MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III is welcome to join the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party if he decides to bolt the United Nationalist Alliance between the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), of which he is president, and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, campaign manager of the 2010 LP slate, extended the invitation following reports that Pangilinan is willing to bolt the UNA coalition if the PMP insists on fielding Juan Miguel Zubiri as a senatorial candidate.
"Koko is welcome to become a candidate for the LP coalition if he is in search of an alternative to the UNA line-up," Pangilinan said.
"He will be more than welcome to the ticket and, should he decide to affiliate himself with us, I am willing to help him do so and persuade the leadership of the party and the coalition to include him in the ticket."
Pimentel earlier wrote a letter to former President Joseph Estrada to show his strong objection to Zubiri's inclusion in the UNA slate.
He said Zubiri was a willing beneficiary of poll cheating in the 2007 election, allowing him to stay in the Senate for 4 years before resigning last year. Pimentel had long protested Zubiri's victory in 2007 and was able to win the protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal last year.
Estrada has urged Pimentel to reconsider his position against Zubiri, saying the former congressman is innocent of poll cheating.