UNA picks Loren for 2013 polls; Gordon, Maceda 'seriously being considered'
Senator Loren Legarda has been selected to run under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the 2013 polls while former Senate President Ernesto Maceda and Senator Richard Gordon are "seriously being considered," former President Joseph Estrada said Friday.
"As far as my knowledge, they [Maceda and Gordon] are seriously being considered. [Si Legarda] napili na yun. In fact yun ang unang-una [na napili sa batch]," Estrada told GMA News Online in a phone interview.
He issued the statement after Maceda on Thursday said that he, Legarda, and Gordon have been selected to run under UNA in the 2013 senatorial elections.
But Estrada only confirmed Legarda's selection as a senatorial candidate. "Wala pang official decision [kina Maceda and Gordon]."
This was also the statement of UNA spokesperson JV Bautista on Thursday when he was asked regarding the issue.
In a phone interview with GMA News Online on Friday, UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco also said he "cannot confirm nor deny" the report because he is not authorized to speak on the matter.
"I get my instructions from the executive committee, there were no instructions," he said.
A source close to UNA, however, confirmed that Gordon has been selected by the alliance on the recommendation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
UNA, a coalition between Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Vice President Jejomar Binay's Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), will reportedly make the announcement soon.
Gordon's consideration as a possible UNA candidate came as a surprise since he and Estrada have had a long-standing rift.
The rift between the two politicians dates back to 1998, when Estrada was still president and Gordon was chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), considered one of the premiere economic centers in the Philippines.
When Estrada assumed the presidency, the very first administrative order he signed led to the removal of Gordon as SBMA chairman.
The spat would drag on for years and would span two national elections.
But in a phone interview with GMA News Online on Friday, Gordon said he has "outgrown" the hurt from what happened between them.
"He has always been my friend, we had our disagreements [but] we talked to each other. Even when we were quarreling, we were talking," he said.
"We don't have to quarrel with our political adversaries," he added.
Estrada, for his part, said he was a "forgiving man." "Okay naman...minsan magkausap kami," he said.
Other senatorial candidates
UNA has been releasing the names of its senatorial bets in batches. It has, so far, listed San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, NBN-ZTE whistleblower Joey de Venecia, and incumbent senator Gregorio Honasan as its senatorial bets for 2013.
Tiangco, however, said they are "in talks" with seven other people for the five remaining spots.
"Inaayos in such a way na magbibigay na lang yung dalawa," he said.
On Thursday, Maceda said that with him, Gordon, and Legarda filling three more spots, only two more spots are left.
He said that among the candidates being considered to fill the two last spots are Senator Francis Escudero, Vice President Jejomar Binay's daughter Nancy, Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, and former Senator Kit Tatad. — RSJ, GMA News
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