MANILA, Philippines - As far as the Liberal Party (LP) is concerned, there is no final line-up yet in the coalition formed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada.
In an interview with ANC, Liberal Party member and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad Jr. said there is only “posturing” from the camp of Binay at this stage.
He said: “Some with the UNA [United Nationalist Alliance] are also talking with us…so there will come a point when decisions will have to be made. He said the situation is still “fluid” at this time.
He named Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III as having been in touch with the political party of President Aquino.
Abad also denied he dared the camp of Binay to reveal its affiliations, especially since UNA also has invited allies of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to join its slate. He said he was misquoted by a broadsheet newspaper.
“Well, that’s not accurate. It was a spin that the newspaper took in reporting my response to questions that they texted me,” he said.
Nonetheless, Abad noted that he asked that UNA define itself whether it is “anti-administration or pro-administration.”
He said the administration has taken positions on key policies, including the anti-corruption drive focusing on the Arroyo administration as well as the trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“If UNA or any other party chooses to work with the administration, it has to consider the policies taken” especially since administration-backed legislative measures are in the Senate, he said.
Abad did not answer directly if it wants a black or white scenario. “[The] LP would like to promote parties known for beliefs, values reflected in policy pronouncements…that’s the direction we’re headed.”
Despite these, Abad said he knows that Binay has already talked to Aquino on the matter.
“The Vice President has assured him they’re not thinking of turning against him. He says…politicians are what they are especially with elections coming up.”
He said politicians are finding ways to become visible especially when an election is nearing. The media, on the other hand, “add flavor by putting an angle to a seemingly diplomatic statement.”
Abad also stressed the LP should not be blamed for the text messages that were sent over the Holy Week to malign Binay. “We’re preoccupied with critical issues.”
As for LP, its line-up will be revealed in due time, he said. Would-be senators have until October to file their certificates of candidacy.