UNA downplays Koko in LP senatorial lineup

By Jose Rodel Clapano, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 21 2012 02:45 AM | Updated as of Aug 21 2012 10:45 AM

Manila, Philippines -  Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III’s inclusion in the senatorial lineup of the Liberal Party (LP) will not have any effect on the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the party said yesterday.

In a statement, UNA spokesman JV Bautista said that Pimentel’s announcement that he would run as guest candidate of LP has long been anticipated by UNA.

“That he finally made the announcement is a welcome development,” Bautista said.

Pimentel left UNA because he was protesting the inclusion of resigned senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in the coalition.

Zubiri quit his post last year due to allegations of poll fraud in Maguindanao in 2007.

Bautista said Pimentel’s departure from UNA leaves one more slot available for another senatorial candidate in the UNA slate worthy of the people’s choice and support in the 2013 elections.

“The unity of UNA remains firm and unflinching. It is not in any way affected nor in the least inconvenienced by Senator Pimentel’s latest move,” Bautista said.

UNA is a coalition of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

Bautista said that on the part of PDP-Laban, the party will remain steadfast in its support of UNA and its senatorial and local candidates.

“Under the strong leadership of its chairman, Vice President Jojo Binay, and its secretary-general, former Cong. Peping Cojuangco, PDP-Laban will strengthen its ranks and bolster its role as one of the organizational foundations of UNA,” Bautista said.

“The party finds no distraction and is all the more focused on its party-building and political networking to contribute to UNA victory in 2013,” Bautista added.