MANILA - The National Unity Party has no interest in fielding candidates for national positions in the 2022 elections, its president said Monday.
NUP President Elpidio Barzaga reiterated that the party will not compete with PDP-Laban, 12 members of which earlier transferred to NUP.
"It is our position that as of this time, we are not entertaining any idea that any member of NUP would run as senator or even a higher position in 2022," Barzaga told ANC's Early Edition.
"It is possible we might have viable candidates but we are more than satisfied in having a small political party."
The NUP was tagged as an emerging power bloc in the House after it adopted President Rodrigo Duterte's son as a member, and promoted popular Manila Mayor Isko Moreno as its vice chairman for political affairs.
Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte expressed interest in joining the party after the House Speaker election on July 22 because he liked the NUP's camaraderie, Barzaga said.
"Ang usap-usapan sa mga kasama ko sa NUP na kabarkada nila si Polong sa mga night out, meeting, at ang sabi ni Polong okay pala ang samahan dito sa NUP. So we gave the idea you can join the party even without renouncing your party affiliation," he said.
(My colleagues in NUP who are friends with Pulong said he liked the party's camaraderie.)
Barzaga added that the President's son "does not have aspirations" to be House Speaker.
"But of course in so far as politics is concerned, everything is still uncertain," he said.
The younger Duterte had expressed interest in the Speakership, which the President publicly dismissed by threatening to resign if his eldest son becomes leader of the House.
Too many deputy speakers?
With 18 House deputy speakers, Barzaga meantime assured that lawmakers will follow the chamber's budget under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019.
"Regardless of the number of positions, our budget is provided by the GAA, we cannot increase it if it has been already passed even if there will be additional positions in the House of Representatives," he said.
"We have to follow the amount stated in the GAA. The effect is that there might be reduction in the budget of committees and the budget will be going to deputy speakers in the event they would be needing such budget."