DAGUPAN CITY – Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia showed up together with President Benigno Aquino in a rally of the administration's senatorial and local bets in vote-rich Pangasinan.
This doesn't mean, however, that de Venecia is supporting the entire senatorial slate of the administration.
De Venecia said he supports "the most meritorious candidates" irrespective of their party affiliations, adding that he is supporting some who are running under Team PNoy and others who are running under the United Nationalist Alliance(UNA).
He pointed out that as chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), he has to interact with different political parties.
De Venecia said he has not yet decided on specific names.
"I am supporting the most meritorious candidates running for public office in the Philippines irrespective of parties," de Venecia told reporters.
"I am supporting many, many candidates of the (Aquino) coalition. I am also supporting some of the candidates of the Binay-led coalition. But generally speaking, I am looking at the best, most meritorious candidates who I believe can best serve the Filipino people," he added.
De Venecia was an ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo until his son, Joey, accused former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of meddling in the botched ZTE broadband deal.
Joey was supposed to run for senator under UNA but backed out reportedly to focus on his business ventures.
De Venecia accompanied his wife, Gina, who is running for reelection as 4th district representative of Pangasinan under the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), a coalition partner of the Liberal Party.
But Aquino only openly endorsed during his speech local candidates who are running under the Liberal Party like Baby Arenas who is running for 3rd district representative of the province.
Aquino skipped endorsing "Manay Gina" who is running against Celia Lim of the Nacionalista Party, another coalition partner of the Liberal Party at the national level.
Arenas is taking the place of her daughter Rachel, who was once allied with Lakas.
In Pangasinan, as in a number of other provinces, the coalition at the national level did not necessarily translate to unity at the local level, the subject of grumblings from some members of the NPC.
The administration is fielding Alaminos Mayor Hernani Braganza against the incumbent governor of the province, Amado Espino Jr., who is a member of the NPC.
Espino also happens to be the subject of an investigation initiated by the administration over his alleged involvement in jueteng.
An administration candidate belonging to the Nationalist People's Coalition--Senator Loren Legarda--did not show up to campaign in person.
Pangasinan is said to have about 1.6 million voters.