Villar ready for possible LP alliance
NP and LP together in 2013? Sen Manny Villar says he is ready.

OPTIONS OPEN. Sen Manny Villar says his Nacionalista Party is open to talks to align with Aquino's Liberal Party. File photo from Villar's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Will Sen Manny Villar enter into a coalition agreement with his former rival’s political party? 

Maybe, maybe not.

Villar said his Nacionalista Party (NP) is considering all options for the 2013 elections, including a possible alliance with the Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino III. Villar is NP president.

In 2010, Villar and Aquino had a bitter rivalry for the presidency, complete with accusations of corruption and a fake psychiatric report. Yet Villar told reporters on Thursday, May 10, that the NP is open to all possibilities for next year’s senatorial race.

“We are ready to talk to all parties, to LP and to others. We are also ready to go solo. We can run our own campaign but we are pursuing all options now,” Villar said in Filipino.

Villar said that the elections are still far away and the NP is not in a rush to make a final decision. What is sure is the senatorial bid of his wife, former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar. 

“Cynthia, my wife, is a member of the NP and she will run under the NP.”

Sen Villar is on his last term and his wife has confirmed her bid to replace him at the Senate.

In a previous speech in Bohol, former Rep Villar addressed questions on political dynasty. (Read: More relatives in the Senate come 2013?)

“Senator Manny Villar will be completing his six-year term by June 30, next year. If I am elected, he will no longer be in the Senate, so I don’t think such issue of dynasty applies to us.”

Past is past?

The LP has named Villar’s wife as its possible senatorial candidate.

LP stalwart Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad Jr. and former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert “Ace” Barbers of the NP have confirmed that the former rival parties are in talks for an alliance. 

LP leaders said they are willing to work with the NP despite the 2010 feud.

Villar’s camp then accused Aquino of inexperience and questioned his mental fitness. Aquino in turn linked Villar to the unpopular presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and highlighted allegations Villar benefitted from road projects. Villar earlier told Rappler that he is still reeling from the mudslinging in 2010. (Read: Villar: Biggest election loss was my name)

“That was 2010. We are looking beyond 2013,” LP’s Quezon Rep Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III told the Inquirer.

Mrs Villar, though, has also been named as a possible senatorial candidate of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). NP secretary-general and re-electionist Sen Alan Peter Cayetano was also tagged as a potential UNA senatorial bet.

UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

UNA made it clear though that it will no longer be aligning with other parties, closing the door to an alliance with NP. 

If talks push through, Villar and Cayetano will only run under UNA as guest candidates.