MANILA, Philippines - A spokesman of the Liberal Party on Tuesday said it is difficult to say if the LP will forge an alliance with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) when some of its senatorial bets are known supporters of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Speaking to ANC, LP spokesman Erin Tañada said he has no knowledge of any feelers of a possible super coalition between the LP and UNA.
Asked if the LP is willing to accept a coalition and back candidates who are supporters of Mrs. Arroyo, he said: "It's hard to speak with regard to that because of the poise that you just mentioned that there are personalities identified with the former president. That's one. I am not privy to any talk happening between UNA and the administration party."
The LP has publicly criticized former President Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest on electoral sabotage charges. Several UNA bets who have been identified with Mrs. Arroyo are Mitos Magsaysay, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Gwen Garcia.
Tañada said the 2013 senatorial election is shaping up to be an "election among friends" since the parties in the UNA coalition -- Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) -- are also part of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
He said that one possible reason for the talk about a super coalition is that several candidates formerly identified with the UNA slate might be joining the LP ticket. These include reelectionist Sen. Koko Pimentel and Sen. Francis Escudero.
Team to beat?
Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier said he is open to a “super coalition” between UNA and LP.
"Okay iyon, ang sinasabi namin nang magkaroon ng UNA candidates ay ang mabigyan ang mga kababayan natin ng opportunity para makapamili pa ng mga qualified and willing to work in government," Binay told reporters.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said groups that want to form a coalition with the LP should support the reform initiatives of President Aquino.
“This administration is committed to certain reforms: anti-corruption, anti-poverty, strengthening of our defense and all of those things. If the Liberal Party is going into a coalition with anybody, they must sign on to those reforms. They must be prepared to help us achieve the agenda of President Aquino. So that would be the primary consideration,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said.
Palace officials would not say, however, if the LP would be open to such a coalition, leaving it to party officials to make the comment.
“I thought the UNA was the team to beat, so why are they asking for a coalition with LP? I’m just asking because I remember they claim to be the team to beat so I’m just wondering. So let me ask the LP leadership if they’re willing. But I cannot answer for them right now,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Asked if the Palace considers the UNA as an ally or an opposition, Lacierda said, “The UNA has to describe itself first. Obviously, we can describe the LP as the administration party. But as to UNA, they have to describe themselves.
Carandang said he is not aware if there have already been “extensive talks” between the LP and UNA. With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News