The 3.5 million registered voters who belong to different organizations of the left-leaning “national democratic” movement would be the possible voters of Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero for the two highest posts in the government once the Koalisyong Makabayan and the duo’s camp have completed their talks, according to a top official of the coalition.
Robert de Castro, deputy secretary-general of Koalisyong Makabayan, on Monday told The Manila Times that his group is “inclined to support Grace and Chiz,” but nothing is final yet.
De Castro said “talks are still ongoing.”
Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list confirmed de Castro’s disclosure.
Hicap also affirmed the coalition official’s statement that nothing is final in the talks between the Poe-Chiz camp and Makabayan.
He said they are still discussing the bases of unity.
De Castro refused to elaborate on the status of the talks so as not to “preempt” the move of Makabayan.
He claimed that the Koalisyong Makabayan has a total of 3.5 million members, including those that are not part of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, League of Filipino Students and other advocacy groups scattered in various parts of the country.
Makabayan is a coalition of eight party-list groups like Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Teachers ACT, Piston, Kabataan, Migrante and Katribu.
Its goals, objectives, and agenda are all geared toward realization of genuine nationalism and democracy in the country.
Makabayan has five party-lists representations at the 16th Congress–Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Teachers ACT and Kabataan.
The group is part of the minority bloc where Rep. Neri Colmenares is deputy minority leader.
It was learned that the possible “key” for the coalition to finally and officially throw its support behind Poe and Escudero would be the inclusion of Rep. Neri Colmenares in their senatorial slate.
Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list declared in Iloilo City several weeks ago that he is running for the Senate under Koalisyong Makabayan.
He served nine years at the House of Representatives.
Media reports and informed sources said Colmenares will run under the Poe-Chiz ticket.
Makabayan lacks funds to finance the Senate run of Colmenares but it has huge manpower.
The two senators recently announced their plans to run for President and Vice President, respectively, in next year’s elections as independent candidates but indicated that Partido ng Pilipinas (PP) would be their political machinery.
They are not members of any political party.
Poe ran and won a Senate seat in the 2013 elections as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party (LP).
Escudero also ran and won as a senator in 2010 elections without a party.
He left the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) when the party rejected his plan to run for President in that year.
NPC stalwarts said a big number of party members will support the two since they trust them.
If the Koalisyong Makabayan supported Poe, it would be the second time for the coalition led by “national democrats” to do so.
The first was in the 2010 polls when the group supported Manuel Villar’s candidacy, de Castro also told The Manila Times.
Villar, who ran under the Nacionalista Party (NP), placed third in those polls, which were won by Benigno Aquino 3rd of the LP.
Makabayan’s candidates for senators in the 2010 elections were Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza and now Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Ocampo and Maza were known to be hard-line activists who fought Marcos’ strongman rule from 1971 to 1986.
Final result of the talks between the Poe-Chiz camp and Makabayan will be announced through a news conference before October 12, de Castro said.
October 12 is the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy for next year’s elections.
In case the talks failed, Makabayan’s decision to put up Colmenares as its senatorial candidate would stay.