Zubiri to join Erap's party

by David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 20 2012 06:28 PM | Updated as of Apr 21 2012 08:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Resigned senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is set to leave the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and join the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party of former President Joseph Estrada.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said Zubiri's joining the PMP will pave the way for the resigned senator to join the senatorial ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

"For the record, former Senator Zubiri will be joining our party. I have consulted my father (former president Estrada) about it and he is willing and (Zubiri) is welcome to join our party anytime. If he joins PMP, eventually he will join the UNA coalition," he told radio dzMM.

Estrada said leaders of the UNA coalition will have to sit down with Sen. Koko Pimentel and convince him to withdraw his objection to Zubiri's acceptance to the Senate slate.

Pimentel earlier opposed Zubiri's inclusion in the UNA ticket, saying the resigned senator was a willing beneficiary to electoral fraud in 2007.

Pimentel, who opposed Zubiri's victory in the last senatorial election, was only able to sit as senator after Zubiri's resignation last year.

Mitos welcome to join UNA

Estrada also posed no objection to the inclusion of Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay to the UNA slate.

He said Magsaysay, a known ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is a welcome addition to the UNA ticket because of her track record.

"As I said, nothing is definite. If you ask me personally, I will include her in the lineup. Unang-una, she has a good track record in Congress. She has no track record of corruption. Secondly, she is quite identified with former President Arroyo but not all those identified with GMA are crooks and thieves," he said.

Estrada said the PMP will be fielding at least 4 senatorial candidates in the 2013 election: Zubiri, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile and 1 more candidate.

He said the UNA coalition is looking for candidates who are credible and have a good chance of winning.

"It's not only the winnability of course. Mas pipiliin namin yung mananalo pero yung credibility at magagawa sa ating  bansa, yun first and foremost and concern namin," he said. 

'We support PNoy'

In the interview, Estrada thanked President Aquino and his sisters, Kris, Ballsy, Pinky and Viel, for attending his father's 75th birthday party Thursday.

The senator said his father was surprised by President Aquino's arrival, especially knowing the President's busy schedule.

He also thanked the President's sister, TV host Kris Aquino, for coming to the party even though it was also her son Baby James' birthday.

Estrada rejected former Senator Ernesto Maceda's statement that a vote to acquit Chief Justice Renato Corona would be a blow to President Aquino and would benefit Vice-President Binay, who is seeking the presidency in 2016.

He said that while Aquino ran against his father in the 2010 election, his family has always been very supportive of Aquino.

"We will still be aligned and we will still support the President because we want him to succeed. If he fails, all of us fail," he said.

He also said he has never talked to Binay about possibly joining him as his running-mate in the 2016 poll.