BATAAN (1st UPDATE) - The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) announced on Friday it will not anymore add new guest candidates in their coalition to replace those they dropped from their roster yesterday.
UNA secretary-general and campaign manager Toby Tiangco clarified that UNA has not officially made and will not make an offer to Bangon Pilipinas Party senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva, independent candidate Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, and Makabayan Coalition bet Rep. Teddy Casino to join the coalition as guest candidates.
Tiangco, however, said the UNA holds in high regard the candidacies of Villanueva, Hagedorn and Casino.
UNA added it has no plans of replacing the three former guest candidates.
Tiangco said they freed themselves "from their obligation to campaign for the three former guest candidates not so that they can replace them, but so they can move on."
UNA deputy secretary-general and senatorial candidate Nancy Binay said, "hindi po sila tinanggal para magdagdag; tinanggal yung tatlo para all of us can move on."
Other UNA senatorial candidates believe it would actually be easier to carry nine candidates in this election.
UNA bet Margarita 'Tingting' Cojuangco said, "to carry 9 is less expensive but powerful in their own right."
Mitos Magsaysay believes "you don't need quantity, we need quality legislators."
JV Ejercito, on the other hand, said blame should be put in the hands of the Liberal Party (LP) by creating a problem among the common candidates.
"It's the arrogance of LP ang problema kung bakit may problema sa mga guest candidate," Ejercito said.
The candidates emphasized that the decision to dislodge Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, and former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chair Grace Poe was a collective decision among the leadership and candidates of UNA, and that no one or group has control and dominance over the coalition.
"We are not a dictatorial party," said Magsaysay.
Vice-President Jejomar Binay added, "we're starting to become a family."
Ejercito denied allegations that his father, former President Joseph Estrada, has little power and influence inside the coalition.
"It is a collective decision, tatlo po sila, kung ang desisyon ng mga kasama niya ay tanggalin, wala siyang magagawa," Ejercito said.
Binay said the candidates are free to personally campaign for anyone among Escudero, Legarda and Poe, and UNA will not stop any candidate from doing so.
UNA held its campaign on Friday in the province of Bataan. Despite rains in the area, the campaign rally in Balanga pushed through with hundreds of supporters filling up the rally site.
This is the third province UNA candidates visited this week in Luzon, with Pampanga last Wednesday, and Zambales (and Olongapo City) yesterday.