UNA downplays merger with Liberal Party


Officials of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Tuesday said Vice President Jejomar Binay will run under the party, not under the ruling Liberal Party (LP), in 2016, downplaying reports that President Benigno Aquino 3rd may endorse Binay’s candidacy.

In a statement, UNA Secretary General Rep. Tobias Tiangco of Navotas City (Metro Manila) noted that Binay will be the presidential bet of UNA.

“The Vice President will definitely run as the UNA standard-bearer. President Aquino’s anointment is not a pre-condition to his candidacy. We cannot dictate upon who the President wishes to support. He has his own political party and we also have our own machinery and political alliances,” Tiangco said in a statement.

“As a family friend, the Vice President is open to PNoy’s (President Noynoy, Aquino’s nickname) personal endorsement. So, if ever PNoy personally endorses Vice President Binay, it will be up to the LP members if they will follow PNoy or not. The desperate faction within LP will move heaven and earth to ramp up anything that will change the mind of the President in supporting Binay over Roxas,” he added, referring to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.

Roxas is the president-on-leave of LP.

But Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (MetroManila) said Binay is making false claims that the LP needs him to be the ruling party’s standard-bearer in 2016.

“I don’t think he is qualified to be with LP. Sinabi na ng Presidente na dapat tayong mag-ingat sa mga kalaban na may maiitim na balak [The President has said that we should be wary of enemies with sinister motives],” Erice said in a separate statement.

Rep. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City, another LP member, agreed with Erice. “It is unfortunate that unfounded rumors have been circulated to boost the political stock of a presidential aspirant and to sow intrigue among the ranks of the LP and the allies of the administration,” Treñas said.

Other lawmakers also expressed doubts on reports that the LP is considering coalescing with Binay’s party.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice chairman, said there has been no discussions on his party’s plans in 2016 and that any decision on the matter will be made by Aquino, the party chairman.

“He [President Aquino] will have a big say who will be the standard-bearer of the LP. So at this point, we have not discussed it,” Drilon said.

He added that reports on a merger between LP and Binay’s party could be the handiwork of spin masters.

The Senate president expressed confidence that the President will anoint somebody who will continue the reforms he started.

Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd also branded the merger reports as mere rumors.

“By floating the idea, it will discourage other people from bothering to campaign or run,” Osmeña said.


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