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Progressive bloc trying to get Teddy Casiño on UNA’s senatorial slate

June 13, 2012 6:06pm

Talks are underway between the progressive bloc and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on the possibility of including Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño in the latter's  senatorial slate for next year.
 
Casiño himself confirmed that the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc has already gotten in touch with “key personalities” from UNA on the possibility of coalescing for the 2013 elections.
 
“As of now, it is certain that I will run for senator in 2013. It would be good to be part of a bigger coalition, pero depende pa sa mapag-uusapan,” he told GMA News Online in a phone interview.
 
But UNA secretary-general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, in a separate text message, said he is not aware of any ongoing talks between his party and the progressive bloc.
 
The Makabayan bloc is composed of five progressive parties: Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Gabriela and Kabataan.
 
UNA, meanwhile, is an alliance formed between Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
 
While tight-lipped on the status of the talks with UNA, Casiño said the Makabayan bloc is considering endorsing a six-person slate with him and five other guest senatorial candidates from different parties.
 
He added that Makabayan’s communication lines with the Nacionalista Party (NP), led by Senator Manuel Villar, are also open.
 
During the 2010 polls, two progressive lawmakers—former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and former Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza—ran as NP’s guest senatorial candidates. . Both failed to secure spots in the Senate.
 
‘Common platforms’
 
Asked if he is willing to run with UNA senatorial candidates associated with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Casiño said “critical issues” must be first settled before coalescing with any other political group.
 
“We have to look for common platforms and an agreement on critical issues and one of these is their position on the cases against the former President,” he said.
 
Two of UNA’s prospective senatorial bets—resigned Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay—were once aligned the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, chaired by Mrs. Arroyo.
 
Casiño further ruled out the possibility of forming an alliance with President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP).
 
“Entering into a coalition with LP will be difficult, given the many political differences we have with the incumbent administration,” the party-list lawmaker said.
 
Aquino’s family owns Hacienda Luisita, whose distribution to farmer-beneficiaries is being backed by the progressive bloc.
 
Casiño said that he is also open to running as an independent candidate if he thinks that his platforms do not go well with any other political group. — RSJ, GMA News