Aquino and Villar had bitter rivalry during the 2010 presidential elections, Abad said the two officials already agreed to move forward.
“Well, I mean, you know in the heat of battle these things come up. But, you know, that’s the atmosphere that usually accompanies elections … We all understand that those things come up and after the election everything is finished then you move forward,” he said.
President Aquino’s campaign slogan of “tuwid na daan” (straight path) was derived from the Daang Hari and C-5 road extension controversies, in which Villar was accused of corruption.
Villar during the campaign challenged Aquino to take a psychological test questioning his mental capability in ruling the country.
Abad said the C-5 controversy was not discussed “in great detail” during the meeting.
He added that the Palace will let the Senate to put closure on the issue.
“Para sa amin tapos na ‘yon and he has already been held accountable for that. So ayaw na namin ungkatin ‘yon because, as we said, nangyari na ‘yon,” Abad said. “If you have to dig into the past, I don’t think that is going to help build a strong relationship.”
He said as Villar agreed to forge coalition with LP, it means that he adhere to the very reform agenda that the President has been unrelentingly pursuing.
He stressed that both political leaders were looking forward to strengthening relationships.
Abad, meanwhile, confirmed that President Aquino’s cousin Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV is also being considered in the list of the LP senatorial slate. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)