MANILA, Philippines - The so-called Liberal Party coalition may just end up without an LP candidate following reports that two of its stalwarts in the 12-member senatorial slate will in all likelihood be excluded from running in the May 2013 midterm elections.
Sources knowledgeable of the situation revealed that House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III – an LP original – will be off the administration ticket, due to his poor showing in recent surveys, and has been promised by President Aquino a Cabinet post.
Another LP official, Ruffy Biazon, reportedly prefers to stay as Customs commissioner and wants his father, former senator and now Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, to take his place instead in the Senate slate.
Talks between the Customs chief and President Aquino last week have not been firmed up yet especially since the President is reportedly not sold on the older Biazon running for senator.
Aquino had informed Ruffy Biazon he has the option to stay, or run under the administration party, but categorically warned him not to push the candidacy of his father, who even initiated a probe into the government’s flood control projects.
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general Joel Villanueva is definitely out of the slate, and may instead be transferred or promoted to other agencies in the executive department, owing to his “good performance” in TESDA.
No LP in sight
If things don’t work out, what will comprise the administration ticket are candidates who don’t actually belong to the LP but are from parties that have forged an alliance with them, like the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Among the sure senatorial contenders are Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara (LDP) as well as Senators Koko Pimentel (PDP-Laban), Alan Peter Cayetano (NP), Antonio Trillanes IV (NP), Francis Escudero (independent), former Las Piñas’ Rep. Cynthia Villar (NP); former senators Jun Magsaysay, Jamby Madrigal, chairman Grace Poe-Llamanzares of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Aquino’s first cousin Bam Aquino (Kaya Natin) and former Rep. Risa Hontiveros (Akbayan).
Reliable sources had it that Aquino, the LP chairman, has also been turned off by Sen. Loren Legarda, who is also seeking re-election, since she has identified herself with the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“She has a dual commitment. Namamangka siya sa dalawang ilog,” an informant observed.
Legarda, a member of NPC whose founder was Aquino’s maternal uncle Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., has declared she will run under the UNA banner.
Escudero used to be with NPC, but cut ties with Cojuangco at the height of the May 2010 campaign. He backed out of the presidential race then but has been in good terms with the tycoon once again.
“These are the 11 names that most likely will be included in the official Magic 12,” the source hinted.