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MANILA, Philippines - What a difference 3 years make.
In 2010, presidential candidate Maria Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal and senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel ran their campaigns attacking presidential candidate Sen Manuel Villar.
Three years later, they're now allies. Senator Villar's wife Cynthia joins Madrigal and Hontiveros-Baraquel as senatorial candidates under the administration's rainbow coalition.
"No problem," said former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar when asked if she's comfortable sharing the stage with her husband's fiercest critics. Cynthia said she's even willing to raise their hands to endorse them.
The Liberal Party of President Aquino III coalesced with various political parties on the condition that they will all carry the administration candidates during the campaign.
Like Villar, Madrigal ran but lost in the 2010 presidential elections.
Madrigal's campaign largely targetted then presidential bet Villar, accusing him of corruption over alleged double funding in the controversial C-5 road that was supposedly diverted to pass through the Villars' housing projects. Villar denied the allegations and the Senate committee of the whole would eventually clear him.
Hontiveros-Baraquel, on the other hand, was a senatorial candidate in the 2010 elections. She was closely associated with the "Villaroyo" campaign that attacked Villar for supposedly being the secret candidate of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Both the C-5 and the "Villaroyo" campaigns hurt Villar's presidential bid.
Looking at 2013
"We have moved on," Sen Manuel Villar told Rappler.
"After the 2010 elections, I conceded to President Aquino. We've forgotten about those. It is very unproductive to raise the past. 2010 is the past. We are now looking at 2013," Villar added.
Both the LP and the NP maintained that the two parties would benefit from the partnership.
Madrigal said it was nothing personal.
"I had differences with Senator Villar, not with Mrs Villar. It was my principle at that time, I will continue that. It was not a personal fight, but a fight in principle," she told Rappler.
"I hope we will put the past behind us. We should move on harmoniously for this campaign, for the good of the country. It was nothing personal. It was strictly principles," Madrigal added.
Hontiveros-Baraquel also said she doesn't mind joining Mrs Villar on the campaign stage.
"We are happy that Rep Villar decided to support President Aquino. We maintain our positin in the 2010 elections. The reality is in any political coalition, there are points we agree on and points we disagree on," Hontiveros said. - Rappler.com
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