UNA completes list of senators for 2013 polls

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 09 2012 10:25 PM | Updated as of May 10 2012 05:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Senate President Ernesto Maceda said Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has more or less completed its line-up for the senatorial elections in 2013.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Maceda said the coalition already has 13 names on the list, which could still change before the filing of the certificates of candidacies in October.

UNA’s candidates are:

Incumbent Senators Loren Legarda, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Gregorio Honasan;

Former Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard “Dick” Gordon; Maceda himself is also running.

Congressmen Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr., Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, and Mitos Magsaysay;

Jose de Venecia III; Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian; and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

Maceda said UNA has 13 on the list in case the Senate passes a resolution calling for the filling-up of the post that will be vacated by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Santiago may resign after the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. She has been elected as a judge in the International Criminal Court.

“The line-up is almost complete, but since the filing is still on October 1, we would not know if there will be developments. [Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile] said there may still be coalition partners that would come in,” Maceda said.

UNA is a coalition of PDP-Laban, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Koko vs Migs, Mitos vs Dick

Maceda said he is confident that Binay will be able to resolve the dispute over Zubiri's inclusion, which Pimentel has opposed.

Pimentel and Zubiri were bitter rivals for the 12th post in 2007. This was marred, however, by alleged cheating in the polls that later led to the resignation of Zubiri as senator.

Maceda also said UNA recognizes the animosity between Magsaysay and Gordon. “But if they’ve decided to run under one ticket, they just have to accept each other.”

Meanwhile, Maceda is not worried over the inclusion of Pimentel and Escudero in the line-up of the Aquino-led Liberal Party.

“It’s their right…but I find it surprising that Pimentel was included considering he’s the president of PDP-Laban,” he said.

He also defended Gatchalian, who does not have governance experience at the national level. “Remember that former Senator Rene Saguisag was a barangay kagawad before he became senator.”

He said Gatchalian has proven himself in Valenzuela. “As a mayor, he has already experienced the whole range of problems, although at a local basis.”

On the other hand, Maceda said he is not sure where Mark Cojuangco will be running. “Baka maluwag sa Liberal Party, baka dun sya alukin tumakbo.”

Mark is the son of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, one of the stalwarts of NPC. They are the relatives of President Aquino.