Palace: UNA claiming to be Aquino ally

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2013 08:52 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2013 04:52 AM

MANILA - Malacañang said that in appearing in political ads endorsing the administration’s senatorial bets, President Aquino wants to distinguish his real allies from those claiming to be one.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said members of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) want to be seen as an ally of Aquino but have been critical of some of the administration’s measures.

"They don’t want to go against the President because of the approval rating of the President. To be seen as going against the President is to diminish their chances of getting elected," Lacierda said.

"The strategy of UNA is to confuse the public na lahat kami kakampi ni Pangulong Aquino. Here we are, we are saying, 'Ito ang tao ni Pangulong Aquino. Ito ang kanyang kandidato. Ito ang ating iboto.'"

Lacierda cited UNA’s criticism of the administration’s conditional cash transfer program and the Office of the President's decision to suspend Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

“If you look at UNA’s statements, they don’t blame the President. They don’t accuse the President of politicking. They’re blaming Mar, they’re blaming LP for the decision to suspend Gwendolyn Garcia. There’s clearly an attempt not to involve the President in the attacks because they know of the high approval ratings of the President,” he said.

Meantime, Lacierda said that government funds were not used to pay for the administration’s political ads.