• UNA wants to reinvent itself as a political party

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    UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) stalwarts are planning to register the coalition as an independent political party with the Commission on Elections (Co­melec) in preparation for the 2016 presidential polls.

    According to Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, plans are underway to register UNA as a party and Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco, the secretary-general of the coalition, is the one in charge of the preparations.

    Estrada, however, said that he, together with former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator-elect Jose Victor Ejercito Estrada, will remain as member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pili­pino (PMP).

    PMP is a party formed by his father, Joseph Estrada, mayor-elect of Manila.

    “I belong to the party of my father. I was not a candidate last elections. I am not a member of UNA,” Estrada said in a television interview aired over ANC.

    UNA is a coalition forged by the Partido ng Demokratikong Pi­lipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of Vice President Jejomar Binay and Estrada’s PMP. It was formed in preparation for the 2013 mid-term elections where it fielded nine senatorial candidates.

    It was recognized as a minority political party for the purpose of securing copies of election returns.

    Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, president of the PDP-Laban, was originally included in the UNA lineup but he left and joined the administration coalition after UNA leaders decided to include resigned senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in the slate.

    Pimentel 3rd, in a separate interview, said that having UNA registered as a political party could have some complications since Binay cannot serve as an officer of two different political parties.

    He added the Vice President will have to choose between UNA and PDP-Laban because he cannot serve both.

    Divisive
    But the UNA secretary-general criticized Pimentel for his “divisive” suggestion and early political machinations.

    “If Senator Koko [Pimentel] thinks that the first thing on his agenda as a re-elected Senator is his standing in a political party, then he can go to the Comelec to file his grievance. Or he can bring it to the attention of the party leadership if he feels a need to do so,” Tiangco said in a statement.

    He noted that although the senator have great visions for the party, it does not look good to talk about it at this point when the country needs healing and the government needs to focus on more important issues such as unemployment and hunger.

    Tiangco said Pimentel’s concern over his own standing in the party seems too petty, detached and self-absorbed.

    “I believe he should instead let the VP focus on his work as a member of the Cabinet,” he said.

    Pimentel, who ran under Team PNoy in the last senatorial elections, has said that he plans to cleanse the more than 30,000 members of PDP-Laban who do not believe in the party’s by-laws.

    Tiangco said Pimentel should “move on” and allot “time for healing.”

    “Let’s move forward. There are bigger challenges in rebuilding a nation. A lot of people do not have jobs,” he said.

    Jefferson Antiporda And Llanesca Panti

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