UNA mulls alliance with major parties
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is eyeing an alliance with almost all major parties, except the ruling Liberal Party (LP) which will field Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in the 2016 presidential elections.

UNA Secretary General JV Bautista said yesterday that UNA is trying to lock-in an alliance with at least five major political parties to support the presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

These include the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of Danding Cojuangco, Lakas-CMD of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former senator Manuel Villar and the National Unity Party (NUP) of Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga.

“But the NP is very fragmented (at the moment) because of the number of candidates belonging to that party who have openly expressed their intention to run,” said Bautista.

He was referring to Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV and Bongbong Marcos who have all expressed intention to run for higher post next year.

“They don’t seem to be in the same slate or the same party. None of them seem to be falling together as a slate,” said the UNA official.

Cayetano and Trillanes are known critics of Binay, while Marcos is among those who are reportedly being considered by UNA as a possible running mate of the Vice President.

Bautista refused to comment on the status of the selection of those who will be included in their slate. He noted, however, the recent visit of Binay in Ilocos Norte as a good indication of the relationship of the Vice President and the Marcoses.

Parties still undecided

Bautista also said political parties remain undecided as there are factors that they are still waiting for, including the last quarter survey results due in September and the formal announcement of those who have expressed intention to run for higher office.

Survey frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe, for instance, has yet to declare her plans, which could be the deal breaker for at least two parties.

Estrada, who ran for president alongside Binay in 2010, is the best friend of Poe’s father, the late Fernando Poe Jr.

Members of NPC, meanwhile, have met with Poe and Roxas, the anointed candidate of President Aquino. Some members, including stalwart Sen. Vicente Sotto III, have expressed support for the candidacy of Poe alongside former NPC member and now independent Sen. Francis Escudero.

The NUP, on the other hand, has yet to declare whom they will support in 2016. The party is composed of Lakas CMD members who bolted from the party after the 2010 polls.

Lakas CMD also remains undecided, although Romualdez, who already has television commercials, previously joined Binay in his sorties.

Aside from LP, Bautista also did not mention Binay’s former party the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) as among the parties they are trying to form an alliance with.

Headed by Sen. Koko Pimentel, another Binay critic, PDP-Laban is reportedly eyeing to support the possible candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Strong machinery

Bautista yesterday touted the strong machinery of UNA, saying they are planning to launch local UNA chapters in all provinces by the second week of September.

He said UNA would prioritize those areas where they have yet to form an alliance with a local party.

The UNA official said the party has officially formed a coalition with the local party of Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, and is currently in talks with other influential local politicians.

These include former Cebu governor and incumbent Rep. Gwen Garcia (NUP), former Pangasinan Rep Mark Cojuangco (NPC), Quezon Gov. David Suarez (NUP), unseated Laguna governor ER Ejercito (PMP) and Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino (NUP).

“We are the alternative to the LP-dominated government. We are hoping that everyone else who would oppose the present administration will be allied with this political party,” Bautista said.

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