UNA wants to turn Aquino into a 'lame duck president'-A A +A
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
MANILA -- A Senate dominated by candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) after May is part of the plan of the opposition to turn President Benigno Aquino III into an inefficient leader in his last three years in office.
Senator Franklin Drilon, campaign manager of administration ticket Team PNoy, said the President is aware of this possibility despite UNA's posturing as a "constructive" critic of the popular regime.
"That's a challenge for us. We will show that for the next three years, we will do things correctly; we will do things in a manner that a decent right-thinking will do regardless of politics," he said in a television interview Tuesday night.
UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco immediately shrugged off Drilon's statement, telling him on the same show that they are not after putting President Aquino in a bad light.
"If you're saying that we wish to have a lame duck President, this means that we don't want our nation to move forward. It's not true that we want a lame duck president," he said.
A lame duck presidency often results in a clash of governance priorities, which was last seen during Aquino's predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who had to endure bickering with a Senate populated by politicians critical of her corruption-tainted rule.
Drilon said the President is staking his strong political capital to help his bets win in the May midterm polls.
"He is not afraid to spend his political capital because there are a lot of reforms that he has to do in the last three years of his administration and it is essential that he should have the majority in the Senate in order that he can push these reforms," he said.
He also challenged UNA to define the lines by coming out as the opposition.
"Let's define the lines. We are the administration; you are the opposition. There is nothing wrong with that. In democracy, opposition is necessary," he said.
Tiangco said they are only competing with the ruling Liberal Party "but we equally support the good programs of the administration."
In a separate statement, Tiangco said the recent release of the pre-campaign advertisement of Team PNoy may open "old wounds" that could make the coalition shaky.
"The ad in itself could also re-ignite the animosity among some of their candidates. The phrase 'daang matuwid' (straight path) was coined during the 2010 presidential campaign to contrast the President with another candidate who was embroiled in a high-profile road controversy," he said, referring to Senator Manny Villar whose wife, former Las Piñas City representative Cynthia Villar, is running under the administration ticket.
Joining Villar's wife in the slate is former Senator Jamby Madrigal, who once accused the senator of benefitting from the controversial C5 road extension project that reportedly jacked up the value of properties owned by his family corporation.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a re-electionist also under Team PNoy, defended Villar from this allegation in his failed presidential bid in 2010.
Villar is the head of the Nacionalista Party, which inked an alliance with the LP and the Nationalist People's Coalition for this year's polls. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)