In Laguna, it's NP-LP vs UNA
LAGUNA, Philippines – He is used to facing a sea of yellow but on Thursday, October 8, it was a sea of blue that Liberal Party (LP) Manuel Roxas II faced in Calamba City during the oath taking of the Nacionalista Party (NP) in this province.
The two parties have coalesced – at least in the province of Laguna – for the 2016 national elections.
The NP is part of a broad LP-led coalition formed for the 2013 mid-term elections. The future of that coalition, however, remains unclear as parties continue deliberating on which presidential bet to support for 2016.
Roxas arrived in Calamba City Thursday afternoon with Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar, son of NP president and former senator Manny Villar. TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva, who is set to run for the Senate under the LP, was also present for the oath taking.
The NP-LP coalition in Laguna, among the most vote-rich provinces in the PHilippines, will be fielding incumbent Governor Ramil Hernandez as its provincial standard-bearer for 2016.
For the national race, however, the NP has yet to decide if it will be coalescing with the LP or if it will be supporting Roxas in 2016. “That depends. We have to support our members. It depends [on who they want] to support,” Villar told reporters, when asked who the NP would be endorsing for president in 2016.
"This is for the Liberal and the Nacionalista uniting for the candidacy of Gov Hernandez," added Villar, when asked if his presence meant the NP would be supporting Roxas' candidacy as well.
In speeches during the event, both Hernandez and Roxas thanked the LP's Edgardo San Luis – who, Roxas said, is a "close friend" of the President – for giving up his gubernatorial dreams to pave the way for the coalition.
San Luis was the ruling party's bet in the 2013 elections but he lost to former Laguna Governor ER Ejercito, who was, however, later disqualified in 2014 for overspending during the 2013 elections. Hernandez then took over as governor.
The NP-LP Laguna coalition was launched a week after the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) launched its down slate in the same city. UNA will be fielding Ejercito.
Speaking before his supporters, Hernandez hit Ejercito for allegedly spreading lies about him. Hernandez also accused Ejercito of stealing and mispending the province’s funds.
Laguna is not the only province where the NP and the LP will be coalescing locally. In a chance interview with reporters, Roxas said Davao Oriental will have the same arrangement.
“Ang mahalaga rito nakita natin ang pagkakaisa ng NP at LP sa ilalim ng Daang Matuwid kung saan ay itinataguyod natin ang mga batayang prinsipyo ng Daang Matuwid na matapat at malinis na pamamahala,” said Roxas.
(What’s important here is that we’re seeing the NP and LP uniting under ‘Daang Matuwid’ where we will continue the principles of Daang Matuwid – of clean and principled governance.)
Even as NP politicians in Laguna pledge support for Roxas, they remain undecided on who to support for vice president.
The LP on Monday, October 5, announced Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo as its vice presidential bet.
Trillanes has declared support for Senator Grace Poe, while Cayetano and Marcos are both hoping to run alongside Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has yet to announce his 2016 plans.
“It’s a very unique circumstance, it’s very unique, yung nangyari (what happened). Wala pa kaming (We still don’t have a) party stand,” said Villar when asked who the party would endorse for vice president.
Hernandez said the NP leadership gave its Laguna officials the go-signal to pick their own presidential bet for 2016. “Binigyang laya kami sa Laguna ng gusto naming samahang presidente (They gave us the freedom in Laguna to choose our presidential bet),” said Hernandez.
The Laguna governor said they would be making a decision on who to endorse for vice president “soon” but added “priority” would be given to the 3 NP senators seeking the vice presidency. – Rappler.com
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