UNA guest candidates risk losing support-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
IF SENATORS Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero and Grace Poe Llamanzares want to campaign exclusively with Team PNoy, then they should say so to avoid the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) holding on to promises, an official said Thursday.
Two days after the start of the 90-day senatorial campaign period, the three guest candidates have yet to share the stage with UNA's nine original bets with the coalition's secretary general Toby Tiangco saying they can only tolerate so much.
"[T]heir recent statements and actions have left UNA no recourse but to ask them to make a public commitment to join UNA events," he said.
UNA kicked off the campaign in Cebu on Tuesday followed by a sortie in Bohol the next day. Legarda and Poe sent relatives to the proclamation rally but Escudero failed to assign a proxy, a gesture found unacceptable by UNA.
"The one who invited you need not request for a proxy. He could have sent his mother who is a candidate in the district of his late father (ex-Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero III)," said Tiangco.
Tiangco related that they even considered the option of moving the start of last Tuesday's rally to 8 p.m. to allow them time to catch a plane to Cebu City.
Team PNoy's rally in Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, finished past 7 p.m. Tuesday but only Poe's daughter Brian and Legarda's 80-year-old father appeared at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.
Tiangco said the set up was reached following separate visits of Poe and Legarda to UNA leaders Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada last week.
"When Grace said she will send her son, I said it should be her mother, so we can be consistent. But she went to the Vice President to appeal, and the Vice President allowed it. So I told Loren that since it was okay to send Grace’s son, she can also send her son, but she said she will send her father," he added.
Binay earlier hoped that the three will honor their commitment to UNA.
Escudero and Legarda are consistently on top of the nationwide pre-election surveys conducted by Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia.
Senatorial candidate Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara of Team PNoy said Escudero does not need the support of any political party, including UNA, to be re-elected in the May 13 polls.
Escudero, however, admitted that the non-endorsement of Binay of his bid re-election bid may lessen his number of votes in the May 13 polls.
"Kahit sino namang tumatakbo ayaw naman mabawasan kahit kaunting suporta," he said in a phone interview.
Escudero endorsed the successful tandem of then Senator Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party and Binay of the United Opposition for president and vice president, respectively, during the 2010 elections. Aquino's running mate was Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.
"The three common candidates of Team PNoy and UNA appeared at the launching of Team PNoy at Plaza Miranda instead of going to Cebu for the UNA proclamation rally. That speaks volumes about what they think of UNA," House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, a member of LP, said.
Team PNoy campaign spokesperson and House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, meanwhile, thinks that it's a good idea for UNA to drop the three candidates.
"It is UNA's decision if they want to drop their three adopted candidates. At least the people will no longer be confused. Will it be a loss to the three? I don't think so. We will know the answer on election day," Tañada said in a text message.
Senator Franklin Drilon, Team PNoy campaign manager, refused to answer whether or not there will be sanctions against the guest candidates who will join the UNA rallies.
Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, also a candidate of Team PNoy, said attending sorties is optional for all the bets.
"It is also optional for all of us because, of course, we also have other commitments," Aquino said.
Team PNoy visited Laguna in the third day of its provincial sorties.
The administration is fielding Representative Edgar San Luis as governor in the province of Laguna against incumbent Governor ER Ejercito.
"We will try our best for a 12-0 (for Team PNoy) but I'm not promising anything," Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez said. (Virgil Lopez/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)