UNA dropping Chiz?

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

TAGBILARAN, Bohol, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay hinted yesterday that the United Nationalist Alliance is likely to drop re-electionist Sen. Francis Escudero should he again fail to attend UNA campaign sorties.

The UNA leadership and senatorial candidates were disappointed over Escudero’s failure to show a “certain degree of sincerity” following his non-appearance at the UNA’s grand proclamation rally in Sugbu, Cebu City.

Binay said they are giving Escudero and their two other guest candidates – former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares and re-electionist Sen. Loren Legarda – the chance to personally attend their next sorties.

Llamanzares sent her son Bryan and cousin Sheryl Cruz to represent her, while Legarda sent her father Tony.

UNA removed Escudero’s tarpaulin on the stage during its proclamation rally and none of its candidates, as well as Binay, President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, mentioned his name during the occasion.

“We have an agreement with them (Escudero, Llamanzares and Legarda) that they will join us in our rally. Let us see in the next campaign sorties if they will come,” Binay said.

Senatorial candidate Mitos Magsaysay said UNA will remain strong and solid with or without Escudero.

She said Escudero should decide whether he is for UNA or for the Liberal Party (LP).

“Considering that he did not send a representative despite UNA’s request, that is a signal that he doesn’t want us. Even his trustee in his house will do,” Magsaysay said.

She said it is up to the public to decide if Escudero is a “user.”

“Maybe, it’s up to him to prove who he is. For me, I just wish him luck. The Filipinos are very sensitive about loyalty. He turned down the request of those people who made him,” Magsaysay said.

She said Escudero might still win in the May elections but she is not sure if he will still be number one.

“They have to make a decision this early. We will take the cue from his action and inaction. The absence of his tarpaulin and the non-inclusion of his name in our speeches during our proclamation should be a cue for Escudero,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay said UNA candidates will also look into the demeanor of Llamanzares and Legarda.      

She said it is understandable that the three common candidates joined the administration’s proclamation rally on Tuesday, but they have not shown any indication that they intend to participate in future UNA campaign sorties.

Rep. Jackie Enrile said that Escudero, Llamanzares and Legarda are still welcome “but they must show that they are part of UNA.”

Former senator Jose Miguel Zubiri said Escudero should have sent his girlfriend, movie actress Heart Evangelista, to UNA’s proclamation to show that he was interested.

He said Llamanzares and Legarda might have been chastised by LP leaders for sending their representatives.

“Let’s face it. It’s statistically possible for them not to win. I don’t want to burn bridges. I don’t want to fight with them,” Zubiri said. – Paolo Romero

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