BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – While Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) threatens to drop senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, and former censors chief Grace Poe from their slate, Team PNoy campaign manager Franklin Drilon is unfazed about being called selfish, saying the candidates are the coalition’s anyway.
Drilon expressed frustration over the never-ending issue, saying the 3 are on the campaign trail with Team PNoy because they are President Benigno Aquino III’s candidates.
“There are no common candidates,” he said.
“The 3 candidates are candidates of the administration. They were adopted by UNA, which was the latter’s decision. But they are candidates of the President… it is clear they were just adopted,” he said.
Legarda agreed with Drilon, saying she is with Team PNoy.
“I am an official candidate of the coalition,” she said, adding that she was invited by UNA, an offer she accepted.
She said she had an agreement with Team PNoy to join as many rallies as she could, and said she happened to be able to join them in Batangas, a day after they launched their campaign in Plaza Miranda, Manila.
Escudero, whose tarpaulin was pulled down from the stage in UNA’s proclamation rally in Cebu for his failure to send a representative, maintained he was not asked to send one.
He also said being dropped from the coalition is UNA’s choice. “That’s their decision. Again, they offered help, we accepted and said thank you. Whatever help they give us, we are grateful,” he said.
When asked if he would eventually join sorties of UNA, Escudero said it was more likely than not.
“In the 90-day campaign, it’s impossible we won’t be able to be together. It’s such a long period — 90 days,” he said.
Poe agreed with Escudero.
“It’s sad, but that is really his prerogative. When I spoke to the Vice President and former Pres Erap last, they know that personally I want to find a way to be able to campaign with some members of UNA,” she told Rappler in a text mesage.
She told reporters she hopes to join an UNA rally at some point to show her thanks, but said endorsing is a “personal” issue for her.
She agreed she is primarily Team PNoy, explaining they were first to invite her.
In an interview, Poe told Rappler she feels more aligned with the ideals of the administration anyway, and that there were never talks with UNA unlike Team PNoy to whom she committed to. Poe said she was merely called by UNA and was told she would be adopted.
Legarda, Escudero and Poe were all present at Team PNoy’s proclamation rally in Plaza Miranda on Tuesday, February 12 while UNA’s proclamation rally took place simultaneously in Cebu. They were also all present in Batangas Wednesday.
The coalitions are fighting to dominate the senatorial race in May. – Rappler.com