Lacson to Binay: Team-up with Arroyo allies a bad move

Sen Panfilo Lacson warns Vice President Jejomar Binay against the Arroyo kiss of death

ARROYO STIGMA. Sen Panfilo Lacson warns Vice President Jejomar Binay against election backlash arising from team-ups with Arroyo allies. File photo from Sen Lacson's website

MANILA, Philippines – Don’t be a victim of the Arroyo kiss of death.

In an interview, Sen Panfilo Lacson warned Vice President Jejomar Binay against a possible backlash arising from his decision to include allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in his senatorial ticket for 2013.

Makakasama sa kanila talaga kasi ang stigma nariyan pa. ‘Di ba sabi ko nang inaresto si GMA [na] nakakaawa siya kasi walang naawa? Tapos in short, hanggang ngayon she remains very unpopular.” (It will be bad for Binay’s coalition because the stigma is still there. When GMA was arrested I said it’s pitiful because no one pities her. Now, she remains very unpopular.)

So para kanlungin mo ang kaalyado niya na overprotective sa kanya, politically I think it is a bad move,” said Lacson.  (So for you to coddle her allies who are overprotective of her, politically I think it is a bad move.)

Lacson, a staunch Arroyo critic, had no qualms about expressing his opinion.

“If I’m being biased then so be it.” 

Binay has been criticized for choosing Zambales Rep Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay and former Lakas-Kampi member Juan Miguel Zubiri as potential senatorial candidates of his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). The two have been tagged as Arroyo allies.

Binay, who is running for president in 2016, formed UNA with former President Joseph Estrada to field candidates in the 2013 midterm polls.

Lacson said that while political alliances are necessary to project strength, Binay must be careful about who he chooses to partner with. 

“It has to be anchored on moral principles because if you keep on accepting candidates without discretion, what’s said as a politics of addition may become subtraction,” Lacson said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“The backlash would be coming from the electorate if they see that you are coalescing only for the sake of coalescing and just to ensure your victory. It looks like our electorate is maturing to [be able to] see through it,” he added.

‘LP moving slowly’ 

Lacson is neither a member of UNA nor the ruling Liberal Party. He is identified though as an ally of President Benigno Aquino III.

Lacson said history has shown that midterm elections are important for Malacañang to ensure support in Congress.

The senator agreed with the observation of Sen Antonio Trillanes IV that the LP is moving too slowly in preparing for 2013 compared to UNA. 

“It is a bit slow because with all the resources they (LP) have … it looks like they are not consolidating their forces. It’s a paradox especially in the Senate that the [Senate President] doesn’t even belong to the administration party.”

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is a member of Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino, now part of UNA. 

Lacson however said that he understands that Aquino wants to focus on governance instead of politics for now. 

‘Gut issues, not politics’

While Lacson thinks it’s time for LP to think of 2013, Sen Francis Escudero said it is too early for politicking.

TOO EARLY. Sen Francis Escudero said politicians should focus on pressing problems instead of the 2013 elections. File photo from Senate website

In a statement, Escudero said politicians should instead focus on more pressing issues like the power crisis, gas price increases and tuition hikes. 

“There is always the right timing to talk politics. It is inevitable, yes, but this should take a backseat because we have many pressing issues to take care of and these are unavoidable issues that hit people in their guts.”

Escudero has been named as a senatorial candidate of UNA. He is an independent after resigning from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in 2009. 

Once a survey frontrunner, Escudero dropped 12 points and is now only second to Sen Loren Legarda.

Yet Escudero said he wants to focus on legislative work, already disrupted by the impeachment trial.

“The polls may be already next year but personally I think it’s not yet the right time to be busy about political shopping.” – 

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